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  1. Cancer Took My Wife. I’m Now Dating for the First Time in Decades
  2. Bereavement Response Scale
  3. Grief & Loss
  4. The Loss of a Life Partner: Narratives of the Bereaved

Giving needed attention to intimate partnerships married partners, nonmarried opposite-sex partners, gay partners, and lesbian partners , this volume sheds some light on the ways in which different groups of partnered people experience grief following the death of their loved ones. The book is divided into literature review, separate sections of narratives for each group of partners discussed, and interventions and implications. It is refreshing to see each group explored independently instead of seeing all partnerships lumped together as though they are identical.

However, the repetition across chapters of the many shared experiences among those four groups fails to fully acknowledge and integrate the many similarities across experiences of loss, resulting in a somewhat awkward volume. Carolyn Ambler Walter begins by reviewing some of the literature on grieving the death of a spouse or partner, promising a postmodern perspective on grief.

She explores in depth the concept of "disenfranchised grief," which occurs when the loss is not in the context of a socially sanctioned relationship. Though the author repeatedly refers to a dearth of literature on the subject of partner loss, there are relevant works that are not referenced. Walter describes how the participants were chosen in research terms e. As the title implies, the book's focus and also its highlight is the sharing of 22 narratives of bereaved partners of a deceased person, poignant tales of grief and growth, of love and loss.

The most important is the ability for people to listen to the person grieving, to sympathise, to understand that there is no quick fix or googleable solution Did I just invent a word there?? Everyone grieves in different ways, and for different lengths of time — it is a process which we all need to face at some time, but the phases will be as individual as we are. Sometimes people will need therapists, such as our author, sometimes they just need their friends and family around them. Circumstances will differ according to the nature of the death, and the relationships involved.

The author says it is ok to have happy moments, even in the depth of grief.

Anniversaries should be remembered, and with an awareness of the increased emotion around the date. A little tough love advice helps. Overall: It is a generalised book, but there is a definite market for it, and I can see where it can be a source of comfort and support for people living through their grief. It is humanely written, full of compassion and care for her clients, and people reading this will know they are not alone in their grief and misery.

It was humbling to read of all the emotions she went through, including anger. In summary, a useful book to have at hand, but will not be a cure-all.

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Cancer Took My Wife. I’m Now Dating for the First Time in Decades

It should be read with a view to increasing your own capacity for compassion and understanding, for helping someone in time of need. Acknowledgements: Thanks to the author and NetGalley for sending me a free copy of this book, in return for an honest and objective review. This will be the easiest book review I've written yet.


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If you're looking for one book to read on the subject of grieving and how to help yourself and others through it, this is not the one I'd recommend. It has more specific individual case studies and what these patients told the author, but If you read my review for the Kubler-Ross book, you know why This will be the easiest book review I've written yet. If you read my review for the Kubler-Ross book, you know why I needed to read a lot in little time unexpectedly about grieving, and I read this book Grief Works with hopes it would broaden my knowledge base and complement Kubler-Ross's terrific book On Grief and Grieving.

Bereavement Response Scale

I'm glad I read Kubler-Ross first, because it was far more enlightening and useful to me than this book. The organization of this book seemed like it might be helpful, divided into sections for which relationship you are grieving: loss of a parent, loss of a child, etc. However, the chapters are patient names and the table of contents offers no clues as to HOW a parent or child or sibling died, and the HOW really mattered to me because I was looking for specific examples of grieving a friend's suicide. I had to read the opening paragraphs of each patient name chapter until I finally found one where the HOW was suicide, and that was really the only information the book offered That wasn't my situation and the book offered little in the way of general and useful information on grieving suicide that would be applicable to more people than the one patient's experience in this book.

Compared to the chapter on suicide in Kubler-Ross's book, Grief Works was very disappointing. Of course, I read both books in their entirety anyway because I needed any information that might help me with my own grief and help my employees through theirs, but Grief Works provided me nothing I didn't get already from Kubler-Ross. Additionally, Grief Works was more than a little full of Julia Samuel. Maybe more full of her than the actual patients. The word "I" appears in this book far too much, as the author injects herself into every narrative where she's supposed to be telling a patient's story.

She has to tell us what she said, how she reacted, and whether she intended to or not, the book came across as more about her than about her patients and their grieving. In fact, some of her reactions and things she wrote about her patients seemed critical and impatient. After reading, I decided the author is not someone I would want to express my grieving thoughts to in confidence. However, I gave this book 3 stars because I am grateful that grieving is becoming something people talk and write about more openly and I encourage such writing, but it was ONLY 3 stars because it paled in comparison to a much better book by a much better writer on this topic that I had just finished before this one.

Feb 27, Miriam Downey rated it really liked it. Grief Works by Julia Samuel is a profound look at the process of grief. Samuel is a grief counselor, and the helps she offers comes from the stories of the grieving people she has met. Her approach is to listen and offer guidance only when necessary. In explaining grief, she makes a provocative statement that has stayed with me. Sadness, tears, yearning, and preoccupation with the person who has died alternate with present-day tasks, functioning, having hope for the future, and having a break from the grief.

The conclusion of the book talks about how we can help those who are grieving around us. This book came to me at an appropriate time. In the last month, we have lost two people close to us—a dear and long-term friend, and the grandfather to several of our grandchildren. One loss was abrupt and unexpected, while the other was prolonged and anticipated. Then today, a notice came that the husband of a friend was killed in an automobile accident.


  1. Cancer | Loss of Your Partner or Spouse, | CancerCare.
  2. About the Author.
  3. A is for Array.
  4. Books for grieving a spouse.
  5. The Loss of a Life Partner Narratives of the Bereaved - 9780231119689;
  6. It reminded me that death is always with us, and we need to be always ready to practice empathy with those who are suffering. Because of my age, I suppose, I read with interest the stories about facing your own death. They were helpful and enlightening. I recommend this book to anyone, because neither we, nor the people around us, can escape death. Reading Grief Works can serve as a reminder that grief and love go hand in hand.

    Grief & Loss

    Julia Samuel is a British grief counselor, and a good friend of Princess Diana and the royal family. Grief Works was published in Britain last year and is now available in the US. Jun 26, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Shelves: nf-self-help. It both delivered and disappointed. The author is a British psychotherapist with the NHS and private practice. The format of the book is to divide it into five kinds of death: the death of a partner, death of a parent, death of a sibling, death of a child, and dealing with your own impending death.

    For each section, the author gave case studies illustrating that type of situation. Then she provided a "Reflections" section for each. I personally found these the most interesting and practical parts of the book. Many readers will enjoy the patient case studies, but most were severe cases to which I didn't relate. But if you have struggled with a particular kind of grief yourself, some of these might be very helpful. A chapter at the end called "What helps: the work we need to do to help us grieve and survive successfully" included an especially good section called "How friends and family can help.

    I was fascinated with a helpful way the author talked about suicide: "a heart attack of the brain. We all should talk to our families about what we want to happen when we die. It is "magical thinking" to believe that talking about death will somehow hasten it. We must get better as a society about being comfortable talking about death. I think the real value in this book is the understanding you get as to how deeply personal and individualistic the grieving process is. While there are some aspects of grief shared amongst those who experience it, the majority of it is unique to the person going through it.

    So it's really worth it to listen or read all the chapters, regardless of whether or not the type of loss is one with which you've had direct experience. Because chances are excellent that you know someone - or know of some I think the real value in this book is the understanding you get as to how deeply personal and individualistic the grieving process is. Because chances are excellent that you know someone - or know of someone - who has, and there is a lot of insight here about how to really understand and support that person.

    The book is also a real insight into the work of a grief counsellor, and what that process is like. The situation, by the sheer scope the trauma involved, is challenging enough, but on top of that are the personalities involved, for there are often multiple people involved, directly or indirectly. The role of the counsellor is to hear it all and help the patient s deal with it all, and Samuel discusses the toll this takes on her, which was an important aspect to include. I liked Samuel's narration. Her voice is calm and soothing, as one might expect, but never monotonous.

    Even the sections pertaining to other types of relationships affected by death such as death of a child , I found very worthwhile guidance and advice. Because even if we are not affected by such deaths directly, often we will encounter someone dealing with such grief. It then becomes very helpful to understand and therefore to be able to empathize with people who have undergone such losses.

    I very much appreciated her statements about the relationship not dying with the person who has died, but continuing in a radically altered form. A worthwhile read even when we have not had to deal with the death of someone close to us. Grief Works by Julia Samuel is obviously a book about grief. She breaks the book into sections and looks separately at grief caused by different situations: when a partner dies, when a parent dies, when a sibling dies, when a child dies. Each section has a few case studies from her twenty-five years as a psychotherapist dealing with bereaved families, as well as some statistical information on that particular type of loss.

    The sections that I found particularly helpful were those about facing you Grief Works by Julia Samuel is obviously a book about grief.


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    The sections that I found particularly helpful were those about facing your own death, "what helps: the work we need to do to help us grieve and survive effectively" and one specifically addressing how friends and family can help one dealing with a loss. Everyone will eventually be in a position to grieve or know others who are grieving. This easy to read and practical book shows the things that help and the things that don't help the person grieving to move forward.

    Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and Scribner Publishing for allowing me to read an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own. Dec 17, Alex Davidson rated it really liked it. Having recently lost my mother, this book was very useful for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, hearing stories from others in a similar situation to myself and knowing that they have felt the same way I have recently makes the process seem less isolating. I have already been told a lot of the wisdom around how to deal with grief already by friends and family, but at the time I wasn't functioning in a way that would remember all of it. Things such as "you learn to live with the pain" and "you don't Having recently lost my mother, this book was very useful for a number of reasons.

    Things such as "you learn to live with the pain" and "you don't need to get over it" are important to remember. Even if you haven't lost someone recently, this is still worth a read, it helps anyone who trying support someone who is bereaving to help the best they can. Finally, it helps you to face your own death which naturally you start to think about if you have recently been bereaved.

    A very empathetic and emotionally healthy book. Jan 03, Sara Diane rated it liked it Shelves: I got this from NetGalley to preview. Being familiar with grief, the sort that disrupts your life in a major way, I was curious to hear Ms. Samuel's insights. And she has some good ones. However, Ms. Samuel is neither a writer nor a story-teller. The stories she picked to share didn't always work very well for the section she put them in, and it often had the feeling that she picked stories that really impacted her, but didn't actually best encapsulate and demonstrate the point.

    Each section had I got this from NetGalley to preview. Each section had a reflection portion at the end, and while they were helpful, felt like they should have been the point rather than the afterthought. The entire structure of the book just doesn't quite work. So, yes, there is some good information, but it wasn't as accessible as it could have been. Apr 01, Gwendolyn Broadmore rated it really liked it.

    Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving, by Julia Samuel is powerful, compassionate, insightful, and a "spot-on" guide to coping with grief. Whether we choose to admit it to ourselves, or not, so much of living our lives involves either brushing shoulders with grief, or tragically being immersed. It is easier to nurture ourselves, and those we love if we can understand more of this alien landscape; a space which houses one of societies' hidden taboos: the land of death and mourning. F Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving, by Julia Samuel is powerful, compassionate, insightful, and a "spot-on" guide to coping with grief.

    For those who are suffering the anguish of painful loss, or know a dear-one who needs gentle support "Grief Works" will hold out the generous and validating hand of friendship. Those first few months in that apartment, I felt a specific type of aloneness I had never before in my life experienced — I felt I had no safety net, no backup, no one watching over me.

    Not many people can date themselves. But the greatest challenge, the greatest thing to do when you have lost someone, is to really date yourself, take yourself out, and to get to know and understand yourself so that you can move into the next chapter. A few months after the breakup, I started to really sit with myself and pay attention to what I was feeling and what I needed.

    I got a beautiful dog, a couple meaningful tattoos, and let myself sit on the couch for hours and stare out the window. I kept meeting people, too, but dating was drastically different. I had been through the worst, and anything that could go wrong on a date was nothing compared to what I had overcome.

    A year or so after my mom died, I met up with a man I connected with on Tinder.

    The Loss of a Life Partner: Narratives of the Bereaved

    I continued seeing the guy because he could relate to me on a level few others could — but ultimately, he was not right for me, and besides, I was still very much dating myself. I went on to date a married couple who became my good friends as well as sexual partners. I dated a guy who talked to me about his techniques for lucid dreaming and his strategies for mindfulness. And then I met a woman, and this one felt different. She recently lost a parent figure, and like with my mother, it was unexpected. She has the soul of someone who understands pain but also wants to create beauty.

    She is ambitious, thoughtful, and analytical — plus she loves drinking coffee on the couch, going to therapy, Korean restaurants, and talking about attachment theory and psychology just as much as I do. Not everyone wants to hear about my dad overnighting pulled pork burritos from his kitchen in LA to my office in New York. And not everyone wants to hear about how my mom worked at group homes in Downey with abused teenage girls.