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I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Death of a Loved One

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Now there is a hand to hold...

Each year about eight million Americans suffer the death of a close family member. The list of high visibility disasters, human suffering and sudden loss in long and will continue to grow. From TWA Flight 800 to Egypt Air 990, from Oklahoma City to Columbine, daily we face incomprehensible loss. Outside the publicized tragedies there are many families and individuals that are suffering behind closed doors in our neighborhoods, in our own homes, in hospital waiting rooms. Now for those who face the challenges of sudden death, there is a hand to hold written by two women who have experience sudden loss.

In a book that will touch, comfort, uplift and console, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. explore sudden death and its role in the cycle of life. Tapping the personal histories of both authors and numerous interviews, I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye shows grieving readers how to endure, survive and grow from the pain and turmoil surrounding human loss.

For survivors this valuable book provides a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Brook Noel

47 books16 followers
Brook Noel is the author of nineteen books, specializing in grief and bereavement and life management and balance for today’s busy woman.

Noel is known for going “beyond the book” by creating a whole experience to interact and support her readers through online and in-person events, Q&A chats, message boards, and communities. She maintains two regular columns, The Daily Rush and Good Morning, and a free weekly e-zine, The Challenge Weekly with a combined readership of over 70,000.

Her greatest passion is the Make Today Matter Life System Online which is the basis for The Change Your Life Challenge. “I feel like everything I have done or experienced in life has culminated in this program and book. The program isn’t just about family time, or menu planning, or procrastination, or organizing-it is about every major area of a woman’s life.”

Noel was recognized in 2003 as one of the Top 40 Business People Under the Age of 40 by the Business Journal. She is a spokesperson for the Home Business Association and was featured in their top entrepreneur issue and also a a spokesperson for the Whirlpool Corporation specializing in the time crunch of busy moms.

Noel has conducted workshops for and/or appeared on/in:CNN Headline News, ABC World News, FOX Friends, Woman’s World, Our Children (National PTA Magazine), Los Angeles Times, Cedars-Sinai Medical Systems, Parent’s Journal, Booklist, Foreword, Independent Publisher, University of Washington, UW-Milwaukee, University of Michigan, Single Parents Association, AM Northwest, Town & Country, New York Post, “Ask Heloise,” Bloomberg Radio-and hundreds of other publication, shows, and stations.

Brook lives in Wisconsin with her husband, their thirteen-year-old daughter, a golden retriever and a Puggle named Roxie.

Brook has been inspired by her life’s experiences and the people around her. She strives to help others through her creative expression. She is passionate and her vocation is also her avocation.

Brook is also a life coach and dedicates a part of her time, each week, to working with women in one on one coaching sessions.

Some of Brook’s titles:

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 148 reviews
Profile Image for JT.
38 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2010
My dad died the day before Valentine's Day. He was 52 and his heart just stopped.

Shock is an amazing thing - it let's you get through horrible times without fully feeling the torrent of emotions raging through you. But then shock wears off, and in my case, I had to go back to a city where I don't have family to deal with my grief by myself.

I picked up this book and a couple others hoping to find out that there was an end to the pain I was feeling. There isn't one. But there is a new normal that you can eventually get to.

This book had simple, compassionate language and practical advice for dealing with sudden deaths - be it a father, brother, daughter or friend. I gave it four stars because I was hoping for something more in depth about how to deal with such a tragedy when you're a young adult... but I don't think that exists right now... in fact I think it's my job to write that one.
Profile Image for Tom.
68 reviews3 followers
August 16, 2014
Having lost my wife - suddenly, unexpectedly - last month, I found a lot of good helpful information in this book, including helpful exercises to make dealing with this incredibly weird grieving process a bit easier, and a lot more understandable.

However, the book loses one star because the authors certainly push their obvious Christianity down the readers' throats. I found that to be unhelpful to say the least. I realize some people need that sort of thing, but I don't believe it is an integral part of the grieving process.

But if you can overlook that, by all means, buy the book if you have lost a loved one unexpectedly, suddenly, or tragically. I do recommend it, it will be of great help to you.
Profile Image for Doug DePew.
Author 6 books32 followers
January 26, 2012
I've struggled for months with what appeared to be a mid-life crisis. In researching how to get through it, I tracked the source down to delayed grief. I lost my brother in 1995 and my dad in 2000 in very similar auto accidents. I don't think I ever grieved them properly and it surfaced in my forties. This book is one of the ones I found to address my particular situation.

This is a well written guidebook to carry anyone through the experience of losing a close loved one suddenly. It contains sections dealing with specific losses such as: a spouse or partner, a sibling, suicide, mass death (such as terrorism), fallen heroes, and others. Each section is thoughtful and helpful. It also has a wonderful portion of the book carrying the reader step by step through the immediate aftermath of sudden death. The back couple chapters are dealing with additional resources and activities to help with grief work.

The authors of this book have both dealt with sudden death themselves. Part of what I found most useful was reading the sections they wrote about their personal situations. I'm still working on the back exercises. I think that will take a while. I wish I'd had this book in 1995 when I lost my brother. Even though my grief was delayed by decades, I am still finding it helpful. Grief is a very individual experience that nobody except the person inside your head will ever understand. These authors have written a resource to help you find your way through that deep, dark forest into the light again. I recommend it to anyone who's experienced a sudden death. I'll keep my copy when I'm finished to hand on to the first person I know who needs it. It helps.
January 12, 2022
This book has, for now at least, helped me feel less alone. Allowing me to tell myself what I feel is normal, there are no timelines to be met, and it’s okay if I’m not finding answers to my questions. Whilst I did find myself hoping it centred more around my personal experience, I also know logically that wouldn’t be possible. Highly recommended to anyone who has been bereaved and struggling with their grief (whether recent or not). In fact, I’ve spent these months wondering why there was no education on death/grief in schools… and thus I’d also recommend this to those who just want to prepare themselves for when they do experience loss as it’s an inevitable reality of life.
Profile Image for Michelle Jarvie.
Author 1 book6 followers
January 14, 2015
One of the best grief books because it (1) tackles the myths/stereotypes of the grief process and (2) presents different segments for every kind of relationship (friend, spouse, child, parent, etc.). Extremely well-written and thoughtful.
Profile Image for alyssa.
530 reviews34 followers
September 2, 2018
One of the better grief books I think. Also one of the few that specifically talks about sibling death and how it fucking blows
Profile Image for Kelly.
7 reviews1 follower
May 17, 2021
I would give it more than 5 stars if I could. It's hands down the best book I've read on the topic of grief (and I've read quite a few). It's compassionate without being patronizing. It's straightforward, while being gentle. It has a hopeful tone, while not glossing over the tragedy. It has so many practical tips. It has snippets of other people's stories, but they aren't so detailed that it adds to the reader's current trauma. It's great for grievers and those who supported the grieving people. I would recommend it to anyone. I think especially people who are trying to support grieving people need to read this. I can see myself coming back to this one in the future.
Profile Image for Lydia Hill.
57 reviews
April 9, 2023
Would recommend this to anyone who has lost someone suddenly and unexpectedly. This books offers help and wisdom in ways I haven’t been able to find before and comfort in other peoples’ stories struggling with similar grief.

I would highly suggest buying this book even just to be able to give it to someone you know if they ever lose someone suddenly and tragically. It offers advice and resources to those grieving, it offers help and advice to those caring for grieving people/families and it offered practically instructions on how to organize a memorial service, who to contact and when, how to write a eulogy, resources for outlets to deal with your pain, etc.

My only issue is that this book isn’t written from a stance of knowing Jesus, but there is a chapter on faith. Though it includes all kinds of faiths. But what really helped me after Nate died was knowing that he would be in Heaven feeling no pain or suffering and living with Jesus. They touch on relationships with God, but there’s a lack of the intrinsic nature of who God is in our lives and in everything.

But again, overall this book really helped understand grief and loss, how to live and love life again in time, and offered practical help and resources from people who have gone through the same thing.
173 reviews1 follower
May 16, 2018
I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye is a comprehensive self-help book for those who've experienced a sudden death - of many kinds. It is comprehensive, and all encompassing, which is its strong point and its weak point at the same time. I have experienced such a loss with my brother, and with several friends, so was eager to read it. It started out well, however, I found it so thorough and heavy that I became bogged down about one third to one half way through. My recommendation is to read just the parts that seem to apply to you, and to use the exercises if you are currently in such grief, otherwise, you'll find this a bit burdensome. The best parts of the book were actually the stories of people's experiences, rather than the theoretical, advice-giving, which sometimes seemed a bit obvious, even if necessary and true. The resources and exercises seem helpful and can be skimmed if you are weary towards the end.
Profile Image for Linda Knight Crane.
537 reviews4 followers
October 11, 2019
Excellent book aid for grief. Practical advice. Divided into segments so you can jump around or skip those that do not pertain to you. Whether you’re grieving or know someone who’s grieving. A great reference book that I will go back to for continual support as I will never get over my grief.
Profile Image for Aaron  Polish.
251 reviews16 followers
May 1, 2023
Man, I had to read this after I lost a loved one who was very close to me, no matter what anyone says, I truly respected and honor the man, I felt really depressed and after my sister in law selected this book from a library that she works at, I started reading it. This book hit right home.
October 6, 2018
This was the first book I purchased after my husband completed suicide. It is the book I loan or suggest when someone asks me what to read after a suicide.

Brook Noel has written a story of grief and recovery. Letting people know that it is okay to grieve the way you want or need to, not how others expect you to.
Profile Image for Natasha.
93 reviews
November 12, 2018
Very helpful - written by two therapists who have walked the path of losing someone too young, suddenly, and unexpectedly. They do a beautiful job of outlining the complicated nature of grief within the context of complex human relationships, providing specific information for those who have lost a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend. Really helpful to me to identify my symptoms of grief and know they are normal and that these, too, will change as time continues without my sister. Chapters on losing someone in particular ways, e.g., suicide, mass murder and terrorism. I was pleased to have a guide written by people who have walked this path before I began my own unexpected journey.
Profile Image for Luann Habecker.
211 reviews2 followers
October 22, 2020
pg 10

pg 20 Only you know how you want to be treated. Don't keep it to yourself.
We can't get through what we do not feel. [our grief sessions will be unique, as are we]

pg 24 Shock has rearranged our insides. This disorientation comes from not yet recognizing the new arrangement. Grief is a molting where we shed the parts of us that are no longer applicable to the new parts. it isn't a time to understand anything. "

pg 30 Anger turned inside out is depression.

pg 34 ...every thought you think and emotion you feel is communicated to every cell in your body.
pg 35 surrogate dreamers

pg 40 Remember, if someone says something like, "It's time now to get on with your life," you have the right to say, "In my time and God's time, not in your time."
Fear is not always a bad thing. If you allow yourself to experience fear fully, without trying to push it away, an inner shift takes place that initiates transformation.
There is no experience that exists in this life that does not have the power to lead you to greater knowledge and growth. Major loss can only become a vehicle for creating a renewed life when we stop thinking of it as punishment and start to see it as process. This process begins with the death of a relationship and proceeds through a period of grief and mourning, in which the death is recognized and accepted, and ends with a rebirth.

pg 51 Our expression of grief needs to come out of our need to make meaning or sense from what feels like meaningless tragedy, and no time limit can be set on that.

pg 53 Grief does not disappear. It goes underground temporarily and waits to be expressed. When you stop numbing, you must start the process of grieving where you left off. There is no shortcut.
To take control of your grief, you must face your loss head on with all your senses working. You can't do that while you are blissfully tranquilized.

pg 54 You've got to talk about it. Then when you need to talk again, start all over with your story. You cannot move through your grief unless you experience it. Allow yourself to talk as much as you want, processing the last days, details surrounding his death.

pg 55

pg 57 Grief is not something we 'get over' or heal from as if it were an illness. It is a journey to a new stage of life. The goal is not forgetting or resolving. The goal is reconciliation with life.

pg 61 Multiple losses compound and will influence how you handle your grief.

pg 63 lingering death vs sudden death. grieving is like a maze of emotions (labyrinth!) we go forward a bit and then back over the same territory. begin to see our humanness and our brokenness as a threshold to personal growth.
acceptance vs acknowledgement.

pg 68-69 this shattering of assumptions is a normal part of grief. We must re-evaluate what we once held as true, move through the ruin, and create a new foundation based on what we have learned.

pg 70 Since nothing of the future matters, everything in the here and now does. To learn to live in the present, to reap the gifts of the moment.
when we lose someone, we often lose a piece of ourselves. redefine yourself...need to adapt for the future. re-evaluate our priorities. learning to incorporate our priorities, needs and dreams into our daily lives.
though they are gone, we are showing (them?) that they have changed our life and allowed us to live more fully. [legacy of helping others live more complete lives?]

pg 72 [cycles] almost everything can be understood as a cycle with a beginning, middle, and end. our minds will immediately try to do the same with our tragic loss experience. looking for a beginning (what happened?), the middle (how did he feel, respond, progress?), the end (was he in pain? did he have any last thoughts or words?) in order to get to a place where we can think about the experience in its entirety, we must know as much of the cycle as possible. over and over again, grievers tell their stores, attempting to make sense of them, attempting to understand the cycle.
As our questions lessen, we create more room to heal?
Make a conscious effort to identify what is not making sense to you about your loss or crisis. what is puzzling or troubling me?
to the process of rebuilding. it allows the mind to cycle through the event in it's entirety, instead of stopping to question and get lost in the who, what , when, where, why and how.

pg 75

pg 78 I am not the person i was 3 weeks ago and i will never be that person again.

pg 102 children: need to re-experience the loss at each stage of development. when they realize the finality of death, they need to re-interpret what the death means to them.
the loss of their assumption that childhood is a safe place.
see death as a kind of sleep; the person is alive, but only in a limited way. cannot fully separate death from life. know death occurs physically, but they think it is temporary, reversible and not final. children often talk to the people around them (even strangers) to see the reactions of others and to get clues for their own responses. may ask confusing questions as a way of testing reality and making sure the story of the death has not changed. anticipate the repetition. Their peers have little information on death and will not have the emotional maturity to help their friend. The only support children can get is yours or other support you provide.

pg 128 When we lose a parent, a part of our history disappears. We lose a piece of our foundation. when one parents dies it's a comma. When both parents die it's a period.

pg 131 without knowing how serious her condition was

pg 133 to concentrate only on the manner of the end deprives not only your parents of their total identity, but you of a broader perspective.
pg 134 make a list of all you learned from your parent, good or bad. It can help to know that their life had meaning to you and that you received some very important life lessons from them.

pg 212

pg 214 The purpose of religion is to be a vehicle, an avenue of facilitating spiritual connections with the Divine. support rather than condemn, nourish rather than diminish, sustain rather than victimize.
pg 215 would healer? it's not so much naming the other's feeling, but being one- open to, and in, the spirit. It is not naming the other how they feel, but being one with the person through the spirit. Offering one's own personal experience in an intuitive way may more adequately define that presence. of course this can only be really effectual when such community is part of the person's life.
If a pastor only offers pat scriptural expressions to avoid sharing honest experience, without listening to the person's raw grief, this will surely avoid and blocks any significant spiritual expression. Religion then becomes a barrier to the present of God and grace.

pg 216 Is our faith a part of us, or is it simple something we have inherited and accepted blindly? What do we seek to find?

pg 219 "What is needed is an impossible situation where one has to renounce one's own will and one's own wit and do nothing but wait and trust to the impersonal power of growth and development. When you are up against a wall, be still and put down roots like a tree, until clarity comes from deeper sources to see over the wall.”

pg 221 Grief Therapy: Develop the ability to experience, express, and adjust to painful grief related changes. Find effective ways to cope with painful changes. establish a continuing relationship with the person who died. Stay healthy and keep functioning. re-establish relationships and understand that others may have difficulty empathizing with the grief they experience. Develop a health image of oneself and the world.

pg 223 You can chose to allow the spirit to move into your life, providing an opportunity to look at previously challenging and fearful situations in a new way, with the ultimate outcome of a new sense of self awareness. By choosing growth you are saying to yourself, and those in your life, that as painful as this transitional experience is, I am going to survive and be better for it/not waste it.

pg 224 Grief has an absolutely transformative power. When we lose someone, we lose what they gave us...Taking these function upon ourselves, or finding new ways to achieve what we have lost can be an enriching experience. Think of one special way that person had of being. What we most appreciated is what we yearn and grieve for-and by making that quality stronger in ourselves, we keep the spirit of our loved one alive. ??

pg 227 Solitude is as important as a group experience. Balance is important. In solitude comes the opportunity to slow down, to reflect, to gain a deeper inner vision of our responsibilities, our needs, and ourselves.

pg 233 affirmations
pg 238 gratitude journal description

pg 245 I will understand as I am able. The dark cocoon of acute grief and come to a place where the grief now lives with me, molded into my being. Surviving and rebuilding. This loss has given me life. through the loss of ___, I have learned how to live.
Grief colored glasses.... great responsibility, heavy weight, potentially a gift IF one can adjust them and learn how to focus in spite of them. Vision hasn't been corrected, nor had it been ruined, it had been changed. I saw a new depth in everything. The more i can see.
I no longer needed to know (beginning? a turn? a turning point? turning back? turning inside out? )
Grief is not about answers but learning to live with the questions.

May you see light where there was only darkness, hope where there seemed nothing but despair, may your fear be replaced with faith and insight, may you feel some victory in the defeat and a sense of the sacred web into which we are all woven. Most of all may you stay in tune with your capacity to love life even as you are engulfed by death.
Profile Image for Wendy Osborn.
106 reviews6 followers
September 22, 2020
This is certainly not a book you read for fun. This is a book you pick up when you are in the thick of it to help you figure out the flood of emotions you are going through when someone dies. For me, it was my best friend who was killed suddenly at age 42 just 3 months ago. We were besties since age 14, college roommates, maid of honors at each other’s weddings. We still got together once a month. We even had dinner plans the week she unexpectedly was killed and had gone on a 62 mile bike ride just 3 days before. She was like a sister. My kids felt like they had lost their aunt, because she knew and loved them so well. My husband felt like he lost a sister in law. I don’t know that people really understood that. We were just a “good friend” in their eyes. But we really were much more than that. It’s interesting that back in 2014, three of my grandparents and “my other dad”, Jim, passed away within 4 months of each other. That was such a very sad time, but this time seems so much heavier than those 4 months. The grief overwhelms me everyday. Maybe this is because I shared more with this person than anyone but my husband. We were kind of an extension of one another.

It was particularly helpful to have chapters about just your relationship with that person. Each person grieves for different reasons, because that person’s relationship was different with everyone. The book covered everything from spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, other family, or even being estranged. I have been having a hard time placing my feelings through my friend’s death and this book really made me aware of things that I was feeling but hadn’t been able to vocalize or even put my finger on.

This book covered a lot of topics and scenarios. Topics included suicides, sudden death without warning, prolonged death (cancer, coma, etc), death where bodies weren’t recovered (like 9/11). It also offered some unique solutions in sorting out frustration such as writing letters to the deceased, screaming in the wilderness, talking to that person, etc. The book suggested keeping journals, writing poetry, creating new traditions, finding religion, attending support groups, scrapbooking, and other creative outlets. More than anything it validated feelings of how it takes everyone different amount of time to get “back to normal” and you really need to throw those ideas out the window. Everyone heals at their own pace. Overall, I felt this book very useful and helpful. I loved that it didn’t disparage the thought of an afterlife or that we might have “supernatural” experiences with the deceased.
Profile Image for Kimberly Jobe.
25 reviews
February 14, 2022
I stopped reading after 72 pages. I’ve needed a lot of help to deal with the grief of losing my mom to cancer that took an abrupt turn from “getting better” to “terminal”, and I thought this book would finally be that help. That it’s give me some kind of idea of what to do. While I related to almost everything that was being said, I got really annoyed and tired of still being an outcast. Constantly they say “unlike those who lose someone to illness…” over and over and over, as if to say that I shouldn’t have to deal with it bc she suffered longer than someone who died suddenly. As if my trauma wasn’t as valid. As if my trauma didn’t apply or wasn’t real enough, or make me hurt enough for their book or time. And I’ve got this reaction from drs, friends, family, and now from strangers? I’ve never felt more alone than I do now and after reading that line for what feels like the hundredth time, I’m done. So yeah, I finished it, but I didn’t read it all and I’m not going to.
184 reviews2 followers
December 16, 2008
pretty good in terms of practical advice for both the bereaved and those who want to be supportive. specific sections for getting through the early days, the first year, holiday & such, and different types of losses (i.e., parent, child, suicide, multiple losses).some chapters could be more detailed--the one on helping children grieve, for instance, is kind of sparse, though it did give me some good information i hadn't known. overall i think it's a really good resource book, targeted to people whose loved ones died unexpectedly.
Profile Image for Karen.
53 reviews
November 12, 2014
This book has helped me through the most devastating time in my life with the loss of my son....I was so lost and in a fog for awhile till I started reading this book which has helped me through day by day along this new path of mine...I have bought it for a number of friends who have gone through similar loss and they also have told me how much they appreciated having this book given to them....Thanks to the authors for providing sound and great insight into dealing with loss and grief.
Profile Image for Sara.
243 reviews
June 8, 2020
Parts of this book were very helpful in that they helped me realize that thoughts and feelings I am experiencing are completely normal. The section on sibling loss was okay, not detailed enough. The authors essentially acknowledged that there aren’t a lot of resources for siblings and left it at that. A lot of the later chapters are on specific types of loss, resulting in skipped chapters. I’m glad I read this book. It helped a little, which is better then not at all.
Profile Image for Rosemary.
10 reviews
June 10, 2008
This book helped me during a period of grief.
I had lost my sister, niece, and nephew within a 2 1/2 month period and I was grieving. It went through each step of the
griving process and helped relieve some of
the loss I felt because I related to what
I was going thru at that point. It gave true
stories of people who had lost their love
ones in their life.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
17 reviews
February 1, 2021
This book is very specific to middle class white Americans. Also to Christians. Had little to no relevance for myself after loosing my mother. It assumed you came from a perfect life where the first bad thing that happened to you was this person's death. No diversity, inclusion or perspective for those outside the two authors bubbles.
7 reviews
July 10, 2020
My dad died. I went into this book hoping to feel better after finishing it. I don’t. But hopefully if I utilize some of the information in this book I will start to feel better. Grieving sucks, a lot. No easy way through it friends.
Profile Image for Darcy.
149 reviews6 followers
March 17, 2016
On March 4th 2016 my mother passed away. She was only 59.

Reading this book comforted me in my sorrow.
10 reviews2 followers
March 15, 2018
I liken this book to "the grief bible!" "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One" is a must read. Authors, Brook Noel and Dr. Pam Blair both experienced sudden loss of their loved ones. Noel lost her older brother, Caleb, who at twenty-seven died of an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Dr. Pam Blair lost her ex-husband and child's father to a brain aneurysm.

Through their shared experience with sudden loss, they vulnerably and candidly share their stories of coping with grief and provide insightful and practical guidance in managing the painful grief journey. Personal stories of others who have experienced sudden loss are also shared. Unlike most books that deal with a specific type of loss, this book covers a myriad of losses such as; the loss of a sibling, military combat loss, suicide, terrorist attack loss, parental, and loss of a child. They candidly share the distinctions of each loss; the various physical and psychological reactions people may have to grief; and its impact on surviving parents, siblings, and children. Very thorough.

I found this book to be extremely relevant. It validated my feelings of grief and allowed me to know that my experience coping with grief were not unique unto myself. Grief is not something you get over but something to work through. It's okay to be forever changed by grief and your existence be redefined as a result. I also appreciate the extensive and very helpful grief resources and support they provide in the appendix. It reinforces how important it is to reach out for support and not suffer alone - community is available to you.

If you have experienced the sudden loss of a loved one, or you know someone who is dealing with such a loss, I highly recommend that you bless them and yourself with a copy of this book. Unfortunately, grief and loss is inevitable. William Yeats once said, "Life is a long preparation for something that never happens." I challenge Yeats on this in that death and loss will eventually happen to us all, and it behooves all of us to be prepared. Consider purchasing a copy (copies) today.
169 reviews
May 16, 2021
Grief: something that is never discussed with us as kids, as adults we are not able to understand it and hence avoid discussing, but each one of us has to deal with it eventually. This book is written by two women who had to face the sudden death of their dear ones: one lost her ex-husband and the other lost her brother. However, the book covers grief for different relationships and how it could be different for a man and woman.
The narration is quite simple, however, not all parts of the book may be relevant to everyone, and the authors themselves suggest using this book as a reference from time to time rather than reading it cover-to-cover. Since this not an easy topic to read about and understand, it might get overwhelming, especially if we are going through grief, but it will surely help.
Some points from the book that seem quite on point:
-"Grieving is like a foreign land to most of us, a land where we find ourselves speaking and hearing an inner language we cannot comprehend."
-"There will never be an answer as to why the one you loved died—but, perhaps you can answer for yourself why they were in your life and how their life and death added something positive to your own journey."
-"Just as it takes time to reconstruct damaged buildings, it takes time to grieve and rebuild our lives."
-"I have since learned grief is not about answers; but learning to
live with the questions. Questions too big to be tucked away, too important be ignored, too complicated to be answered neatly and tidily."
The authors suggest writing letters or notes to the deceased as one of the many therapies to help us deal with our grief.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Katie.
126 reviews3 followers
August 7, 2022
This likely deserves 3 stars... but the topic is still so raw and fresh that I can't separate the book from the trauma of it being recommended to read as I "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" (from THE BOOK- not this one!) I'll admit that there were some insightful quotes/ideas that I even copied into the notes I'm keeping as my heart and head try to make sense of what will never make sense. There was also a LOT that seemed like just basic common sense and filler.

At the very end of this book, it says not to read the book cover to cover- which I only read after reading it cover to cover. I agree that if you used it as a topic resource vs plodding through the entire thing it could be a better guide. However, I got a library copy of the book and therefore it's impractical to keep long enough to read as suggested.

I'm reading a second book on grief concurrently. Thankfully a friend gifted me the copy of the second book on my nightstand so I'm taking smaller bites of it. I'll be interested in knowing which book is a better guide after finishing it.

For now- I'm grateful to get this off my nightstand and back to the library. I need lighter reading right now. A book about processing grief feels like an assignment and a heavy burden. I should have been wise enough to not saddle myself. But I'm a plodder and once saddled see a journey through. May that same determination serve me as I battle on.
1 review
February 18, 2023
I’ve learned a lot of helpful things from this book. I’ve learned that grieving is from losing someone/something. Not necessarily a death. I learned that kids grieve over time and not all at once like adults and that life events is usually when you feel grief. I relate to this since I never really grieved the relationship with my father I lost at 14 years old. When holidays would come around though or birthdays, I always had a lingering sadness or what could’ve been if I had a good relationship with my father.

I decided to read this book this month because I recently lost the relationship with my significant other and it felt like I was grieving all over again. This month is the 2nd year anniversary of my grandfather passing and it takes the breath out my lungs every time I think about it. He stepped up and played the father figure in my life and there’s not a day go by where I don’t miss him or wish I could call him. I was thrown in as the executor of his estate and everyone wanted something immediately, that I didn’t have time to grieve. As time passed, I just did my best to keep it to myself. This book helped me realize that keeping grief to yourself doesn’t make it disappear, it prolongs it and makes it come out at a future date.

This is book was very relatable and I recommend it to anyone struggling with grief and how to process such strong emotions. You’re not alone. Well wishes to my papa on his 2nd heavenly anniversary.
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36 reviews
June 29, 2022
“Treat yourself as if you are in intensive care, your brain has suffered a traumatic brain injury” in reference to the intensity of grief you feel when someone you love has passed

No doubt the topic of death is taboo in the US, but we will all meet with death sometime in our lives. I highly recommend this book to everyone, we’re not immortal, no one gets out alive, but understanding that our feelings are normal, gives a sense of calmness.

Never in my life would I have imagined reading a book about surviving the sudden death of a loved one. I’m so thankful my therapist recommended it, now I’m recommending it to you. Whether you just lost a loved one or it’s been decades. Both authors suddenly lost loved ones and hold your hand as you experience feelings you’ve never felt before. They help validate everything you’re feeling to be normal, they make you feel “comfortable” with other stories of grief, you know you’re not alone. The authors recommend different exercises to help you cope with grief, it works, whether you lost a parent, friend, sibling, loved one by suicide, loved one who served in the military , they cover it all.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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