Saturday, December 15, 2012

Now More Than Ever: A Great Book on "How to Help a Grieving Friend"


I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book or who wouldn’t enjoy reading it.

Stephanie Grace Whitson
Format: Kindle Edition & Print
Publisher: Greenbrier Book Company (April 9, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, $3.99
Paperback $8.99

Wisdom inside a great love story…

I loved this book. I don’t know anyone who needs this book more than I do. In one way, I am fearless; I have no problem giving a speech to thousands of people. Yet, the prospect of talking to one grieving widow or widower can render me speechless and keep me awake at night. I don’t know what to say but I do know, all too well, what I don't want anyone to tell me:

Don't tell me that my loved one is in a better place. (Her best place is here besides me.)

Don't tell me that this is all according to God’s plan. (I'm not exactly happy with God at the moment.)

Don’t tell me that you know how I feel. (You'd have to be me to know how I feel and you're not me.)

While I know what I would not want to hear, I don’t know what to say or what to do to help a greiving person. Death is kept hidden in our society. It’s all so sanitary. Death is so behind the scenes. We are not practiced in death and dealing with the grieving. Some may think they know what they are doing but their lack of genuine knowledge often makes them capable of causing great pain with their well meaning clichés. If only they knew. If only they had read "How to Help a Greiving Friend".

What should we do and what should we say to the grieving?

Why hasn't someone, who is wise and knows what they are talking about, written a book to tell the rest of us?

Someone has. The book is here now. The book is, “How to Help a Grieving Friend”.

While this book is about grieving, it is also a great love story. Read about the author:

“In 1996, Stephanie lost her best friend to cancer three days after her own husband was diagnosed with an incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (he subsequently died in 2001). Later that same year, her mother and father died within six weeks of each other. Thus, 1996 marked the beginnings of the grief journey that has resulted in “How to Help a Grieving Friend.”
Everyone Grieves differently.
How can one book tell us what to do?

I can say that in reading “How to Help a Grieving Friend” I found nothing that I disagreed with and many things I wish I had known before now. I can think of only two other non-fiction books which impacted me with such emotional power: “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Man's Search for Meaning”.

“How to Help a Grieving Friend” didn’t trickle down from selected holy book passages. It’s not derived from anyone’s favorite pop psychologist. No, “How to Help a Grieving Friend,” sprang from the soil of suffering. Its price was high but its rewards are many and they run deep.

The only way to really show this is to provide a few quotes expressing the authors sentiments. If you agree with these quotes, this book is for you. I can’t imagine there being a better book on this topic.

I am making my way in a world where my primary connection to reality is gone. Don’t tell me I should ‘get over it” and ‘move on.’ As soon as I’m ready, I will. But your timetable is irrelevant to my reality.

Don’t speculate about the unknowable.
If your faith teaches that the dead don’t see us and don’t care about life on earth “in light of eternity,” keep it to yourself. Saying that is the same thing as saying he or she doesn’t love me anymore.

Leave the self-help books at home. Unless you can say, “This helped me when my ____ died,” just don’t say it.

Delete comfort clichés. I know every cloud has a sliver lining. Remind me another time. Hurt with me now.

Tell Me I’m Okay
Grief makes people a little crazy. Remind me that I shouldn’t be expected to behave ‘like my old’ self.’ It’s good to know I’m not going crazy – at least not permanently.

Accept My New Quirks.
If I’m reluctant, don’t push it. Grief changes people – permanently. I may never be ‘my old self’ again. But I just might be a better self if you’ll give me some time.

Don’t say, “You need to make new memories”
Right now, I need to remember the old ones.

Accept No for an answer.
It’s exhausting pretending to be happy in a group so I don’t depress everyone around me. If I say no, it doesn’t mean I don’t want your friendship. It just means I’m too tired to hang out right now.

Accept My Tears
Don’t’ be embarrassed when I cry. Tears are healing. They must be shed. Crying alone hurts worse.
What I’ve quoted above is only a tiny part of the wisdom in this book. Each chapter is divided into two parts: How it Feels and How to Help. There are twenty-five short chapters.

“How to Help a Grieving Friend” is the real thing. It’s a book that has been long needed. I can’t imagine an author better positioned to write this book. The author tells us it was painful to write. It took a very long time to complete. It is the product of much suffering tempered by a wisdom that transcends all the clichés that many of us never believed anyway. “How to Help a Grieving Friend” gives us a compass we can believe in.

I truly believe that when word gets out, “How to Help a Grieving Friend” will sell a million copies. Read it for yourself, then help spread the word. Rarely have I read a book that was more needed than this one.

I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from reading this book or who wouldn’t enjoy reading it.

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