Stories of the Heart is a storyteller’s invitation for contemplative and creative communication about living with dying, grief, and loss. Each narrative, retold from traditional tales, unfolds in a conversational, and non-threatening, style that eases the heart as it allows for profound and often difficult feelings to be expressed. Expression, reflection and acknowledgment is the underlying magic of the book. It does this without denying contradictory and tender responses. We are given the opportunity to participate in the life-giving love of being present for the most difficult truth of our lives.
Laura Simms, Internationally acclaimed storyteller, writer, humanitarian, and educator.
Coming from Ireland, a country with rich traditions around the end of life, I especially welcome this collection of tales which will prompt honest discussion on death and dying, and the impact on those of us left behind. Folktales have the power to tackle important issues in an almost subversive way, and reading the 18 stories in this book we are given the opportunity to reflect on our experience of grief and loss and indeed, our own mortality. We feel we are in safe hands as Jim and Rebecca guide us through a range of emotions in their sharing of carefully chosen traditional tales, told in an almost conversational tone. A book which will prove invaluable not only to storytellers and care-givers but also to anyone brave enough to consider the important questions of life as well as death.
Liz Weir, MBE, Storyteller, writer
A gentle, lovely read. The authors are not only accomplished storytellers, but also caring professionals who have experience accompanying those who are leaving life, and those who grieve. Their deep sense of respect and responsibility shines through every tale. I found many new stories, and some old favorites included in the book. I especially appreciated the background information on each of them, as well as the questions to muse and journal about. I am happy this book exists, and it is assembled so well.
Csenge Virág Zalka, storyteller and author
Your little collection of diverse and unusual stories is fascinating! I’ve never before seen such a collection of meaningful, timeless stories about grief and death with such thought-provoking questions included.
Merilynne Rush, MSHP, RN, BSN. Owner, The Dying Year; first President, National End-of-Life Doula Association (NEDA)
Stories from the Heart is an utter delight. Thank you Jim and Rebecca for your beautiful re-telling of these ancient tales. I know many people will be transported and transformed by your dedication to bring death into our awareness through such creative expression.
Sue Brayne, author of Living Fully, Dying Consciously: the path to spiritual wellbeing and host of Embracing Your Mortality podcast.
How could stories that take readers and listeners deep into the themes of dying and grieving lead to the fullness of living? Ah yes, but that’s what story can do and what this beautiful collection of traditional tales indeed does. And perhaps another paradox; that these sensitively curated stories and questions that explore the mortality we all face, can lift us to a lighter perspective, bringing comfort and sometimes even joy! You will be lovingly held and thoughtfully carried.
Lani Peterson, Psy.D. Psychologist, storyteller, teacher, and coach.
Stories of the Heart is filled with carefully curated, multicultural folktales that illuminate the gifts gained from recognizing our own mortality. Jim Brulé and Rebecca Lemaire have crafted a profound book that offers comfort and guides readers to find meaning in life even though faced with the inevitability of death.
Heather Forest, PhD
What a powerful collection of stories! And it’s so much more than just stories; you all have taken great care to ensure we fully appreciate what we are feeling and learning about ourselves as we explore.
Deanna Cochran, Founder, CareDoula School of Accompanying the Dying
Maggid Jim Brulé and Rebecca Lemaire are undoubtedly part of a renewal in the interest of death and dying. In a culture that is both death phobic and grief averse, this restitution of death and dying within a fuller understanding of life and living could not come soon enough. This beautiful collection of stories from around the world will serve this cause. Divided into helpful categories, these stories are passageways into aspects of death and dying that are worthy of our serious attention and engagement. But my suggestion is—don’t stop at the reading of these stories, even with attentive consideration. Start there, but then invite some friends over for dinner and share (out loud) with your guests one of these stories. Then dive more deeply into its substance by initiating a discussion among your guests. This may turn out to be, in effect, your own death café, your own further contribution to our current restoration of this previously taboo subject matter. This wonderful collection of stories will serve as a great resource.
William Redfield, an Episcopal priest immersed in the Wisdom tradition