NEW BOOK SUGGESTION TO HELP WITH THE DAILY UPS AND DOWNS OF GRIEF
By Jill S. Cohen, NYC family grief counselor
I was recently told about a Facebook page which has over 2.4 MILLION “likes” from all around the world. Naturally, I had to see for myself why so many people were drawn to Jan Warner’s page. Now I see why. I’ll let you explore this page for yourself. Meanwhile, reminding you in today’s blog to also visit my Facebook page Jill Cohen – nyc grief counselor and “like” it and “follow it”.
Besides Jan Warner’s popular facebook page, I want to share with you her recent book which could be interesting and useful for you. It’s called Grief Day by Day, (available on amazon.com) and it offers supportive readings and exercises to help the reader move through life after loss, one day at a time. Since grief changes daily, she offers reflections and practices that address the day-to-day feelings that go along with the ever-changing grief process.
In her book, Ms. Warner uses her extensive experience (after the death of her husband a decade ago) with the experiences of the two million followers on her Facebook page to offer hope, in practical ways.
The book is made up of three parts:
365 Daily Reflections that include quotes, meditations, and other musings on grief
Weekly Themes that capture common feelings and experiences such as loneliness; things left unsaid; unhealthy coping mechanisms; guilt; intimacy
52 Healing Exercises that help you process your feelings at the end of each week and develop skills for coping with grief as it arises.
As the author puts it,
“There is no right way to grieve and there is no right way to use this book. Whether you follow it page by page or select relevant parts at various times, it’s more important to remember why you are using it. And that’s because you have CHOSEN to honor your experience, to make a home for your grief, and to find a new way of living on the bridge between loss and life.”
I asked Jan Warner a few questions, and am sharing her answers here with you.
Q: What do you think is the biggest value this book can bring to the reader?
A: Choice. The book is structured so that it has a topic for each week of the year and each topic includes what I call a “grief whisperer” exercise as well as quotes and commentary. You can read the book from beginning to end, or look for what section you need at the time.
Q: You say that there is no solution for grief. What do you mean by that?
A: The only genuine cure for grief is the impossible – for our loved ones to come back to life. I find that most people, if they deeply love someone who died and are honest about it, grieve for the rest of their life. We have to learn to grieve and still live a full life. What people don’t understand is that the trauma of grief doesn’t happen in a specific point in time. It happens every day when you wake up and have to live another day without someone who was so central to your life. My husband used to say, “We only have moments.” It is like a sunflower. The center is the dark but the petals are bright. Each happy and productive moment is another petal added to my sunflower. If I live my life to make my husband’s life matter more than his death, if I reclaim my memories to make them joyous instead of painful, then I can let my grief rest in the love and that love can inspire me.
Q: How long did it take for you to reintegrate into life with vigor and interest again after your husband died?
A: The first six months were very chaotic and I didn’t do much except stay in bed and watch dvds. I thought my husband would come get me. When he didn’t, I considered suicide. I thought I should go to him. But I couldn’t give the grief I had to those who love me. I bought a plaque that said, “Have an adequate day.” And I laughed, because I knew I could have an “adequate day.” But, “Have a good day” sounded like too much pressure.
Q: Is there a piece of advice that you can give to someone who is just beginning their grief process and healing journey?
A: Take tender care of yourself. Everything you are feeling is normal. You are not crazy; you are grieving. The depth of your grief measures the height of your love. Always remember to spend time resting in love. If you can, show you where life is happening in case you accidentally have a good time. Help others because while you are helping someone else, you might forget for a minute your own pain.
And one last thought from Jan: Grief shouldn’t be about a daily focus on someone’s death. It should be about a daily focus on someone’s life.