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Posted February 28, 2009
More than 10 years ago, the author's 25-year-old daughter, Sally, took her own life. In their grief, Anderson and her husband read books by and about others who had lost children. "But merely reading other peoples' stories was not enough to lift us out of our sorrow," Anderson writes. From her own experience, she was able to pinpoint several specific needs of bereaved parents, including the belief that they are not alone; things will get better; and, most of all, they are loved. First Tears over the Loss of Your Child addresses these needs with poems and short reflections from a variety of contributors. Anderson introduces each chapter with personal comments related to the way our culture treats death, sources of spiritual strength, dealing with memories, and finding peace.
The chapter on grieving as a couple emphasizes the strain a marriage suffers when a child dies. Anderson encourages husbands and wives to recognize that one spouse's experience and expression of grief may differ from that of the other. These differences, she writes, can cause misunderstandings and feelings of abandonment. "The need to respect your spouse's feelings is one of the most important jobs that you will ever be asked to do." Sample quotations from the chapter follow. "The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands" (Alexandra Penney). A poem by McMinnville, TCF contains nine stanzas on the topic including "Mom cries and cannot get out of bed. Dad holds emotions and leaves much unsaid.Be strong when you can and weak when you must. Love each other with kindness and trust."