Christian-based self-help for parents coping with the death of a child.
Sawyers-Kurz (50 Ways to Cope with the Loss of Your Child, 2009, etc.) speaks from experience when asserting that the loss of a child is the most “horrible ordeal a parent can suffer”: Her teenage daughter was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1982. In her introductory and closing chapters, Sawyers-Kurz relates the events of the tragedy and conveys the depth of her grief, even 32 years later, with sincerity and compassion. She also describes stumbling upon the religious writings of C.S. Lewis and, through his influence, accepting “Christ as my Lord and Savior” shortly after her daughter’s death. In the main chapters, Sawyers-Kurz shifts from personal narrative to matter-of-fact guidebook providing parents with “appropriate ways for coping with grief.” Drawing roughly (and not explicitly) on Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief, Sawyers-Kurz offers advice on denial, emotional suffering, isolation, depression, panic, guilt, anger, physical aspects of grief and various forms of acceptance. This is vast terrain to cover in a 133-page book—perhaps too vast. The tone in these chapters tends to be formal, often stilted, and the advice leans toward being general: “A way to combat the melancholy nature of memories is to make a positive experience out of your recollections”; “Your health can be adversely affected if you neglect to have dental and physical check-ups when needed.” Sawyers-Kurz seems more at ease when discussing faith. Indeed, she concludes each chapter by reiterating the reprieve she found in God and suggesting that other parents might find the same. At times, these elements read as tangential, slipped in so as not to override nonreligious advice in the book or appear too preachy. But Christianity is clearly the author’s passion, and she raises, albeit briefly, important points about a possible crisis and renewal of faith following the death of a loved one. These glimpses into more weighty subject matter—as well as Sawyers-Kurz’s skill with memoir—suggest the book might work best as a personal exploration of faith and grieving.
Spread too thin to achieve its goal.