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A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies Paperback – September 15, 2000


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A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies + Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child,  Revised Edition + When The Bough Breaks:  Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden; 1 edition (September 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568385560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568385563
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anne McCracken, coauthor of A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies, is a former newspaper reporter and feature writer. She lives in Maryland and is now working on other nonfiction books. She lost her young son, Jake, in 1989.

Mary Semel is a clinical social worker and a bereaved mother. In 1991,her 16-year-old son, Alexander, was killed in a car accident. She turned to reading to assuage her grief, as did Anne McCracken. As they shared our literary discoveries, they decided to compile an anthology in the hope they could help others. It became A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies.She currently has a private practice in which she does individual, couple, and group psychotherapy. Previously, she worked for 15 years in addictions treatment programs at two local hospitals. In one, she was responsible for conducting family therapy for families of alcoholics and drug addicts as well as individual and family counseling. Her husband, Peter, is an attorney in Baltimore, and daughter, Hilary, practices maritime law in New York.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book for anyone who has experienced the loss of a child.
queenmum
It's like getting a personal letter from someone who understands, as if they wrote it just for you and your child without getting lost in any one belief or philosophy.
Leigh Segel
It is a book that helps a person realize that they are not the only one who experiences such a horrific loss and in a way that is comforting.
Judy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Ypsi on June 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I lost my precious daughter Hannah Caguiat last December in an accident that injured me and her little sister Emily as well. Along with an outpouring of love, support, and sympathy from our family and community, I received dozens of books about bereavement in general and loss of a child in particular.
I received _A Broken Heart Still Beats_ as a gift recently and reading it has been so helpful. Despite the variety of experiences and the fact that some of the pieces in here are fiction, this is the first time I have felt like there are people out there who truly would understand what we are going through. It is not a self-help book, but does explore various aspects of being a bereaved parent -- from relationships with spouse/partner/child's other parent, to anger, to sibling issues. I highly recommend this for anyone who has lost a child or is close to someone who has.
I was saddened, too, by how many people out there in the arts and literature have been in this situation. So many that I never knew had experienced this.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Segel on May 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I lost my seventeen year old son in a auto accident this year.
Alot of people have their religion and faith to fall back on, others (like me) find their faith has been shaken when the worst that can happen, happens. There are no answers for the neverending questions you have after you lose your son or daughter, especially the hardest one is why? You won't find the answers in a book or in any place on earth, it has to come from inside you.
This book is just a guide to help you, a collection of stories from other people, famous and not so famous. It's like getting a personal letter from someone who understands, as if they wrote it just for you and your child without getting lost in any one belief or philosophy. It comes from the heart.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Vickie T. VINE VOICE on July 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is exactly as described in the product description. The editors, both of whom lost a child in car accidents, have collected excerpts from articles, poems, and books that talk about the loss of a child. The excerpts come from an amazing array of materials, from ancient texts to popular music lyrics. As a piece of literature, this is an excellent collection.

However, the weight of sorrow contained in this book is overwhelming. This is not an uplifting or hopeful book and I did not derive any particular comfort from it. The emotion that was most commonly elicited from me by this book was sympathy - "Oh, these poor people! So much pain!" - and it usually made me feel even sadder. I am, by nature, a pragmatic "deal with it and move forward" kind of person and for me, reading this book felt uncomfortably close to wallowing in self-pity (emphasis on "for ME").

Do I recommend this book? I don't know. If there is one thing that has become clear since the death of my son, it is that every single person grieves and deals with the loss of a loved one differently. Some people will find this collection useful. Obviously the editors and some of the other reviewers did. And, if you have suffered through the death of your child, you will almost certainly find your own feelings and thoughts represented in at least some of these excerpts. For me, though, this book was not particularly useful nor was it pleasant to read, and it will likely end up in my "donate" pile. I suggest that you borrow a copy from the public library first and then decide whether or not it is something you wish to add to your personal library.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jill on November 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book to give to my mother and father. I had to order another copy. Once I started reading it I needed to keep it. It is an excellent book for siblings who have experienced a tragic loss. Most of the titles dealing with grief tell you how to heal. This book lets you experience profound sadness and find comfort in the fact that others were there before you.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joan C. Frank on July 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 9 year old daughter died suddenly at school almost 2 years ago. While I have continued to function and do the things that I must do, I know that I will be haunted forever by sadness and guilt (i.e. "the what-ifs") forever.

When my grief was new, "When Bad Things Happen To Good People" helped some. It gave me permission to see her death as random, horrifically bad luck. Not as a "lesson" that I needed to learn. Not as an "act of god." Not as something that I needed to accept and eventually see as part of a greater (good) plan.

I am religiously agnostic. Therefore, many of the books about grieving were meaningless to me. (Anyone who can believe in god after losing a child is beyond me....) This book allowed me to hear from other people who are pretty sure that they will not "see their child again." It talks about gut wrenching pain from many points of view - but always using the language of great writers to portray the many nuances of grieving for a son or daughter.

The unique aspects of this book have affirmed me and my process of facing an unbearable loss.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nina Bennett on July 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
When my granddaughter was born still, I immediately turned to the solace offered by the written word, finding that to be much more helpful than the empty cliches and platitudes offered by acquaintances. This is an incredible collection of writing, both fiction and nonfiction, essay and poetry, on the subject of the loss of a child. Many, if not most, of the writers included have experienced this most devastating of all losses. The authors introduce each section with personal writing that forms an intimate connection. They draw from classic literature as well as modern, making this a book that offers something to everyone. I found myself re-reading sections in an attempt to hold off coming to the end of this sustaining book. I doubt this book will ever make it to my bookshelf, as I will be turning to it often for inspiration and comfort.
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