Grieving – A Beginners Guide by Jerusha Hull McCormack
When i was widowed in 2006 my sister came across this book in the library. The author had been a Senior Lecturer in University College Dublin, already a published author and widowed suddenly mid-life. The book chronicles her grief journey for the benefit of others. Her opening line “Chances are if you are reading this, your heart is broken” invites the reader to follow her voyage of discovery from a similar beginning.
Very early in the book Jerusha states “we are all amateurs at grief”. She describes becoming marginalized, feelings of loneliness, fear, sadness, chaos and the loss of self, but she also shares the journey of self discovery, of meaningful new values and all the positive things that are born of grieving. “Grief expressed openly and honestly can be one of the most liberating experiences of life”.
From the initial shocking numbness, into the acute pain she logs ways to sustain well being. She advises “trust that the pain will be bearable”. She states grief does not have a script, it is not one emotion but many. It also has the capacity to ambush you at any time. Attended to in a positive manner it “does not impoverish; it enriches” Jerusha boldly tackles the “secondhand lines” directed at the grief stricken by the well meaning but uninformed and dismantles them encouraging the bereft to do the same.
Loneliness and Grief
The book is honest, it does not hide the awfulness of grief. “Social isolation is inevitable” and “one of the most valuable things the grieving can do is to learn to live with a certain degree of loneliness. It is painful”. Throughout the book there are poems and quotations, words of wisdom and encouragement. It is the kind of book to return to again and again, with every reading its guidance grows. It is a thoughtfull book to pass on to a friend experiencing grief, a book full of feeling and solace, a book to take on a similar journey.
This article was written by guest writer and forum member Bernie.