Touching Two Worlds: A Guide for Finding Hope in the Landscape of Loss (Paperback)
A trauma psychologist explores the inner workings of her own grief—and leaves an invaluable guide for those seeking hope in the aftermath of loss.
As a therapist, Dr. Sherry Walling knew all the “right” things to say to help people through grief. But when she lost her father to cancer and her brother to suicide within six months of each other, she had the unfortunate chance to encounter two types of mourning up close—the slowly unfolding terminal illness and the sudden and stigmatized death by suicide. She realized we’re getting grief all wrong.
In Touching Two Worlds, this trusted expert dares to open the inner workings of her own grief—and in the process, provides an invaluable resource for those seeking hope in the aftermath of loss. Written with honesty, gentle humor, and deep understanding, this book was created to bring comfort to friends and family when there are few helpful words to say.
Dr. Walling grieves as a sister, daughter, mother, and mental health expert. She shares moving personal stories while offering a broad range of healing strategies and exercises derived from neuroscience—like how to heal through movement, how to cry in public, how to talk to kids about death, and how to cope with survivor’s guilt. These are tips from someone who has been there, as well as approaches informed by professional expertise.
Touching Two Worlds is a story of love, sadness, and renewal. Whether your loss is recent and sharp or old and familiar, Dr. Walling delivers wise and tender guidance to help you carry the weight of grief while finding your own path forward.
“While the experience of loss is profoundly personal, the process of moving through grief is universal. This book has bravery on every page, giving us all the ability to see the author while at the same time seeing ourselves.” —Jayson Gaignard, founder of MastermindTalks
“In Touching Two Worlds, Dr. Walling helps us process grief with reverence. She models how to be fully present with the pain of loss while experiencing the full joy of life. Instead of seeing grief as something to be avoided or rushed through, she reminds us that grief can indeed carve out space for more joy.” —Emily Fletcher, founder and CEO of Ziva Meditation
“Touching Two Worlds communicates our mysterious human solidarity in pain—the intimate twins of grief and love, two sides of a coin. The author offers a vulnerable and important in-the-moment vocabulary for those of us who are desperate in our grief within the context of our death-phobic society. I can only say thank you for this radical insight.” —Jerry White, corecipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and professor of practice, University of Virginia
“Sherry’s deep insights on grief and loss serve as a healing, way-finding journey for so many of us unpacking the complex layers of grief.” —Tracey Ivanyshyn, president of UPLevel Global and founder of Good Grief at Work
“While grief is universal, few of us know how to do it well. In Touching Two Worlds, Dr. Walling offers practical, compassionate wisdom to help grieving people (and those who love them) feel less alone in the darkness.” —Jordan Harbinger, host of The Jordan Harbinger Show
“Dr. Walling demonstrates how to cultivate resilience. Using a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach, her experience and her expertise help move the reader from overwhelm to groundedness.” —JJ Virgin, New York Times bestselling author of The Virgin Diet
“In Touching Two Worlds, Dr. Walling elegantly demonstrates how to lean into resilience. This work reflects the training of a trauma therapist and the openhearted vulnerability of someone who is unafraid of her humanness.” —Dan Martell, entrepreneur and CEO of SaaS Academy
“Dr. Sherry Walling is a psychological rock star who takes you on a cosmic journey of love, death, and grief. Authentic. Bold. Vulnerable. She holds the center. And will help you find yours. Enjoy.” —Matt House, DO, president and medical director of House Psychiatric Clinic
“The reflection and embodiment practices offered here are hard-won, time-tested tools. Dr. Walling speaks directly and openly about real-life, applied strategies that have helped her to continue healing her own heart.” —Casey Taft, PhD, staff psychologist, National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and professor, Boston University School of Medicine
“Touching Two Worlds is a love letter to the departed and the bereaved, to Life and Death and Grief itself. On these pages, Sherry Walling’s heart laid bare is our own—cracked wide open with care and compassion, gently reminding us of love lost and found, here to honor our hurting, our healing, and to call us home.” —Anita Stubenrauch, ex-Apple creative veteran, founder of The Land of Make+Believe, and founder of Cause:Effect Creative
“An intimate window into the transformative power of grief, lovingly paired with healthy, practical coping strategies of how to care for yourself and others in life’s most sensitive times.” —Michael Freeman, MD, founder of Econa and clinical professor of psychiatry, UCSF School of Medicine
“Dr. Walling is a brave soul. Taking something so painful, and often kept in the shadows, she shares her grief to help us cope, heal, and grow. Dr. Walling’s ability to put emotions into words is beautiful.” —Samantha Matlin, PhD, clinical psychologist and vice president of Learning and Community Impact at the Scattergood Foundation
“From experience, going through grief can be a lonely road, as most don’t understand unless they have also experienced it. Dr. Sherry Walling is both a person with that experience and an expert in the subject. I am grateful she has decided to share her wisdom through this book.” —Erik Huberman, founder and CEO of Hawke Media
“Dr. Walling has written a magnificent guide to grief and grieving. It will surely be a helpful companion to anyone suffering the loss or impending loss of a loved one. Each chapter reads like an opportunity to sit with a friend who deeply understands your pain, and who also has excellent plainspoken advice for getting through all the awful situations that grief puts you through.” —Patrick Combs, “Blisspreneur” and master of story
“Touching Two Worlds is a gift to be held with both hands, an open heart, and a recognition that we are not alone. As we stumble through a world soaked in pain, Dr. Sherry Walling reminds us that we are not alone. Bound by grief, we are connected in deep and true ways, an accompaniment that we may not have realized we needed but deserve nonetheless.” —Erinn Farrell, cofounder and partner of The Coven
“Three pages into reading this book, I already wanted to send it to every grieving person I know, every person who has ever experienced grief, and every person who will ever experience grief.” —Alexis Dean, founder of the Dovetail Community
“Touching Two Worlds is a tremendous resource for anyone struggling to find their footing in the aftermath of loss. I’ve spent my career helping clients heal from trauma and grief, and I’m very grateful to have this book as an important new resource.” —Michael Mithoefer, MD, senior medical director for Medical Affairs, Training and Supervision, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation
“This book is an adept, gentle guide on how to love ourselves more openly through deep pain and loss. Dr. Walling is the very best possible advisor for the unwitting ‘grief club.’” —Rev. Dr. Chris Erdman, pastor, author, and spiritual coach
“This is an extraordinarily helpful book. It is written by one of the few people that I trust with my mental health. I recommend this to anyone who is confronting a loss or major disruption.” —Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy
“Along with providing tips and strategies throughout the book, the most impactful section is where Sherry promotes kindness and respect to those struggling with their mental health or substance use. Anyone who has lost someone to suicide will find a connection to this book.” —Sue Aberholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota