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How the title and jacket of my book 'Grief Works' evolved

This is my first blog. 

It may seem strange wanting to write about the title of my book - but it does say a great deal about it... and I have always wanted to know how jacket covers come into being, so I am also writing what I'd like to read about.

It took me many months to make the decision to even write a proposal for this book. I wasn't confident I could write a whole book, wasn't sure I had anything of value to say and it felt like I would be setting myself permanent homework for years. I found myself walking up and down the kitchen, writing very unsatisfactory notes, fiddling on my phone, making coffee, every diversionary tactic. Then I made myself sit down and scribble words that came to mind, and yes, it was as simple as that, I wrote bereavement, loss, grief, the work of grief, works about grief, and saw the title like finding a much searched for piece of a jigsaw puzzle, Grief Works. It was finding the title that gave me the boost I needed to go ahead and write the proposal. 

Grief Works has three different meanings : one comes from Sigmund Freud who was the first person to talk about the work of grief - and it is hard work on every level, psychologically, physiologically, (it is embodied as well as enbrained) and psychically, (it forces us to recognise that we are mortal). And it is such hard work because of the paradox, for pain is the agent of change, which forces us to face the reality of the death. But we instinctively don't want to feel pain, and it is often the things we do to avoid the pain that cause us harm, sometimes in whole families, for generations. So the work of grief in this context is that it is by allowing ourselves to feel the pain, that we heal. 

The second meaning of Grief Works is that it is a statement, that it works if we allow ourselves to let it do it's business. Grief is invisible, but supporting the process of grieving, that happens internally, is how we learn to survive, sometimes even thrive after a loss. We know it works thanks to the revolutionary understandings and research that we now have on grief and bereavement, but that knowledge is not out in the world. The process is one of oscillation between times we allow ourselves to feel the pain, and times we have a break from the pain through distraction, work, comfort. In addition, we know the other most important factor that supports, and lets grief work, is the love of others; when we lose love, we need to feel the love and connection of those around us. There are sections in the book The 8 Pillars of Strength (also on this website) which guides us as to what helps us when we grieve, and also what friends and family can do to help us. 

The final meaning is that this is a series of works on grief, there are 14 case studies, mainly based on my counselling relationship with bereaved clients, some of the stories are amalgamations of different clients. Through telling their story I show what is unique to us as individuals, which is influenced by our upbringing, our biology, our experience and our support system, and what is often universal for all of us. 

The jacket started as a tissue box designed by my brother Hugo,Grief Works Image Hugo where the whole book looked like a tissue box, I did rather love it because it was funny, and not taking itself too seriously. But I do need the book to be taken seriously so we went through many many iterations of text and image, some of which are here Possible Cover and colour Grief Works Blue Cover Pdf until we found and were happy with the final image Gw Confirmed Colour

You can't see in the final copy it is in embossed lettering, that is shaded showing the light and dark of life, and the dandelions in black and orange represent growth and new life and how it can be blown away in the wind. The colour orange offers emotional strength in difficult times. It helps us to bounce back from despair, assisting in recovery from grief. It also radiates warmth and heart connection which is what we most need when we our heart feels like it is breaking.

Julia Samuel February 23rd 2017

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