Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning to Live Again

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Overview

There is no more stressful and traumatic experience than the death of a loved one. It can take many months or even years to adjust to life without that special person. But with the right guidance, readers can learn to lessen the pain and get on with their lives.

Solace provides soothing comfort and hope for those who are suffering. Bereavement expert Roberta Temes believes all of us experience and process grief in our own way. Here she eases readers through the stages of grief, ...

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Overview

There is no more stressful and traumatic experience than the death of a loved one. It can take many months or even years to adjust to life without that special person. But with the right guidance, readers can learn to lessen the pain and get on with their lives.

Solace provides soothing comfort and hope for those who are suffering. Bereavement expert Roberta Temes believes all of us experience and process grief in our own way. Here she eases readers through the stages of grief, helps them understand their emotions, and enables them to recognize when they may need to seek help. Temes also helps them consider the pros and cons of bereavement groups and counselors, and shows them how to use visualization to ease the healing process. The book is filled with comforting affirmations, quotations, and words of encouragement, as well as anecdotes drawn from the author’s bereavement practice so readers may learn from others who have struggled with loss. Dealing with loss is never easy, but this book provides a calming companion to help readers through their mourning and enable them to begin enjoying life again.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Many…are grieving loved ones, and the grief certainly contributes to their depression. A fantastic book I just came across is Solace.” -- Beyond Blue

“…thoughtfully crafted a self-help guide to grief that is easy to read and centered on readers who are now going through the process of grief…” -- Suite 101

” …offers psychological guidance, practical advice and reassurance to the bereaved…alerts the bereaved to genuine signs of when to worry and consider seeking professional help.” -- Director

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814414637
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Roberta Temes, Ph.D. (Westfield, NJ) is a noted psychologist who has taught classes in death, dying and bereavement at schools such as Downstate Medical School, CUNY, and University of Pennsylvania Continuing Education for Physicians. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Living with an Empty Chair: A Guide Through Grief.

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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

You are experiencing this death in your unique way. Your experience is

valid for you. Your response is right for you. Your way is the right way for

you, for now. Don’t let anyone suggest that you are mourning the wrong

way. You are your own expert.

Trends come and trends go. Philosophies are in vogue and out. Stop listening

to bereavement experts; they will change their minds and what is

considered abnormal today will be obligatory tomorrow.

For example, there was a time when experts claimed that you must talk

about the death, cry about the death, wail about the death. You were instructed

to go directly to a psychiatrist if you were unable to loudly express

your grief.

Today we know better. I am here to tell you that the death of a loved

one is not a mandatory trauma that prevents you from functioning. You can

handle this ordeal, painful as it is. You will cope with the death in the same

manner you have coped with other difficult situations in your past. If you

come from a family of stoic people, you will probably suffer quietly and then

get back to your regular routine. The absence of outward signs of distress

may be your typical coping style, an indication of your strong spiritual outlook,

or simply the way in which your family handles a crisis.

Here is what Elaine said soon after the death of her much-beloved husband,

to whom she was married for forty-two years:

“I allowed myself to cry and feel sorry for myself for a few days and

then I said, Enough. I looked forward and didn’t look back. It’s been

three years now since he died and I feel okay and my life is progressing.

Of course I think about Don, but only for a few minutes here

and there. And even then I think only about the good days, before he

got sick. I refuse to allow myself to think of those bad, dark days at

the end of his life.”

Somehow Elaine has been able to pull this off. Some of her relatives think

she is hard-hearted. Some of her friends think she is not telling the truth.

Elaine insists that she can actually stop herself from reminiscing. She says that

in her past, whenever there were troubles in her life, she had the ability to

block them out of her mind. And that method of coping works for her.

Suggestions from a Neighbor

Keep your loved one’s address book. My mother’s telephone/address book

is the greatest inheritance I have from her. I love seeing her handwriting and

reading the names of all the people she was involved with—everyone from

doctors to neighbors to the dressmaker. It’s been many years since she’s gone

and I still feel good whenever I look at that book.

Whatever works to make life bearable at this time is what’s right for you.

Steve told me that when his wife died, he threw himself into his work. His

extended family wondered why he didn’t visit them more often. They

wanted to feed him and to talk to him about his beloved wife. His friends

wondered why he didn’t show up for their weekly basketball games. His boss

wondered why he was working late into the night and on weekends, too.

Steve said, “I was afraid that if I stopped I would crack up. So I just kept

going. I rarely spoke to anyone. Finally, about five months after Madeline

passed away, I felt strong enough to talk about her, or at least to mention

her name.”

According to researchers, mourners who avoid confronting their loss

and do not speak about their feelings recover from their bereavement at the

same rate as the mourners who process and work through all their thoughts

and feelings.

Countless survivors of unspeakable tragedies have managed to endure

precisely because they refused to speak about their ordeals. Often, after

decades, these people finally felt emotionally protected from their painful

memories. And that is when they began to speak about the traumas they had

lived through—be it witnessing a murder, surviving a rape, escaping from

the Holocaust, or enduring a childhood of physical or sexual abuse. Sometimes,

silence gives strength.

Similarly, if your family is a family of wailers I suspect your mourning

cries will be heard by many, and then you, too, will return to your regular

routine. Loud volume is part of the bereavement process for you.

Whether you avoid talking about it or loudly shout it, or choose a style

of expression that is in-between, your grief exists. Your grieving style makes

no difference when it comes to your recovery. You will recover. Think about

the way you were before the death, before that final illness if there was one.

That is the state you will return to when you finish grieving. And I promise

you, you will finish. Of course, even when grieving is over, you will still have

strong sad feelings, but the day-to-day intensity will be diminished.

Please ignore the folks who insist that if only you tried harder or if only

you put your mind to it, you could feel better instantly. They mean well but

they are misguided. They are akin to the folks who insist that if you “think

positive” you can cure cancer. Positive thinking is wonderful. It can help

you cope with a situation and it may help you regard the situation in a new

way. It may even boost your immune system. However, it does not change

the situation. Sadly, your loved one is still gone.

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Author’s Note xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1:What Is Bereavement? 5

Initial Numbness 8

Disorganization 11

Your Emotions Now 12

Your Needs Now 19

Reorganization 20

Chapter 2:Cause for Concern? 25

When to Worry 25

Can You Die of a Broken Heart? 28

Strange Things Are Happening 29

Are You Having Visitation Dreams? 29

Are You Having Flashbulb Memories? 30

Are You Having Hallucinations? 30

Are You Forgetting About the Death? 31

Are You Crying? 32

Are You Suffering from Stress? 34

Chapter 3: Helping Yourself 39

Work Is Therapy 39

Socializing Is Therapy 40

Organizing Is Therapy 40

Taking Action Is Therapy 42

Food Is Therapy 43

Planning Is Therapy 44

Religion Is Therapy 44

Writing Is Therapy 45

Art Is Therapy 49

Learning Is Therapy 51

Reading Is Therapy 51

Sweet Moments 52

Chapter 4: Help from Others 55

Bereavement Groups 55

Disenfranchised Grief 58

Group Benefits 61

Bereavement Counselors—Pros and Cons 64

Repression 66

The Myth of Closure 67

Help for Military Widows 68

Your Funeral Director 69

Your Family and Friends 70

The Unhelpful 72

Financial Assistants 73

Finding Help on the Internet 74

Websites 76

Blogs 84

YouTube 86

Chapter 5: Rituals and Remembering 89

Funerals 89

Cremation 90

Green Burials 91

Eulogies 92

Mourning Customs 94

Monuments 96

Anniversary Days 99

Personal Rituals 100

Memorial Celebrations 101

Chapter 6: Helping Children Through Grief 103

Listening to Your Children 104

Speaking to Your Children 106

Understanding Your Children 109

Chapter 7: Novel Ways to Help Yourself 113

The Tapping Cure 113

Visualizations That Heal 117

Chapter 8:Your Future 121

Reinvention 123

Conclusion 126

Appendix 129

Bibliography by Chapter 139

Index 141

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Very helpful!

    This is a book that should be on every bookshelf as it is hard to find someone who has not suffered the loss of a loved one. I found chapter 4 (Help from Others) especially useful...I never thought of looking for websites on this topic.

    The part I liked best however was the format of her book. I enjoyed reading the contributions of people coming from all over the place. It gives the book a whole different perspective and makes you feel like you can really connect with someone who has gone through the same things.

    Although this is a serious topic, there is a bit of humor in it too. I have to admit that some of the examples of the humorous epitaphs made me laugh.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    a good book for someone who has lost a loved one.

    I purchased this book for a sister who lost a husband suddenly. I found myself reading it. There is a lot of good information in it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Comfort and Support for Those Who Grieve

    SOLACE hits just the right notes for those desirous of comfort, support, and answers in times of grief and loss. Author Roberta Temes provides readers with marvelously clear advice regarding what to expect when faced when suffering the loss of a loved one. Grief is a process that occurs in stages that each can last for months, typically starting with a sense of numbness, followed by disorganization, and reorganization. Dr. Temes assures readers that "You will get on with your life," although "It won't be the same life you had." 

    SOLACE provides those in grief with a sense that someone understands what they are going through, as well as ways to cope with situations, feelings and events they might never have encountered before. Temes helps to answer questions regarding to what extent something we are experiencing is normal (such as flashbulb memories involving crystal clear recollections of past events with our beloved), and provides suggestions as to how we can help ourselves through challenging times. 

    I love the no-nonsense suggestions Temes offers in SOLACE, as she encourages people to mourn in their own fashion, and points out resources the bereaved may not have known are available. I highly recommend SOLACE to anyone feeling lost in any of the stages of grief, as well as for those living and working with those who grieve.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 24, 2009

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    Posted October 26, 2009

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    Posted August 13, 2009

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