WHAT HELPED ME WHEN MY LOVED ONE DIED by Earl A.--Ed. Grollman

WHAT HELPED ME WHEN MY LOVED ONE DIED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

If ""what helped me"" could be put into a phrase coveting most of the 18 reminiscences here, it would be group support: many of the stories come from founders or presidents of such support groups as Gold Star Mothers, The Society of Compassionate Friends (for bereaved parents), and the National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation. Even those who do not belong to a specific organization tend to credit the influence of a particular friend--often only an acquaintance before the tragedy--for eventual recovery. Other themes recur quietly: the need to know that the extremes of grief--depression, feeling crazy--are ""normal""; the impulse to release the pain in constructive ways: writing, nursing, pastoral counseling. Roughly half the space is devoted to the loss of a child; the rest to the death of a spouse, of parents, of a professional charge. (A principal tells how an eighth-grader's dying bout with leukemia affected the child, his parents, his school buddies, and the principal himself.) Editor Grollman does begin the effort with ten guidelines distilled from the entries: express your emotions, turn to friends, etc. And, to his credit, there is very little of the sensational here: in some instances, indeed, the griever's privacy is so much preserved that it is difficult to understand the details of the tragedy sufficiently to empathize. But as a general introduction to reintegrating one's life after a loss, this has some sound insights to offer.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1981
Publisher: Beacon