Grief is a fickle emotion. It’s sometimes described as having either five stages or seven. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The seven stages are very similar: shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, acceptance and hope.
What’s important to remember, no matter which description of the stages makes sense to you, is that everyone experiences every loss differently. Fortunately, no one has to go through grief alone. Friends and family, counselors and even books can help you understand grief better and process your own feelings. Here are some books that may be helpful with different types of loss in your life.
“Bereavement Counseling: Pastoral Care for Complicated Grieving” by Junietta Baker McCall
This book combines clinical and spiritual care for the bereaved, calling on theory, observation, experience and practice to examine changing approaches to counseling the grieving. McCall is an ordained minister with an extensive background in pastoral counseling. She provides usable treatment strategies, sharing standard interventions and promoting technical skill for caregivers through vignettes gathered over more than 20 years of experience.
“Love and Loss: The Roots of Grief and its Complications” by Colin Murray Parkes
Parkes’ innovative research into the nature of love and grief enables us to bring together the knowledge of childhood attachments and the problems of bereavement. The book covers patterns of attachment and grief; the loss of a parent, child or spouse in adult life; and social isolation and support. It also examines disorders of attachment and considering bereavement in terms of the implications on love, loss and change in a wider context.
“African American Grief” by Paul C. Rosenblatt and Beverly R. Wallace
Part of a series on death, dying and bereavement, this book examines the potential effects of slavery and racism on the Black experience and conception of death and grief in America. The book is based on interviews with 26 Black people who have faced the death of a significant person in their lives. It combines these narratives with research, analysis and theoretical discussion.
“Gift of Tears” by Susan Lendrum and Gabrielle Syme
This practical approach to loss and bereavement counseling is now out in an updated and revised edition with new research and examples of recent events to illustrate the effects of loss. Lendrum and Syme are experienced counselors and psychotherapists and the book contains candid and readable discussions of understanding and working with anger and guilt, attachment patterns and loss, historical changes in attitudes toward death and bereavement, and death as a particular form of loss.
“Widow to Widow: How the Bereaved Help One Another” by Phyllis R. Silverman
This book shares the experiences of widows who have found comfort and continuity in mutual help and community support programs. This book empowers people to organize and implement mutual help programs themselves.
“Remember Me: Constructing Immortality – Beliefs on Immortality, Life and Death” edited by Margaret Mitchell
Contributors from around the world bring insight on the ways in which your relationship with loved ones continues and maybe even grows after death. This book challenges the notion that you should let go of the deceased and move forward with life, discussing the meaning attributed to death and to the anticipation of death.
“Parenting After the Death of a Child: A Practitioner’s Guide” by Jennifer L. Buckle and Stephen J. Fleming
This book examines one of the worst tragedies – parenting surviving siblings after the death of a child. It follows on the heels of qualitative research study that involved interviewing grieving parents. Buckle and Fleming then put together stories of loss and recovery to create an invaluable resource for clinicians, students and grieving parents, answering important questions like how can someone attempt to cease parenting a deceased child while maintaining this role with their other children? Is it possible for a mother or father to deal with feelings of grief and loss while helping their surviving children?
These books and many others on the topic of grieving and loss are available in Bevis Funeral Home’s Sympathy Store for delivery either to the home or to the grieving family of someone in Bevis’ care. Bevis has more grief resources available or you can call 850-385-2193 for more help and support.