Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss

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"Grieving is a natural process. It is through our losses that we can transform ourselves and find new meaning to life."-James Van Praagh, New York Times bestselling author of Talking to Heaven and Reaching to Heaven

James Van Praagh's first two books, both New York Times bestsellers, have been a powerful healing force for millions of readers. Using his talents as a medium, Van Praagh has not only helped the bereaved reach their lost loved ones...
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"Grieving is a natural process. It is through our losses that we can transform ourselves and find new meaning to life."-James Van Praagh, New York Times bestselling author of Talking to Heaven and Reaching to Heaven

James Van Praagh's first two books, both New York Times bestsellers, have been a powerful healing force for millions of readers. Using his talents as a medium, Van Praagh has not only helped the bereaved reach their lost loved ones and find peace but he has also illuminated the mysteries of death, the afterlife, and rebirth. His new book, Healing Grief, will once again draw from his compelling and uplifting readings, but with a new and special purpose-to show what the spirit world can teach us about the grieving process itself.

While grief is clearly a natural response to death, it should also properly accompany life's other difficult passages, including times of transition, the loss of a relationship, or even the loss of a pet. Healing Grief begins with chapters that each examine a specific kind of loss-death of a parent, a spouse, or a child; the end of a marriage; or the onset of a troubling life change, such as unemployment or grave illness, and considers the particular bereavement issues it may engender. The book also offers advice on explaining death to children; on distinguishing healthy from destructive grief; and on harnessing the powers of healing through special exercises, meditation, and affirmations. Healing Grief should be, in Van Praagh's words, "a manual for grieving well," offering an inspiring new perspective on grief from a world-renowned medium who has become an expert at helping people cope with unresolvable sorrow.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Surviving Loss

James Van Praagh is a medium who has found world fame by demonstrating his ability to connect and communicate with the spiritual world. He provides his services both publicly and in private and counts several famous names among his clients. His first two books dealing with the afterlife, Talking to Heaven and Reaching to Heaven, both became New York Times bestsellers, and his communications and insights into the afterlife have been a source of great solace to many. Now he shares some of that insight, along with several stories about people he has met in both realms -- the living and the dead -- in his newest book, Healing Grief.

Death remains one of the last great taboos in our society, a subject that is rarely discussed and poorly understood. This grand-scale denial leaves those who face it ill-prepared to deal with the inevitable grief that follows. Raw grief is not an intellectual process, but rather a highly emotional one that often defies any rational explanations or expectations. Yet this confusing cascade of emotions is often endured in a lonely void without support or guidance. With Healing Grief, Van Praagh hopes to fill some of that void.

While Van Praagh tackles issues surrounding losses of several kinds, he focuses most of his attention on loss due to death, using a three-pronged approach. First, he describes the various stages of grief, describing and exploring the emotional ups and downs, the physical symptoms, and the thought processes that accompany each one. He dedicates a section to each type of death -- that of a spouse, sibling, or friend, and that of a child losing a parent or a parent losing a child -- and also delves into many different means of death, including abortion, suicide, murder, accidents, and illness. This somewhat individualized approach allows Van Praagh to provide guidance for grieving issues in general as well as address some of the thoughts and emotions unique to certain situations. At the end of the sections, Van Praagh provides a list of healing guidelines -- activities and advice for wading through the treacherous waters of the grieving process and emerging healthy and whole on the other side.

The second aspect of Van Praagh's approach is certainly intriguing, though it's likely also to be the most controversial. He shares the experiences of others who have faced grief and have been in touch with their lost loved ones through Van Praagh's ability to bridge the physical world and the spiritual realm. Whether you choose to believe in these abilities or not, the stories are utterly fascinating, and the incredible details Van Praagh claims to have discerned during these readings (some of which were done publicly) certainly lend them a strong ring of truth.

For the final part of Van Praagh's plan for healing after loss, there are a series of meditations and exercises designed to improve coping abilities and help readers come to grips with the emotional onslaught of grief. There is also a Q&A section that addresses many queries, fears, and commonly held beliefs. These range from the more mundane and expected, such as whether or not death is painful or how souls reincarnate, to questions that are far more difficult, such as whether or not evil exists and the ultimate toughie: Why?

Van Praagh does dedicate time to other types of loss, all of which come with their own grieving processes. He looks at the loss of a pet, the loss of a home (whether through disaster or a simple move), the loss of a job, and the loss of a limb. He discusses the emotional angst of divorce and the trauma of facing debilitating, or even terminal, disease. And in our youth-worshiping society, no book on loss would be complete without a section dedicated to aging. Van Praagh examines the specific issues inherent to each type of loss, following up with healing guidelines and words of encouragement.

Loss is inevitable and as much a part of our lives as eating and breathing. While no two people will have the same exact grieving experience, Van Praagh's guidelines are general enough to provide healing and comfort to anyone. And for those who believe in the afterlife and Van Praagh's ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead, his stories of these conversations and contacts will likely provide a great deal of heartening comfort.

—Beth Amos

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402803895
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/24/2000
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 2 cassettes

Meet the Author

James Van Praagh
James Van Praagh

James Van Praagh is the New York Times bestselling author of Talking to Heaven and Reaching to Heaven. Currently, Van Praagh is the co-creator and co-executive producer of the primetime series Ghost Whisperer, the #1 CBS drama starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Van Praagh is developing additional projects for Paramount and guest hosts the entertainment news shows Entertainment Tonight and The Insider.

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Read an Excerpt

On Grieving Well

With my previous books, Talking to Heaven and Reaching to Heaven, I wrote of my experiences as a medium in an effort to help people alleviate their fears of death and dying and to share with them the knowledge that life never ends. My life's work has been to present this information in the hope that it will reach the eyes and ears of those who are open to philosophies that are different from what our society and structured religion has had to offer. Most of us weren't raised with satisfactory explanations of death and the after-life, and consequently, we were never given the tools needed to cope with the prospect of a dying loved one and the grief that follows. I hope I achieved the first goal in my previous books, and the goal of coping successfully with loss is the subject of my new book.

Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss is the natural evolution of its predecessors. Whereas those books presented information about the continuation of life after the physical body "dies," the new book is more of a tool to help readers not only deal with the grief associated with the loss of a loved one, but also with the loss of other things such as a relationship, job, house, youth, health, and even pets. I do not profess to be an expert in the field of psychology, but I find that my years of work contacting the spirit realms along with my research into grief therapy has given me a unique perspective on this topic.

I have written Healing Grief as a manual to assist the reader in recognizing what loss is and how to go through the grieving process in a healthy and self-empowering manner. Combining "traditional" grief therapy with insights I have acquired from personal readings and research with new-age thought, I hope to teach that loss is not something to surrender to, but something to experience and use as a tool to transform ourselves and find new meaning to life. I have included stories written by clients who tell of the profound change in their being that came from the understanding that the loss they endured was meant not to overcome them, but to teach them, to inspire them, and to send them on a path that ultimately made their lives richer. Yet even more personal than these stories, I have written about the grief in my own life: my divorce, the death of my mother and grandmother, and the aging of my father.

Even though we are intrinsically spirit, we are still human, and the grieving process is only natural. We must all go through it. But with the right tools and support, it can be easier and bring more insight and direction. To let your grief overpower and consume you is to grieve poorly. To go through the process and come out of it with the inspiration to help others or transform your life for the better is to grieve well. If I can help just one person grieve well with this book, then my satisfaction would be immeasurable.

--James Van Praagh

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April 2000

James Van Praagh's gifts of clairvoyance have made him into an internationally recognized and respected spiritual medium. In Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss, Van Praagh identifies the various losses we suffer every day and demonstrates how grieving can provide us with special opportunities for spiritual growth. Read on to find out how this magical book can transform your life, in an exclusive essay by James Van Praagh.

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