I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

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by Brook Noel
     
 

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Now there is a hand to hold...

Each year about eight million Americans suffer the death of someone close to them. Now for thse who face the challenges of sudden death, there is a hand to hold, written by two women who have experienced sudden loss. This updated edition of the best-selling bereavement classic will touch, comfort, uplift and console.

Overview

Now there is a hand to hold...

Each year about eight million Americans suffer the death of someone close to them. Now for thse who face the challenges of sudden death, there is a hand to hold, written by two women who have experienced sudden loss. This updated edition of the best-selling bereavement classic will touch, comfort, uplift and console. Authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. explore sudden death and offers a comforting hand to hold for those who are grieving the sudden death of a loved one.

Featured on ABC World News, Fox and Friends and many other shows, this book acts as a touchstone of sanity through difficult times. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye covers such difficult topics as the first few weeks, suicide, death of a child, children and grief, funerals and rituals, physical effects, homicide and depression. New material covers the unique circumstances of loss, men and women's grieving styles, religion and faith, myths and misunderstandings, I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye reflects the shifting face of grief.

These pages have offered solace to over eighty thousand people, ranging from seniors to teenagers and from the newly bereaved to those who lost a loved one years ago. Individuals engulfed by the immediate aftermath will find a special chapter covering the first few weeks.

Tapping their personal histories and drawing on numerous interviews, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D, explore unexpected death and its role in the cycle of life. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye provides survivors with a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.

PRAISE FOR I WASN'T READY TO SAY GOODBYE

"I highly recommend this book, not only to the bereaved, but to friends and counselors as well."
Helen Fitzgerald, author of The Grieving Child, The Mourning Handbook, and The Grieving Teen

"This book, by women who have done their homework on grief... can hold a hand and comfort a soul through grief 's wilderness. Oustanding references of where to see other help."
George C. Kandle, Pastoral Psychologist

"Finally, you have found a friend who can not only explain what has just occurred, but can take you by the hand and lead you to a place of healing and personal growth. Whether you are dealing with the loss of a family member, a close personal associate or a friend, this guide can help you survive and cope, but even more importantly... heal."
The Rebecca Review

"For those dealing with the loss of a loved one, or for those who want to help someone who is, this is a highly recommended read."
Midwest Book Review

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I highly recommend this book, not only to the bereaved, but to the friends and counselors as well." —Helen Fitzgerald, author of The Grieving Child

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402234330
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
66,437
File size:
2 MB

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter Two: Notes for the First Few Weeks


"And people answered the phone for me.

And people cooked for me.

And people understood for me.

My dearest friends cared for me

when I didn't care."


- Wendy Feiereisen


At this moment, in the direct aftermath of losing someone tragically, there is so little anyone can say. We cannot find the words to offer you peace - though we wish it were a gift we could give you. We promise you now that we will give you everything we can to help you make your way through this. We will help you wind a path through the haze, the confusion, and the pain that is gripping at your core.


For the first few weeks, do not concern yourself with what you will do, where you will go, or what lies in the future. For now, we ask that you simply follow the guidelines in this chapter. There will be time to cope, to understand, to process - later. Right now, you simply need to take care of you.


Treat Yourself as if You Were in Intensive Care

You are in the process of going through one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure. The challenges you have already faced, both physically and mentally, will leave you vulnerable, exhausted, and weak. It is imperative that you focus directly on yourself and on any dependents. Find ways to get your needs met first in these few weeks.


In the first week or so you will probably feel stunned and overwhelmed. You may also feel numb or hysterical. Your emotional system shuts down, providing temporary insulation from the full impact of your loss. You will go through the motions; it will look like you're coping well sometimes.


In her book, The Worst Loss, Barbara D. Rosof writes, "In shock you may be unable to move or speak coherently; people report that they cannot think. Shock responses may also be active and intense; you may have screamed, or run from the room, or physically attacked the bringer of the news. All of these behaviors are means of shutting down, or distancing yourself from a reality that you do not yet have a way to deal with. As you look back, your behavior may seem bizarre and totally out of character for you. Remember that your entire world had been knocked out from under you. You were in free fall, and your first task was to find any way to stop the fall."


When the funeral is over and your relatives and friends have gone home, the shock begins to wear off. It is important not to make any decisions that will have a lasting impact on your life (for example, sell the house, give away the person's belongings, etc.) while you are in shock.


Expect to Be Distracted

During the first few weeks, your mind will be filled with racing thoughts and unfamiliar emotions. Many people report having difficulty with simple tasks. Losing one's keys, forgetting where you are while driving, and sluggish reaction time are all commonly reported problems. With everything you are mentally and physically trying to process, it's normal to be distracted. Take special caution. Try to avoid driving and other activities where these symptoms may cause injury.


Have Someone Near You

If possible, choose a close friend to keep near you through the first week or two. Let this person help you make decisions, hear your fears or concerns, and be the shoulder for you to lean on. Give them a copy of this book. Later, as you move through the grieving process, it will be very helpful to have someone who has "been there" and understands thoroughly what you are talking about.


Accept the Help of Friends

Our energy is so depleted in the first few weeks after loss, it's hard to even ask for help. We have included a handout at the end of this chapter that can be photocopied freely and given to your inner circle of friends and relatives. You may be reluctant to do this, but please do. Even if we don't think we need people right now, we do indeed. Brook shares her story of friendship . . .



"When I lost my brother, my friend Sara was my anchor. I never asked her to come over that evening but as soon as she heard, she came (even though I told her there was nothing she could do). She simply sat next to me. Then she went upstairs and packed my bag for the upcoming week. She hugged me when I needed it and sat in the other room when I needed to be alone. To this day, her warm presence brings tears to my eyes. It was an extension of love and caring like few I have known."



If, like Brook, you are too grief-ridden to ask for help, simply show friends this book and let them read these few pages so they have an idea of what you need and how to support you. Friends want to help, but they rarely know how. The cycle of your grief will be more bearable when you hold the hand of a friend. Reach out. The following two entries summarize beautifully what those who face grief need from the people around them.


"I'll cry with you,"

she whispered

"until we run out of tears.

Even if it's forever.

We'll do it together."

There it was . . . a simple

promise of connection.

The loving alliance of

grief and hope that

blesses both our breaking

apart and our coming

together again.


Molly Fumia, Safe Passage


Needed: A strong, deep person wise enough to allow me to grieve in the depth of who I am, and strong enough to hear my pain without turning away.


I need someone who believes that the sun will rise again, but who does not fear my darkness. Someone who can point out the rocks in my way without making me a child by carrying me. Someone who can stand in thunder and watch the lightning and believe in a rainbow.

Fr. Joe Mahoney, Concerns of Police Survivors Newsletter

(This is excerpted from a beautiful book on grief titled Forever Remembered: Cherished messages of hope, love and comfort from courageous people who have lost a loved one. Compendium Publishing.)


Caring for Your Children

If you have small children, contact friends and relatives to help you care for them. Consider having someone stay with you for the specific task of caring for your children, since some children may be further traumatized by separation. In Chapter Nine we cover the specifics of children and grief. While it is human nature to want to help and care for others, we must understand at this trying time we will barely have enough energy to care for ourselves. Even if we want to help those around us, we won't have the resources. It's in our best interest to allow this time for our own grief.


Someone to Take Calls and Check Email

If the person who has died is of your immediate family, you will be receiving many phone calls, visitors, and cards. Have a friend come by to take messages, check emails, answer the door, and answer the phone. Most callers do not expect to speak directly with the family but simply wish to express their condolences. Have someone keep a notepad handy to record the names and messages of callers. Be forewarned, occasionally you may receive a strange call or a strange card.


Brook once took a message from a caller who offered condolences for the loss of her brother and then in a second breath requested a current picture of her daughter. Pam remembers a caller who said, "I'm sure George's death was easier for you, because you were divorced after all." These thoughts and comments are inappropriate and can be very hurtful, though the caller does not intend them to be. In our society, we just don't know how to handle grief and loss. People cope with grief differently - many people don't know how to cope at all. When you think of it, our world is geared toward gaining and acquiring; we have few lessons on how to handle loss. Occasionally people will ask a strange question or perhaps write a note in a card that seems a bit "out of place." Realize that this is not done to hurt you; these are just people who are inept at handling loss and the thought of loss.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"I highly recommend this book, not only to the bereaved, but to the friends and counselors as well." —-Helen Fitzgerald, author of The Grieving Child

Meet the Author

Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and pastoral counselor in private practice in Hawthorne, New York. Brook Noel is a CEO, author, speaker and mom. She has been featured in hundreds of shows and magazines, including ABC World News, CNN Headline News and Fox & Friends. She is the author of The Change Your Life Challenge and several other books.
Brook Noel is a CEO, author, speaker, and mom. She has been featured in hundreds of shows and magazines, including ABC World News, CNN Headline News, and Fox & Friends. She is the author of Good Morning, I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye, The Change Your Life Challenge, and other books. She lives in Wisconsin.

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I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was on the shelf when I was looking for a book to help me through the sudden loss of my fiancee. There were very few people in my life that could relate to this type of loss...as this was an untimely tragic death. I wanted something that could help me understand what I was feeling...he wasn't old, he wasn't sick...he was in a car accident. There were so many things that I would read in this book and finally was able to say to myself, "what I am feeling is normal!" I didn't know how to move forward in my life, since I myself never experienced a tragic death...up until this, everyone that I knew that passed away was very sick or elderly. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who is going through this type of loss...it IS different from losing someone that was sick or old. And anyone who knows anyone who recently experienced this, buy it for them! Even if they are not ready to read it right away, it will be there for them to poke through when they want validation of their feelings!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a outstanding book and a must book for anyone who has lost a loved one in a accident . It helps you to understand the roller coaster ride and how to deal with people and the everyday ordeal of living with this grief. It was really my life line and I have passed it on to several people who have lost loved ones . I lost my daughter and son in law in a horrible hellicpoter crash coming to me in Florida to bury my Mother all in twenty four hour period .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you for your words of wisdom and compassion. I would recommend this book to everyone, whether you are grieving or not. One day you may need it for yourself or someone close to you. This is a well written guidebook to carry anyone through the experience of losing a close loved one suddenly. It contains sections dealing with specific losses such as: a spouse or partner, a sibling, suicide, mass death (such as terrorism), fallen heroes, and others. Each section is thoughtful and helpful. It also has a wonderful portion of the book carrying the reader step by step through the immediate aftermath of sudden death. The back couple chapters are dealing with additional resources and activities to help with grief work. This book helps to not feel like your going crazy and to let it come out how you need it to. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has suddenly lost a loved one, it lets you know your not alone and to feel alright about how you feel at any particular time. Grief is a very individual experience that nobody except the person inside your head will ever understand. These authors have written a resource to help you find your way through that deep, dark forest into the light again.      
beachlvr0804 More than 1 year ago
I lost both of my parents within 8 days of each other (July/August 2008)and I still struggle every day with the emptiness and the "why" of it all. My Mother was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor and was gone within 6 weeks. Eight days prior to her death we lost my Father to a massive heart attack sitting on the side of the road, alone. The last few months have been a blur......the why's have gone unanswered, the emptiness unfilled. My siblings and I struggle daily trying to understand why God would allow this to happen to our family. This book has answered some questions and offered hope. Only time can heal. I know that we will never be the same as a family, but this has definitely been the best read (out of many books I have bought seeking answers) and I would highly recommend it to anyone going through losing a loved one.
KGF41 More than 1 year ago
This book was given to me by my daughter, when my son accidently drowned in Fla in July 2008. He was 41 and the love of my life. This book has helped me get thru my worst days. I still pick it up and read certain chapters when I am having a bad time. I would highly recommend this book to others that have lost a loved one.
Liz33 More than 1 year ago
excellant accompaniment when one is on this journey loss . very comprehensive and helpful in that it addresses so much. a great source of support on this journey where no one reallly knows what to say or so many do not have a clue what it is like to go thru this.
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tn91 More than 1 year ago
I received a bunch of books from people after I lost my husband in a car accident leaving me to care for my 5yr old son and 16month old daughter. It was a horrible time and no one has any clue what you are going through unless they have lost someone tragically, especially someone from your household. Life changes so fast and so many unanswered questions. I purchased this book for myself and it was the ONLY book that i read, all the others i lost interest after first couple pages, this book seemed like someone actually understood what i was going through and made me feel not so alone in a world where everyone else went back to their "normal life" that i did not have anymore. I have given this book to so many people since then when they've lost someone and knowing what it did for me and still does even after 3 1/2 years i will keep passing it on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Doug_DePew More than 1 year ago
I've struggled for months with what appeared to be a mid-life crisis. In researching how to get through it, I tracked the source down to delayed grief. I lost my brother in 1995 and my dad in 2000 in very similar auto accidents. I don't think I ever grieved them properly and it surfaced in my forties. This book is one of the ones I found to address my particular situation. This is a well written guidebook to carry anyone through the experience of losing a close loved one suddenly. It contains sections dealing with specific losses such as: a spouse or partner, a sibling, suicide, mass death (such as terrorism), fallen heroes, and others. Each section is thoughtful and helpful. It also has a wonderful portion of the book carrying the reader step by step through the immediate aftermath of sudden death. The back couple chapters are dealing with additional resources and activities to help with grief work. The authors of this book have both dealt with sudden death themselves. Part of what I found most useful was reading the sections they wrote about their personal situations. I'm still working on the back exercises. I think that will take a while. I wish I'd had this book in 1995 when I lost my brother. Even though my grief was delayed by decades, I am still finding it helpful. Grief is a very individual experience that nobody except the person inside your head will ever understand. These authors have written a resource to help you find your way through that deep, dark forest into the light again. I recommend it to anyone who's experienced a sudden death. I'll keep my copy when I'm finished to hand on to the first person I know who needs it. It helps
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Nana4718 More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book. It help me thru the roaler coaster I'm on. My sister sent it to me after I lost my 28 yr old daughter Irene. Deputy Rios was on her way to the airport for work duty when she had her accident in 08/13/2008. It helps you deal with the steps of losing a loved one from one day to the next. Unfortunately, I'm about to buy the same book to give to a dear freind who just lost her sister thru an accident.
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yz More than 1 year ago
this book was very helpful
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