How Superheroes Cope With Grief & Loss

By Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Posted: July 18, 2023

Comic-con San Diego 2023
Friday, July 21, 2023 at 5:30 PM: Co-authors of the book Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss—Dr. Jill Harrington, David Carey, Dr. Tashel Bordere, Heather Stang, Brendan Prout, and Lindsey Fenton Whissel—discuss superhero stories as methods for processing grief and practical approaches for improving coping skills for those struggling with grief after a loss, using characters made familiar via comic books and comic related media.

Wisdom From The Superhero Grief Book

In Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Now, editor Jill Harrington masterfully intertwines the worlds of Marvel and DC comics to provide a powerful and relatable guide for individuals seeking to understand and process their grief experience. By delving into the lives and struggles of your favorite superheroes, the book offers valuable insights and coping mechanisms for those dealing with loss.

Embrace Your Vulnerability: How Superheroes Show Their Human Side

As you read through the pages, you'll discover that even the most invincible heroes, like Superman and Wonder Woman, face moments of vulnerability. By acknowledging their emotions and pain, they ultimately become stronger. In a similar vein, you are encouraged to embrace your vulnerability as you navigate through your own grief journey.

The Power of Support: Finding Strength in a League of Your Own

Superheroes often band together in teams like the Avengers and Justice League to face adversity. In your own life, the book encourages you to build a support system of friends, family, or professionals to help you through your grief. You don't have to face this journey alone; let others be your superhero allies.

Resilience and Rebirth: Lessons from Batman and the Phoenix

The story of Batman overcoming the loss of his parents, or the Phoenix rising from the ashes, illustrates the power of resilience and rebirth. In "Superhero Grief," Harrington invites you to find solace in the possibility of growth and renewal following loss.

Healing Through Purpose: Harnessing Your Inner Spider-Man

Just like Peter Parker channels his grief into a life of service as Spider-Man, you too can discover purpose in the midst of pain. The book suggests that volunteering or dedicating your energy to a cause close to your heart can help you heal and find meaning after loss.

Time Travel and Grief: The Transformative Power of Now

While superheroes like The Flash and Doctor Strange can manipulate time, in real life, we must confront the passage of time head-on. Harrington uses these time-traveling characters to encourage you to focus on the present, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the past or anxious about the future. This "power of now" can help you face your grief with mindfulness and acceptance.

Through the captivating narratives of your favorite superheroes, "Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Now" offers you a relatable and engaging way to process your grief. By learning from these iconic characters, you too can discover the strength, resilience, and healing that lies within.

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

About the author

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Living with Grief and the guided journal, From Grief To Peace. She is the creator of the Mindfulness & Grief System that is featured in the Handbook of Grief Therapies (2023) and is the founder of Awaken, a mindfulness-based online grief support group. Heather also hosts the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, and offers mindfulness-based grief support online through her organization, the Mindfulness & Grief Institute. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She currently lives in Falling Waters, WV.

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