How to Cope with Profound Grief: An Interview with Rosalie Lightning Author Tom Hart

An interview with Tom Hart, author of Rosalie Lightning, a graphic memoir about the loss of his daughter and the profound grief that followed.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD
2-minute read
Episode #101

Everyone experiences a form of grief in their lifetime. But not everyone writes and illustrates that experience in a profoundly moving book.

Graphic novelist Tom Hart did. And the result is Rosalie Lightning, a memoir which is both breathtakingly beautiful and a punch to the gut. The book deals with the heartbreaking loss of his two-year-old daughter, Rosalie.

This week, Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen talks with Tom about coping with the loss of his daughter and how Rosalie Lightning, which recently debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for graphic books, came to be. The interview addresses questions such as:

  • How to cope with the loss of a child or close loved one
  • How and why we search for reasons and warning signs to explain death
  • How we deal with the resulting anger after loss
  • What loved ones can do or say (or not say or do) to help those dealing with profound grief

Listen to the full interview with Tom and Ellen in the top right hand player, or on iTunes and Stitcher

To purchase Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart, visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Booksamillion, or Apple.


Tom Hart is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and critically acclaimed Eisner-nominated cartoonist and the Executive Director of The Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, Florida. He is the creator of Daddy Lightning, and the Hutch Owen series of graphic novels and books. The Collected Hutch Owen was nominated for best graphic novel in 2000. He won a Xeric Grant for self-publishing cartoonists. He teaches sequential art at the University of Florida and taught at NYC's School of Visual Arts for 10 years.

Illustration courtesy of Tom Hart.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD

Dr. Ellen Hendriksen was the host of the Savvy Psychologist podcast from 2014 to 2019. She is a clinical psychologist at Boston University's Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD). She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA and completed her training at Harvard Medical School. Her scientifically-based, zero-judgment approach is regularly featured in Psychology Today, Scientific American, The Huffington Post, and many other media outlets. Her debut book, HOW TO BE YOURSELF: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, was published in March 2018.