It was May of 1991 when Judith Burdick got the call every wife and parent fears. Her beloved husband of 10 years, Dr. Mark Rubens, had been in an accident and was being rushed to the hospital.
Mark’s accident occurred off the coast of San Diego, California where the couple and their two children had made their home just two years earlier. Every effort was made to save Mark, a highly respected Orthopedic Surgeon, but after four days in a hyperbaric chamber, his battle to survive ended. He was just 35 years old.
Judith experienced deep despair. A single mother of two small children, she found herself alone, overwhelmed and unprepared for the challenges she now faced as a widow. Often she wondered how it would be possible to go on after a tragedy so profound? How does a person remain strong for their children when the entire life they knew changed in an instant? Judith searched for what meager help was available then, only to discover that none of it focused on the impact of grief on young survivors. It was this lack of resources and support that began her quest for healing, both for herself and her children.
“Rather than buckling beneath the weight of the loss of my young husband,” said Judith, “I allowed it to empower me as a person and then as a healer.” Judith and her children returned to her family in the Detroit area and re-enrolled at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, earning her Bachelors in psychology, and soon after her Masters in Clinical Psychology at The Center for Humanistic Studies in Detroit.
After graduating, Judith opened a practice dedicated to helping individuals with a wide range of emotional and psychological issues. Judith works especially closely with young widows, giving them the tools and support needed to rebuild their lives – the very type of support she had been looking for more than two decades earlier. Her experiences with the group inspired her unexpected foray into filmmaking. Transforming Loss provides an authentic look at six families who experienced heart-wrenching loss, and their harrowing personal journeys to transformation.
The documentary has won numerous local awards and is poised to take home even more laurels when it’s released to a national audience later this year. Judith lives and works in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.