The outgoing 31-year-old has struggled with addictions and was looking for a fresh start and a new way of life. Less than two years after he started going to the Wellness Centre, staff all know him by name. Typically, people who are undergoing challenging times in their lives can experience anxiety, fear, and worry.
I received a colouring book for my last birthday – the first adult colouring book that I had ever received. The most challenging part of writing this book was the vulnerability that I felt when exposing my most hurt and injured experiences. The most surprising and rewarding part of this book is how much I enjoyed the creative process of turning individual words into visual illustrations. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter and get the best of She Does the City in your inbox or follow us on Twitter and Facebook! That’s when a friend suggested he check out the Wellness Centre at the South Health Campus. It’s not unusual to hear “Hi Mike”, coming from all directions of the YMCA when he arrives.

He now dedicates hours of his spare time facilitating support group meetings and mentoring new members. I was sure that with three little children, no one would ever love me again, or would be able to embrace and love my children. Colouring creates a quiet place in which to take pause, to reflect on life, in the context of a quiet, calming activity. As I began to fill in each small space with colour, I realized that this process of one space at a time was a beautiful metaphor for healing. They were the ones that told me that they colour either alone or with their children, and have this quiet, calm time to express their feelings and concerns. I was concerned that my life story would be too overwhelming for the reader, and that they would simply turn the page on me. Every illustration in the book is from an image or an idea that I created, which was then drawn by my illustrator, Lisa Braun. Derman has experienced true hardship, including the suicide of a close friend, the death of both parents in a plane crash, the death of her husband, and a breast cancer diagnosis. This centered place provides the much needed space with which to reflect on feelings, begin to problem-solve, and to reduce worry by seeing things in a calmer, clearer light.

We heal one bit at a time, until we get to the place that the page is filled in, and our healing is well underway. My book is still new, so it is still unknown how people will respond to such a difficult story. She has dedicated her life to helping others through their own grief, eventually earning her doctorate focusing on grief and bereavement.
Her new book, Colors of Loss and Healing: An Adult Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times, provides readers with a quiet, contemplative activity for healing. The most important thing to remember here is that even though expressing condolences may be hard for you, the feelings of the grieving person are far more intense, and really need to take precedence.

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