Photo Credit: Shonna Valeska
Judy Collins’s crystal-clear soprano and songwriting gifts have made her a folk-singing legend, with more than 40 albums and several Grammy honors to her credit. Her riveting blue eyes were celebrated by Stephen Stills in the Crosby, Still, & Nash classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” But she has faced more illness, pain, and loss than many people realize. Her latest book, The 7 T’s, distills the lessons she learned about recovering from grief and loss since her son Clark's suicide at age 33 in 1992. Videotaped in her sunlit New York City apartment, she spoke with Beliefnet about her journey to spiritual healing and her desire to help others.

Video Interview

Strength, Hope, and Healing
Faith, Prayer, and Grace

Your book, The Seven T's, is about finding hope and healing after devastating loss. Where did this process come from?

The 7 T's: Deep Healing
The Seven T's really came to me while I was talking about and touring with my book on suicide, which came out three or four years ago. I felt that I wanted to give people a pragmatic, practical way to do the things that I had learned to do to survive my own loss of my son’s death 15 years ago to suicide. And so, in each case I enlarge upon a particular concept.

1. Truth: Tell it, regardless of how terrible the facts may be and how hard it is to talk about. Don’t hide the truth about how you lost the person you loved. I think that generally applies to all kinds of tragedy. 
2. Trust: Allow it. Don’t let the painful circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one prevent you from talking with friends about your loss. It’s very important to find people to trust to whom we can talk about what’s going on in our lives. 
3. Therapy: Which I completely believe in--not only traditional therapy of the talking kind, but also body therapy, massage, art therapy, music therapy, physical therapy, which can be therapy without even having that tag on it. Because loss can be a physical shock as well as a mental and emotional shock. 
4. Treasure: Hold on. Don’t stop treasuring your loved one. Particularly again in the case of suicide, where so many people eliminate the person from the planet and they’re never mentioned again. 
5. Thrive: Keep looking at life with your eyes wide open. Don’t give in to the temptation to use alcohol or other addictive substances to blunt or blur your sadness. Tremendous loss is also the opportunity for a gift in your life. It could be learning compassion for other people. It could be learning compassion for yourself.
6. Treat: Nurture yourself. Give yourself the gift of kind understanding, and taking care of ourselves when we’re in a fragile circumstance and when we have miles to go, because these things don’t end in a week. They stay with us. 
7. Transcend: The word always reminds me of spring because the earth transcends from its apparently dead circumstance. The spring comes and the sun comes and the flowers start to bloom, and the world really transcends death.