Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief


…a bold exploration of loss, grief and unexpected consequences.

“In her debut, Mansfield recounts her personal and spiritual evolutions following her beloved husband’s terminal cancer diagnosis. Divided into before and after sections, the book details both the painful months leading up to the death of Mansfield’s husband and the years of mourning and emotional exploration that followed…Her descriptions of her bereavement and slow recovery are honest and moving, rendered in subtly poetic language; at one point, she describes a group of dolphins as “luminous revelations leaping from the great unconscious sea.”

What’s more, Mansfield’s perspective on her husband’s death is refreshingly curious and unflinching. She bravely allows for the possibility that losing him may have opened doors to opportunities she otherwise would not have had. These sharp insights alongside specific details of practical coping mechanisms make her account an instructive guidebook for readers confronting their own losses. Those interested in the natural world—and city folk yearning for a taste of country life—will also appreciate the vivid descriptions of her rural New York homestead and its central role in her healing process.

Deeply spiritual without being preachy, a comforting guide to mourning for readers of any stripe.”  Kirkus Reviews

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Elaine Mansfield loved her husband Vic so dearly — their shared journey together was so thoughtfully expansive — there is no way their bond could be eclipsed, or erased, by his death from cancer.

Her frank, authentic words kindly and generously describe the hardest journey they shared, blurring borders, stirring rich scenes. Mansfield accepts ‘aloneness’ with bravery – her story gives encouragement and solace. Magnificent and profound.

– Naomi Shihab Nye is the author of many books of poetry, including the poem “Kindness.”


Not only a touching and courageous memoir about love, illness, death and grief, Elaine Mansfield’s Leaning into Love is a manual for healing that offers us the emotional and spiritual tools needed to grow and even flourish through life’s deepest crises.

– Dale Borglum, Living/Dying Project


Elaine does not spare herself, writing honestly about her moments of anger and sacrifice; that honesty enables her to let go and simply love her husband as he is dying and as she incorporates the reality of his death…This is a book that will touch your heart and inform your understanding of love, loss and grief.

– Nina Miller, Executive Director of Hospicare and Palliative Care Services

Some books are so original they could only have been written by one person. This is one of them. If you want to know what real love looks like, read this page-turning testament to the exquisite beauty and tragedy of life, death and rebirth. You won’t come away unchanged. Mansfield is a masterful storyteller whose prose is as spare and meaningful as poetry and whose integrity is as intrepid and inspiring as the most magnificent heroine or goddess.

– Jean Benedict Raffa, author, Healing the Sacred Divide, The Bridge to Wholeness, and Dream Theatres of the Soul.


Elaine Mansfield knows far more than most people about love and loss, and she tells it with admirable honesty and clarity.

– Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist (Foreign Affairs, Truth and Consequences, The War between the Tates)


Elaine Mansfield’s book with her extraordinary husband through sickness, death and then on to grief and renewal is heart breaking and healing at the same time. It is a spiritual as well as an emotional journey, a good companion, a beautifully written story of a woman’s journey through bereavement.

– Lama Tsultrim Allione

A powerful account of the journey of grief.

– Roshi Joan Halifax


Reading this beautiful memoir of love and loss and triumph felt to me like a sacred journey into the very heart and soul of the courageous woman who writes it. With finely crafted, poignant as well as powerful prose, Elaine Mansfield tells the moving and inspirational story of her husband’s valiant battle with a rare form of incurable cancer and her own emotional struggles to support him throughout their shared ordeal.

– Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC, author of Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year.


This is a book which captures the heart from page one and continues to hold us even when we must put it down, and so it mirrors the undying connection between Elaine and her beloved Vic.

– Patricia Campbell Carlson, Executive Director, A Network for Grateful Living

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