THE ULTIMATE LOSS: Coping with the Death of a Child by Joan Bordow

THE ULTIMATE LOSS: Coping with the Death of a Child

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Comfort, plus a few useful attitudinal tips, from a woman who lost her own daughter at birth some years ago. The book is mainly composed of parental accounts of tragedies that claimed a child's life--car accidents, brain tumors, and other disasters--which Bordow uses to underscore her points. Foremost: losses can, when allowed to, form opportunities for personal growth and deeper relationships among the survivors. (The difficulties, however, are not minimized; 75 percent of all marriages, we're told, suffer serious problems within a year after a child's death.) Emphasis is placed on open communication--between husband and wife, between parents and surviving children--as an essential defusing mechanism: all involved are bound to experience the death differently, and that's all right as long as each understands the others' (perhaps diametrically opposed) grief reaction. Support groups--such as Shanti and the Society of Compassionate Friends--are listed with addresses, and encouraged. (Eventually these will help the survivors give back some of what they gained in support.) Bordow, who evinces a spiritualist yearning, also quotes from short interviews with a swami, a Franciscan friar, and a rabbi/Essalen facilitator. All in all, this may offer some solace and a general orientation toward the mechanics of the mourning process; for more substance, however, see Harriet Sarnoff Schiff's The Bereaved Parent (1977), and for a more reflective treatment, pediatrician Frances Sharkey's recent A Parting Gift (p. 124).

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1982
Publisher: Beaufort--dist. by Scribners