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A Gift of Hope: How We Survive Our Tragedies 1st Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0345410368
ISBN-10: 034541036X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Crisis, the sage observed, is "Opportunity riding on dangerous winds." And there is, even in the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a painful divorce, opportunity for renewal, the author, a Minnesota public health administrator, shows. While we go through definite "stages of heartbreak," described in sensitive detail here, we can also use "survival strategies" to combat them, beginning with caring for ourselves physically. Silence about feelings is a killer, according to Veninga, that builds misconceptions, guilt and regret. Families hit by tragedy can be torn apart when its members withdraw into private pain and blame. Sharing is imperative, the author advises, and forgiveness of self and others restores hope and meaning to life. With case histories, apt quotations from philosphers, and a listing of self-help organizations, the book is comprehensive, inspirational and highly readable. First serial to Ladies Home Journal; BOMC alternate; Better Homes & Gardens Book Club selection. Foreign rights: Lescher & Lescher. November 26
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

After suffering the death of a close friend, Veninga (a college professor and author) became interested in how people react to a heartbreaking crisis. His book discusses the stages of heartbreak, methods for survival, and how people change as they recover. Veninga describes self-help strategies, but concentrates more on understanding the emotional processes and stages which are common to any heartbreak. He uses many case studies to describe how most (but not all) people find a new faith in life after a crisis. Although the material is familiar, the treatment is competent, the book well written and comforting. Distinguishing features: a chapter on how to deal with suicide, a list of support and self-help groups, and a list of books on related topics. A good choice for general collections. Margaret B. Allen, M.L.S., formerly with Bennington Free Lib., Vt.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (September 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034541036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345410368
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I originally gave this book to my husband four years ago, when he lost both his step-father and his father within a year of each other. Just recently, I also lost my father unexpectedly. This book gives comfort to me when the tears start to flow and words can't express what I am going through. It clearly outlines the stages of grief, and it comforts through the many stories that the author weaves through the book of other's dealings with loss. It is a good book for those who feel overwhelmed with grief or any kind of loss, as you can read one story and put it down and then come back to it when you are ready. We all grieve so differently...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Morrissey on September 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An excellent book for anyone searching for hope in a life that can often be painful and isolating. After the death of our son and then the subsequent birth of our daughter diagnosed with Down Syndrome, I was indeed in need of healing and guidance and hope. I devoured many books and found this one particularly...hopeful. I highly recommend it as reading for anyone and everyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Bitney on March 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the first edition of this book in 1984, when our five-year-old daughter was going through a bone marrow transplant and slowly dying. I needed some comfort. I often read it in secret, not wanting to dash the hopes of my husband but needing shoring up for myself. I lived in the U of MN with her for two months, and even though they did everything that they could, my gut told me what would eventually happen.

This book taught me that there is more than one way to grieve, which was a great help when she died and I found that my husband grieved one way and I another. The difference was that I had been anticipating her death for nearly two years, but my husband did not truly believe that it would ever happen. As a consequence, when she did pass, my grieving was essentially over but his was just beginning. The book helped me to see that this was perfectly normal and it helped me to be supportive of him while being sensitive to him being, I am sure, slightly baffled by my different style of grief. It also helped me focus on both our three-year-old daughter, and the unborn child who would be born seven months later and be diagnosed with the same cancer three months after that. I also learned that I should not feel guilty for the relief which I felt upon her death, for I was finally able to look forward rather than be stuck in the horrible present.

This is an easy read, not heavy with jargon, but rich with examples of hope. It is, in short, "A Gift of Hope".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Truthfully, I haven't read the book for over about 15 years. However, after I read it years ago I "tape flagged" it to death! (I sometimes use those little flags to mark spots I need to re-read to better commit to memory.) I'd been viciously attacked by a dog & was off work 15 months to have my face reconstructed. Not being the kind of person who ever sought therapy or shrinks I sought books to help me cope. At that time "codependant" was the culture's big buzz word. You could find 100 books on codependency in the books stores, but few books that fit my need. Then I landed on Robert Veninga's "A Gift of Hope". The book helped me to heal, and I could see that it was applicable to people not just with physical injuries, but mental and spiritual as well; and those going through divorces or other tough times. I got a book discount buying card at the local bookstores & ordered about a dozen of these books at a time (I have no doubt in total I probably bought at least 4 dozen of these)! I kept a couple in my car most of the time. I gave these books away to many I met in their times of need. (I was somewhat bandaged up for some time after the attack & surgeries so I oftentimes drew curious people... many of whom had their own problems). I tried to assist others who'd been attacked by dogs, or facially disfigured; some who I met by chance, others who were eventually referred to me by groups I joined on the internet, or by friends, etc. This book was a staple for me to leave the walking-wounded with. I recently ran across my copy with it's colorful tape flags outside the margin and it took me back. I also realized I no longer had an extra copy of it on-hand so I bought another - just in case. Mr. Veninga is a kind man, who didn't write "over my head", but who salved my traumatized self.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Coleman on February 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this book nearly ten years ago and it remains--in its paperback version--tucked among my favorite books in my library. The author writes with a clear capacity to relate to the reader, his words are comforting and poetic. It is the kind of book where you can flip open to any page and come away with wisdom and tender passages. You need not be suffering from some tragedy to find this book useful. It is a wonderful read for anybody who cares about the human condition. I am an author myself (my latest is "How to Say It to Your Kids!")and appreciate good writing. His book is one I will always keep. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.
Dr. Paul Coleman, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intimacy"
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By Debra L. Thompson on November 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author goes in to detail explaining the stages people go through when tragedies occur. He explains very well not all people handle the life changing occurrence by what others say and do. It often takes months and years for some to come to terms with a tragedy. Many rely on their faith and others cannot forgive themselves or others for the tragedy they are forced to go through. What I learned is to become a better listener. Its about people who have overcome great tragedies using their experiences to help others.
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A Gift of Hope: How We Survive Our Tragedies
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