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Utah Author Shares his Story of Loss as Part of "Grief and the Holidays"


SALT LAKE CITY – Sean Covey knows loss.

In the span of two months in 2012, he lost both his father, self-help author Stephen Covey, and his daughter Rachel.

The elder Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died at 79 years old after a bicycle accident in Idaho Falls. A 21-year-old studying to become a veterinary tech, Covey's daughter took her own life after a bad reaction to depression medication.

"It was back to back," Covey says. "My father's death was easy, relatively speaking. The grief of losing my daughter was on a whole different level."

Covey, himself an author, will speak at the University of Utah College of Nursing's Caring Connections "Grief and the Holidays: Finding Warmth in Winter" program Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.

"The holidays are really terrifically challenging for people," says Katherine Supiano, Caring Connections director and an associate professor at the college. "There's such high social expectations about being happy and pressure for families to do the traditional things when their world is turned upside down. It's really hard to do anything ordinary or traditional."

Caring Connections' winter speaker is part of a larger program to help Utahns work through their feelings of loss, including evening group sessions at the College of Nursing for those who have lost spouses or children and those trying to emerge from debilitating complicated grief.

Covey says there are no shortcuts with grief.

"You can't shortchange the grieving process. There's no quick fix. And if you skip the pieces they come back later."

The Covey family established a foundation – Bridle Up Hope -- in Rachel Covey's honor. The nonprofit is dedicated to helping young women build confidence through equestrian training.

That legacy, Covey says, has helped the family move on and grow stronger.

Supiano says Covey's story will "bring a level of insight that will benefit all who hear his story."

For more information, visit Caring Connections. For Grief and the Holidays details: