This guide to grieving, based on debut author Augenthaler’s own experience of becoming a young widow, aims to give readers hope for their future.
The author’s 45-year-old husband, Jim, unexpectedly died in her arms of an aortic aneurysm, and her journey through grief inspired her to leave a career in the financial industry to become a psychotherapist. This guide is designed for readers who’ve lost loved ones, and it will particularly appeal to those who’ve lost a spouse. Augenthaler begins each chapter with an epigraph from a well-known poet, such as Rumi or Edna St. Vincent Millay, followed by a personal essay recounting a moment during her own grieving experience. She follows each memoir portion with an explanation of the healing process reflected in the anecdote. At one point, she tells of having unusual premonitions before Jim’s death, and she says that this is a common occurrence, especially in the case of sudden deaths. There are complete poems, including some by the author, interspersed throughout that also deal with mourning. An appendix for readers who want to help others includes essential advice on what to say to someone who’s just experienced loss, as well as how to offer assistance in a way that isn’t intrusive or inappropriate. Although grief-related memoirs are common, what sets this one apart is the inclusion of explanations for very specific aspects of the grieving process; for example, the author writes that it’s common to remember the moment that a loved one dies with crystal clarity, but also to forget many details from days or weeks immediately afterward. Some passages, such as an explanation of anxiety and panic attacks, lack citations, which would have been helpful for readers who might want to do further research.
A potential source of comfort for those who’ve recently lost a loved one.