Thursday, September 30, 2010

Drawing for Free Book: The Five Ways We Grieve

The Five Ways We Grieve: Finding Your Personal Path to Healing after the Loss of a Loved One by Susan A. Berger, Trumpeter Books, 2009

I’ve probably read most of the grief books out there. This was the most inspiring, most comprehensive one I’ve found. So many books give you pat advice: It’s okay to cry; Rely on a support group; Give yourself time: Blah, blah, blah. This book is different.

Susan Berger acknowledges that grief is complex, that a loss means your life will never be the same, that grieving isn’t “over” in a year or two but may last a lifetime in some form or another. She identifies five ways in which people respond to loss.

1.Nomads, who have not resolved their grief;
2.Memorialists, who work to preserve the memory of the person who died;
3.Normalizers, who attempt to re-create a sense of family, community, or previous lifestyle;
4.Activists, who work at helping others facing similar diseases or issues that caused the death of the loved one;
5.Seekers, who create meaning through religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs.

For each of these identity types, she discusses strengths and weaknesses as well as ideas to consider.

Which type you become depends on your sense of your own mortality, your sense of time and orientation to time, your values and priorities, and your relationship to the world. She says, “I believe that, after experiencing the death of a loved one, our ideas and perceptions about these complex concepts change. As a result, we form a new identity, a revised sense of self, that contributes to how we see the world and live our lives.”

This book is deep, thought-provoking, and optimistic. It’s well worth reading, reflecting upon, and reading again.

Susan Berger's website: http//



abandonedsouls said... [Reply to comment]

the only book that has reached me is C.S. Lewis's book. but i trust your judgement on this. fingers crossed. thank you for telling us about this book.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

My name is Tricia, I am from Australia and I have come to your webpage via Suddenly A Widow. I had dinner with Susan Berger during my last trip to the states. The link you have is incorrect. Her webpage is The link you have takes one to a different Susan Berger who is not the Author of The Five Ways We Grieve.
Also have you read Lessons in Loss by Dr Robert Neimeyer? This is a great book.

thelmaz said... [Reply to comment]

Anonymous, Welcome, and thanks for the correction. I've redone the address. No, I haven't read Lessons in Loss, but I'll check it out on Amazon. Hope you'll visit again.

Go with the Flo said... [Reply to comment]

In five years grieving my husband's death, and 3 years grieving his imminent death from terminal cancer while loving and caring for him fulltime, I've probably touched on all five methods. This book might help me focus, reflect and clarify my current path. This would be invaluable.

thelmaz said... [Reply to comment]

Flo, thanks for stopping by. It's been 5 years for me, but I still found this book helpful. Hope you'll come back again.

Debbie said... [Reply to comment]

It sounds interesting. I've read a lot of grief books too and your blah, blah, blah comment made me giggle! Thanks for letting us know about the book!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I am 2 and a half years out, in a good relationship, but still finding it hard to accept his death some days. I have read several books on death and grief and would look forward to reading this one.

Gabby said... [Reply to comment]

This book sounds interesting & helpful. ^ ^

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Thelma - the bookcase is still holding up. The grief book sounds exactly like something I need. It will be 3 months on Oct. 8. Thanks for sharing.
Anna P

lynn said... [Reply to comment]

The book sounds very interesting. Susan Berger has broadened the study of grief. Thanks for bringing this book to our attention. It helped you and I hope it helps others.

Malissa Moss said... [Reply to comment]

I so appreciate your following my blog and glad to have crossed paths even under such circumstances as the ones we have found ourselves in - journey through the vast space called grief.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Dr. Berger has a Facebook fan page for her book ( Everybody should become a fan and follow her posts and blog comments; they are very insightful.


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