Living with Grief: Before and After the Death is a compilation published by the Hospice Foundation of America. It offers 18 chapters on the most current perspectives on grief and bereavement, and a 19th chapter featuring selected grief resources. It’s divided into four sections: The Dying Process: Understanding Anticipatory Grief and Anticipatory Mourning; Grief: New Insights and Developments; Implications for Practice; and The Importance of Self-Care. It is a book intended for professionals and therapists, but anybody who is going through a grieving process (or knows someone who is) and who doesn’t mind a more theoretical and intellectual discussion of these topics may find the book interesting and useful. At over 300 pages, it’s not a quick book you pick up and read — it takes some time to work through the chapters and grasp their full meaning and weight.
Interspersed throughout the book are personal essays, which add an extra layer of insight and break up the sometimes academic chapters. The book covers a wide range of grief and loss issues, including: anticipatory grief, complicated grief, reminiscence and meaning making, mutual support groups, grieving children, and professional self-care. I found the book covering these topics at a level that made me feel like I knew a good deal more than I knew going into the chapter, which is always a pleasant surprise. Research citations are sprinkled throughout each chapter, so the authors focus on what we “know” versus just opinion.
The biggest downside to the book is one that is common amongst all compilations — with so many different authors contributing, the book’s tone and readability varies fairly widely. Some authors are great, engaging writers, while others left a little to be desired.
All in all, however, if you’re really interested in the grief and dying process, this book will readily compliment your bookshelf and is worth your time.
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Grohol, J. (2007). Living with Grief: Before and After the Death. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/living-with-grief-before-and-after-the-death/000931
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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