Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life : A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Happiness After the Death of a Loved One
by Jill Brooke
Former CNN correspondent Brooke--who lost her father at 16 and later an unborn child--has interviewed hundreds of people about their loss of loved ones for this journalistic compendium of ways to transform grief into healing. Though not as deep or authoritative as other books on grieving, this one covers more ground. Emphasizing the futility and harmfulness of shutting out grief, Brooke suggests ways to remember and memorialize the departed.
Women often find it easier to grieve than men, she notes, while children reprocess loss as they develop cognitively. Acknowledging that the path of grief is variable, she observes that only some friends turn out to be reliable sources of support; the Internet and journals can be useful resources, as are physical activity and therapy. Brooke advises those who are grieving to start a family genealogy, suggests strategies for honoring a deceased spouse in a new marriage, and proposes exercises for helping kids foster positive memories. For those facing the imminent death of someone with a terminal illness, she recommends a videotaping session, offering a list of questions for the subject and camera strategies ("film your subject at a 45-degree angle, or slightly sideways, for the best image"). She also reminds readers of the importance of writing a will and other estate planning, providing information and resources.
As Brooke points out in the introduction, the deaths of loved ones have positively transformed many people. She points to Eric Clapton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Susan Komen, among others. However, for too many, the death of someone close leaves a void in the heart that it seems nothing will ever fill. Rather than the "letting go," as many from Freud on through the years have prescribed, Brooke says it is important to confront grief, experience it fully and use it to transform oneself positively. Brooke stresses that it is important to integrate the memories of our loved ones into our daily lives. This is truly a practical book in that death is viewed as a normal part of life and dealing with it constructively should be a more common reaction. The book includes such particular issues as a child's grief, seeking professional help, and dealing with the deceased's possessions.
Marlene Chamberlain - Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.