Grief Works Stories of Life, Death & Surviving

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Grief Works is a compassionate guide that will support, inform and engage anyone who is grieving, from the ‘expected’ death of a parent to the sudden and unexpected death of a small child. It also provides clear advice for those seeking to comfort the bereaved.

There are many books on the market written by bereaved people and academics but there is no one accessible, plain talking, informed, up-to-date book by a bereavement expert that helps the reader to process grief. ‘Grief Works is an intimate, clear, warm, helpful book that is as invaluable to those who are grieving as it is to those around them.

With deeply moving case studies based on real people’s stories of loss, brilliantly accessible and practical advice, Grief Works is the definitive guide for anyone who is grieving the death of someone they care about.

Death is the last taboo in our society, and grief is still profoundly misunderstood. So many of us feel awkward and uncertain around death, and shy away from talking honestly with family and friends. That ignorance means people don’t understand themselves and are often misunderstood, which aggravates their suffering.

Yet when someone is bereaved they are desperate to understand what is happening to them, and to know what will help them. And they are right to want to know, for how we think about loss and death, the choices we make, and the support we get, is the single most significant factor in a healthy grieving

The case studies in Grief Works enable readers to understand themselves, and illuminate the ways in which they can navigate their own path to finding a way of rebuilding their life. Each case study is based on what realistically happens psychologically when someone significant dies, through a variety of scenarios and circumstances within which deaths occur.

The commentaries after each section: (the death of a partner, parent, sibling, child and facing your own death) enables the reader to have a version of Julia Samuel through the book, explaining what has been happening, what is normal and in doing so informing and helping them. 

If we think about how we respond to friends or family members when they are bereaved we often want to fix them, make them better – or we do nothing veering on the side of ‘what I don’t speak about, and don’t say won’t hurt me or them’. The opposite is true. People who are bereaved, on the whole prefer their loss to be acknowledged and to be allowed to feel their pain. The section What Friends and Family Can Do to Help is a brilliant guide in letting you know how to best respond in all circumstances  - through the voices of people who have been bereaved.  

The Victorians were very good at dealing with death, but terrible at addressing sex. The reverse is true now. Sex is discussed in every media portal in every way, and death is hidden away in mortuaries. This book makes death as easy to talk about as sex.  Not to trample on fears and defences about death, but to be so accessible, practical and informative that people feel comfortable reading it and much more confident.

The aim of this book is to address the fear that surrounds death and grief and to replace it with confidence. People need to understand that grief is a process that has to be worked through – we know from experience that grief is work, extremely hard work; but, if we do the work, it can work for us by enabling us to heal. The natural process of grieving can be supported in such a way as to allow us to function effectively in our daily lives, and this book will come to play a useful role in providing this support.

This book is a resource that can be continually revisited. For people to understand their grief, or the grief of the people they care about. It will be used by friends and family to reassure the bereaved that lives can be rebuilt, trust developed, and we can dare to love again. We may no longer be innocently hopeful, and we may always have times when we feel the pain of loss, but the deeper understanding of ourselves that we have gained will, in time, feel like growth. 

‘Fascinating. A wise and compassionate book full of insight and understanding that would help anyone experiencing grief, or those surrounding them. I am so glad this book exists.'

Cathy Rentzenbrink The best selling author of 'The Last Act of Love'

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