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Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life: A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Happiness After the Death of a Loved One Hardcover – February 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former CNN correspondent Brooke--who lost her father at 16 and later an unborn child--has interviewed hundreds of people about their loss of loved ones for this journalistic compendium of ways to transform grief into healing. Though not as deep or authoritative as other books on grieving, this one covers more ground. Emphasizing the futility and harmfulness of shutting out grief, Brooke suggests ways to remember and memorialize the departed. Women often find it easier to grieve than men, she notes, while children reprocess loss as they develop cognitively. Acknowledging that the path of grief is variable, she observes that only some friends turn out to be reliable sources of support; the Internet and journals can be useful resources, as are physical activity and therapy. Brooke advises those who are grieving to start a family genealogy, suggests strategies for honoring a deceased spouse in a new marriage, and proposes exercises for helping kids foster positive memories. For those facing the imminent death of someone with a terminal illness, she recommends a videotaping session, offering a list of questions for the subject and camera strategies ("film your subject at a 45-degree angle, or slightly sideways, for the best image"). She also reminds readers of the importance of writing a will and other estate planning, providing information and resources.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

As Brooke points out in the introduction, the deaths of loved ones have positively transformed many people. She points to Eric Clapton, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Susan Komen, among others. However, for too many, the death of someone close leaves a void in the heart that it seems nothing will ever fill. Rather than the "letting go," as many from Freud on through the years have prescribed, Brooke says it is important to confront grief, experience it fully, and use it to transform oneself positively. Brooke stresses that it is important to integrate the memories of our loved ones into our daily lives. This is truly a practical book in that death is viewed as a normal part of life and dealing with it constructively should be a more common reaction. The book includes such particular issues as a child's grief, seeking professional help, and dealing with the deceased's possessions. Marlene Chamberlain
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; English Language edition (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525945695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525945697
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #912,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on April 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Losing a loved one is of the most profound emotions we will ever feel in our lifetime. Loss often evokes a combination of so many different emotions, sadness...for what we have lost, often guilt...could we have done more or prevented the loss, anger...why now, why was this person taken from me. Time heals all wounds, but often the scars and sense of loss remain.
There is a time to grieve and a time to move on, and this book is an excellent resource on the subject of death and loss. The book helps one to divert those mixed emotional feelings into constructive accomplishments - how to deal with the acceptance of loss, not reject it. There are no easy answers, but being a survivor gives us inner personal strength, more than we sometimes ever thought it was possible to have. When I was young, I remember reading the birth and marriage announcements in our newspaper to find out which one of my friends was getting married or announding the birth of a child. Now when I read the newspaper, it is often a formidable reminder of how fragile and short life truly is when I suddenly see some of those same names appearing in the obituary column. Regardless of your religion, spirituality or what it is you personally believe in, a measure of comfort comes from knowing that in spite of all the pain and joy that comes with life, the universe truly is unfolding as it was intended. There are a lot of wise words printed on the pages of this book and I would not hesitate for a moment to give or recommend this beautiful book to anyone who has experienced this difficult time of loss in their life.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Weiss on February 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Death leaves its mark, but there are ways to move through the painful aftermath of the loss of a loved one. "Society won't let us talk about our loved ones as if they are still alive" writes author JIll Brooke. But that is exactly what one should do- talk about them. Even though their physical presence is gone- one can experience incredible happiness just by be able to discuss a loved one. It is ok to say their name. The book walks people through bereavement healing steps such as keeping the memory alive, and channeling feelings of loss into accomplishment. As an incentive, Ms. Brooke enumerates people of achievement who became greater, stronger because of the loss of a loved one. Survival teaches us something more about ourselves. We are all achievers; we can go on, and yes time does heal all wounds. Sensitive and beautifully written. Well worth reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jill Brooke's wonderful book has inspired me to give careful thought to how I would like to perserve the memories of my loved ones, not only as a way to give me strength and comfort to draw upon for the rest of the days of my life but to also inspire future generations of my family -something I haven't previously given thought to. I have this book close at hand in my library and I think everyone could benefit from doing the same.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Fancy on February 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I lost a loved one, someone gave me this book and it really made a difference. When the grief returns, I go back to this book and it truly helps relieve it. I have bought a few copies and will give one to anyone I know who suffers the same tragedy. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Yapp on February 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jill Brooke writes where others fear to tread. Her simple logic and easy-to read style gave me a feeling of peace while reading about this painful subject. Brooke writes of death as a muse and motivator and builds her theme slowly and in such a spirit of sharing that I felt I was being guided by a friend. One of the most important lessons learned, was how thinking, talking and remembering your loved ones with others keeps them alive through memories. The book is full of practical information and advice from grief professionals entwined around interviews from well-known personalities such as President Clinton who've experienced loss. A great gift,not just for the bereaved, but for new mothers looking for ideas on how to keep the memory of their parents alive with the next generation who never knew them. After reading this book, I felt I had the tools to help continue my loved ones legacy. This well researched book presents a very real way of thinking about death that removes some of the stigma and fear and leaves in its place compassion and hope for the future. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
WHEN I FIND A GREAT NEW PRODUCT,I ALWAYS BUY MORE THAN ONE JUST TO HAVE ON HAND TO GIVE TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY.THE OTHER DAY I REALIZED THAT MY BOOK CORNER WAS LOW ,SO I WENT TO MY LOCAL SUPERSTORE TO SCAN THE SHELVES FOR SOME NEW RELEASES I COULD SHARE WITH MY LOVED ONES.LOOK OUT OPRAH!!!!!!!!!!WHEN I CAME UPON THIS BOOK I SAT ON THE FLOOR TO SKIM THROUGH IT AND WOUND UP STAYING UNTIL CLOSING TIME UNTIL I HAD FINISHED.MS. BROOKE IS A SENSITIVE TALENT,A WRITING TREASURE AND A BRILLIANT AUTHOR.WHEN YOU READ THIS BOOK ABOUT LOSS,YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO GAIN!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carline Anderson on March 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First I want to mention something another reviewer wrote, get this book before you loose a loved one. This is a serious prep book as well. Dealing with it straight up, head on and the pain will subside faster. I lost my Mother, the daily life I was living was horrible. I did read the entire book in two days. On the third day I would have to say the majority of my pain subsided substantially. The books writing style and basics should have no bearing on whether you purchase it or not, it has a powerful helping message. I have just finished another book I highly recommend that helped greatly and even furthered my peace, SB 1 or God by Karl Mark Maddox
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