Co-destiny in Action
This blog is dedicated to my son Ryan Kasper who passed away in 2011. Ryan would have been 25 this year. The purpose of this page is to help others who have suffered such a loss recover and to grow from their loss. After losing my son to Lafora Disease I enrolled in the Master of Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 where I developed a concept I call co-destiny. Researching and writing about the concept helped me through the grieving process and ultimately provided me with the realization that not only could I recover from my ordeal but I could ultimately grow from my trauma. At the time I did not feel the need to share my work with anybody else, not for selfish reasons, but honestly I was not sure it would make sense to anybody else. I thought of it as my personal recovery process. It worked for me and I was satisfied. However, my advisor at MAPP, Red Rebel was the first to see that my work had the potential to help others. Shortly after I graduated from the MAPP program Reb sent my paper to his colleague and friend Lucy Hone PhD. Lucy is a fellow MAPP alumna who lost her 12 year old daughter Abi in a tragic auto accident in May of 2014. In Lucy’s latest book Resilient Grieving, she mentions that when she first encountered the concept of co-destiny it took a while for the concept to sink in. Lucy and Abi shared a dream of publishing together one day hence during the process of writing the book Lucy realized that “the process of writing the book was an expression of her co-destiny with Abi.” Lucy’s book represents an excellent resource for anyone interested in the science of resilience and how this is can be applied to the area of grief and bereavement. It is a resource I wish I had when I was struggling through the early bereavement process.
More recently Reb introduced the concept of co-destiny to Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg. They in turn decided to include it in their latest book Option B. Adam and Sheryl have been very gracious and helpful to me and my family. Sheryl has recently honored Ryan on her Facebook page on his birthday and has publically acknowledged many times how the concept of co-destiny has helped her cope with the loss of her husband David Goldberg . She continues to forge a co-destiny with her late husband through her work with OptionB.org. Adam, who I first met when enrolled in MAPP, has remained a mentor but has also become a friend and colleague who continues to motivate me and support my efforts to bring a “positive turn” to the scientific study of grief and bereavement and to start a “Positive Bereavement” movement within the field of positive psychology.
This is the first in a series of posts that will start the process of introducing how positive psychology can be utilized in the process of grieving. In future posts I intend to share what I have learned through my formal education and through my own experience. I hope that it may help others recover from their loss and help them realize that their loss although painful represents a potent stimulus for growth. Posttraumatic growth.
In future post I will introduce in more detail the concept of co-destiny, the science behind it and explain why and how it can and should be incorporated into grief counseling and bereavement therapy. The ultimate goal of these posts is to help other bereaved individuals navigate their tragic journey via self-education and community support. This also happens to be my co-destiny with my son Ryan.