- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleSurviving 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.