The Loss That Is Lost Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father

Overview

The death of a parent before a child reaches adulthood is a cataclysmic event that forever scars that child. No assumption, no expectation, no belief can remain the same. Yet millions of children grow to adulthood on a foundation that is both marred and shaped by such an early loss. The Loss That Is Forever, written by esteemed clinical psychologist Maxine Harris, provides a thoughtful and moving framework for understanding the impact that early loss has on every aspect of adult growth and development. For anyone...
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1995-09-01 Hardcover New New Item. Item delivered via UPS in 7-9 business days. Tracking available by request Ships from US. Please allow 1-3 weeks for delivery outside US.

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Overview

The death of a parent before a child reaches adulthood is a cataclysmic event that forever scars that child. No assumption, no expectation, no belief can remain the same. Yet millions of children grow to adulthood on a foundation that is both marred and shaped by such an early loss. The Loss That Is Forever, written by esteemed clinical psychologist Maxine Harris, provides a thoughtful and moving framework for understanding the impact that early loss has on every aspect of adult growth and development. For anyone who has survived the early loss of a parent, as well as for those with a spouse, friend, or lover who has lost a parent in childhood, this powerful book explores all aspects of this life-defining event. An important guide to discovery and understanding, The Loss That Is Forever sheds new light on the overwhelming impact of a parent's early death - and shows how the human spirit can survive and even master the ultimate loss.

In the bestselling tradition of Motherless Daughters, this groundbreaking work sheds new light on the powerful effect of a parent's early death, revealing the capacity of the human spirit to survive and even master overwhelming loss. For anyone who has survived the early loss of a parent, this moving and powerful book is an important guide to discovery and understanding.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
More than 60 men and women who lost a parent at an early age contributed their stories to this investigation of an important life event by a practicing psychotherapist. Their stories-including accounts of some famous figures: C.S. Lewis, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt-shed light on a legacy of loss the author views as ``the psychological Great Divide, separating the world into a permanent `before and after.'" Whatever form the impact of this loss takes in later adult life-it can be rage, driving ambition, fear of intimacy-these life stories amply demonstrate the indelible character of the mark left on the child. These are also stories of recovery, of people who became more than survivors, testifying to the repair of damage from childhood trauma. This enlightening presentation opens up a seldom discussed topic. (Sept.)
Booknews
Harris (codirector, Community Connections mental health agency) provides a framework for understanding the impact of early loss of a parent on every aspect of adult development, drawing on interviews and the writings of figures such as Virginia Woolf, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Darwin to illustrate how themes of loss and survival weave through the lives of those who have lost a parent in childhood. She discusses the relationship with the surviving parent, intimate relationships, and perspectives on one's own mortality. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525938699
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.69 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 The Language of Loss 3
Absolute Catastrophe 6
Total Discontinuity 10
Terrifying Insecurity 14
Profound Emptiness 15
Loss versus Absence 17
Ch. 2 The Event That Shatters Childhood 20
Sudden Death/The World Is a Safe and Secure Place 22
Slow Death/My Parents Are Strong and Powerful 26
Suicide/Of Course My Parents Love Me 29
Denial/I Can Believe What I See, Can't I? 32
A Triad of Unacceptable Feelings 37
Ch. 3 The Surviving Parent 49
The Incapacitated Parent 51
The Negligent Parent 58
The Abusive Parent 64
The Parent Who Looks to a Child for Friendship and Love 69
The Competent Parent 77
Ch. 4 Personal Mythologies 82
The Lost Parent 84
Myths about the Self 90
Fantasies about the Relationships That Might Have Been 96
Idiosyncratic Myths 103
Ch. 5 Creating the Self 109
Exhilarated 115
Determined 118
Resigned 124
Overwhelmed and Panicked 128
Out of Control 136
Ch. 6 Building Relationships: The Dance of Love and Loss 140
Living with the Tension Between Love and Loss 143
Seeing Only Love 151
Seeing Only Loss 159
Ch. 7 Parenting 169
Childless by Choice 170
Parenting without a Model 173
A Confused Parent/Child Drama 178
Applying Lessons Learned in the Past 185
Parenting and Personal Repair 187
Ch. 8 Death, Mortality, and Vitality 190
The Fear of Death 192
Mortality: An Early Death 197
Attacks on Vitality 201
Death Is Nothing to Fear 212
Ch. 9 Acts of Repair 219
Modest Repair/Delayed Mourning 220
Mastery via Creativity and Work 223
Re-creating the Self 229
Ch. 10 Unwanted Legacies 243
Varieties of Numbing 245
Depression and Anxiety 256
Destructive Metaphors 262
Ch. 11 Staying in Touch 270
Pictures 273
Objects 275
Places 276
Culturally Sanctioned Rituals 279
Guardian Angels 284
Ch. 12 Owning One's Destiny 289
Reclaiming One's Destiny 291
The Tension between Personal Control and Fate 292
Survivor Pride 296
Liking One's Life 298
Personal Will 302
Epilogue 306
Endnotes 309
References 322
Index 333
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