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

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

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by Roberta Temes
     
 

How do you grieve the loss of a loved one? Is it best to seek the comfort of others or go it alone? Stay stoically strong or let it out? Does it take weeks, months, years? Actually, says Dr. Roberta Temes, we all experience and process grief in our own unique way.

No one can tell you exactly how you’ll feel or what to do, but with Solace as your

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Overview

How do you grieve the loss of a loved one? Is it best to seek the comfort of others or go it alone? Stay stoically strong or let it out? Does it take weeks, months, years? Actually, says Dr. Roberta Temes, we all experience and process grief in our own unique way.

No one can tell you exactly how you’ll feel or what to do, but with Solace as your guide, you’ll understand the stages of your grief and your changing and sometimes conflicting emotions. Dr. Temes will help you consider the pros and cons of bereavement groups, counselors, and other sources of help, and how to use visualization and other techniques to ease your mind and heart—even on your worst days.

Enriched with personal stories drawn from the author’s bereavement practice, Solace also provides inspiring quotes and affirmations to lift you through each day—until the healing process takes hold and you begin once again to find purpose and joy in life.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR SOLACE. . .

Solace normalizes the grieving process and helps readers to understand and accept, rather than fear, what they are experiencing after the death of a loved one. Dr. Temes provides sound psychological information in a soothing and helpful manner that eases the mourn­ing period and promises the light at the end of the tunnel for the reader. I highly recommend Solace to anyone who has just suffered a loss.” — Dorothy W. Cantor, Psy.D., former President, American Psychological Association

Solace offers hope for recovery. Dr. Temes writes with such warmth, kindness, and comfort. You will not only embrace [her] advice, you will also love hearing the voices of many men and women who have experienced a significant loss. Dr. Temes talks to you like a good friend, so you will not feel alone when Solace is beside you.” — Ingrid Schweiger (DrIngrid.com), psychologist

“Finally, a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to patients who have lost a loved one. Solace gives compassionate and practical advice to the bereaved as well as specific actions to help cope with loss.” — Laurence Jay Deutsch, MD

“[a] must-read for the bereaved. . . . Written with Dr. Temes’s characteristic compassion, Solace takes the reader through the entire bereavement process in vivid detail. I will hand this book to my patients.” — Renee Garfinkel, clinical psychologist

Roberta Temes, Ph.D., is a noted psychotherapist who has taught classes in death, dying, and bereavement at schools such as Downstate Medical School and CUNY. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Living with an Empty Chair: A Guide Through Grief and The Tapping Cure. She lives in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

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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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814414637
Publisher:
AMACOM Books
Publication date:
07/28/2009
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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