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Seven Choices: Finding Daylight after Loss Shatters Your World Paperback – August 1, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many readers will rightly welcome psychologist's Neeld's seven-stage, step-by-step guide to mourning and recovery, accompanied by a description of phases necessary to complete the "grieving process." Based on the author's own experience and that of 60 others, the program requires the mourner to knowingly choose to undergo each stage as it occurs. The book also discusses with compassion physical and emotional traumas to expect and offers sound advice on how to adjust to change and form new life patterns and human bonds. 35,000 first printing; $35,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Referring in her title to phases of the grieving process and their eventual resolution, the author (a writer and former professor of English) movingly recounts her own widowhood--a halting progress toward understanding recurrent grief and an attainment of a hard-won creative outcome. She offers a well-organized and detailed review of research on grief, with 60 vignettes by others who have lost loved ones through death or divorce. It will be of interest to a broad audience, including families and loved ones experiencing problems consoling or advising the bereaved. This well-written work provides accurate and ample information to help us find pattern and significance in the healing process. For those who grieve the aftermath of a suicide, an additional pertinent book is needed: Rita Robinson's Survivors of Suicide ( LJ 9/1/89).
- William Abrams, Portland State Univ. Lib., Ore.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446690503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446690508
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Harper Neeld Talks About Her Life

I was born in a farmhouse in the middle of a cotton field forty miles below Atlanta during an ice storm on Christmas Day. My parents and grandparents jokingly said they never forgave me for interrupting their Christmas dinner. I love that my roots go deep into the red clay of Georgia where I was born. These roots then sprouted around the base of Lookout Mountain in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area where I grew up and lived until my early thirties.

Growing up as the daughter of a preacher father and a gentle, wise mother, I was blessed with a life alive with language: The beautiful verses of the King James' Bible, family stories told as only my father with his Irish heritage could tell them, poems and allegories written and recited by my mother, books saved for me in the Rossville, Georgia, library by Mrs. Miller, the librarian, who was the first person to suggest that someday I would probably write books myself. I am so appreciative for and feel so blessed by this "river of language" into which I was born.

I've done many different kinds of work since I first became employed at age 14. During junior and senior high school, I sold fabric and dress patterns in what was called then a "dime store." I mixed paint and typed receipts in a hardware store to put myself through college. I taught seventh grade reading and ninth grade English where I had my first impromptu visit from the principal to see how I was doing--at the very moment that one of the seventh graders was hanging from a steel girder in the ceiling of the classroom where he had climbed to entertain his classmates! I taught high school English and became head of the department. Then I moved to the first community college to open in the hills of East Tennessee where I was head of the humanities division and teacher of writing and literature.

From there I moved to New York City where I worked for three years as Director of English Programs for the Modern Language Association on Fifth Avenue. Texas A&M then recruited my husband, Greg Cowan, and me to come to the university to set up a Ph. D. and M. A. strand in the graduate program of the English Department. Creating and directing that program, teaching, and serving as assistant to the president of the university occupied the next seven years of my life (it was during this time that Greg died unexpectedly at age 42). Then I resigned to write books full time, which has been my life's work since. (In between books I have consulted with many Fortune 500 and 100 companies in the U. S. and many companies abroad on the subject of dealing with organizational change.)

Jerele Neeld, my husband with whom I recently celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary, and I like to travel. We also enjoy cooking for friends, going to art galleries, and participating widely in our Austin, Texas, community. We also adore our Japanese Chin puppies, T.K. and Nori.

Favorite books:

As a child, I loved all the "Twin" books: The Scottish Twins, The Colonial Twins, The Eskimo Twins, Etc. As an adult I have started collecting these books and, so far, have been able to find and buy three of them. Caddy Woodlawn and Baby Island were also books that I read again and again when I was a little girl.
Gone With the Wind became part of my personal legend after I read it in my early teen years. After all, Tara--had it really existed--was located in the same county where I was born. Scarlet and I could have walked on the same red earth! Family of Pride, a collection of letters written over fourteen years--before, during, and after the War Between the States, by members of one family whose home place was in Liberty, Georgia, is a testament both to the complexity of the issues of the era but also to the courage and resiliency of the human spirit, as demonstrated by people on all sides.

Any espionage novel that Henning Mankell writes I buy the minute I find it. Embers, a novel by Sandor Marai and recently translated into English from Hungarian, is one of the most powerful statements I have ever read about the cost of not forgiving. Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells is the only novel in my life that I ever turned from the last word in the book to the first word in the book to begin reading again.

The theology books of Elizabeth A. Johnson, the spiritual classics of Evelyn Underhill, and the fascinating, intelligent, and deeply inspiring medieval spiritual writings of Lady Julian of Norwich and Hildegarde of Bingen--both as applicable today as the day they were written--all are part of my morning and evening quiet time reading.

And at bedtime? Any cookbook! Among my favorites: all cookbooks by Lee Bailey (I do own all of them!); Nada Selah's Seductive Flavors of the Levant; The Rancho Chimayo Cookbook: Traditional Cooking of New Mexico (my husband is from New Mexico); Soup and Bread: A Country Inn Cookbook; and Frida's Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In late of 1989 I had a devastating head injury. I think the popular wording now is a traumatic brain injury. I was in a coma for 12 days and in the hospital for three months. After I got out of the hospital, I had to go to outpatient speech therapy for another six months.
I found out over the next two years that the person who used to have my name had died. I went back to Georgia State University to find out I had a severe speech impairment and had no short-term memory. I could not remember anything new.
I had been high school valedictorian of my class. At the time of my head injury I was supervising third shift in a printed circuit board plant, as well as going to GSU almost full time. When I realized that person was dead, it was like the most important person in your life had died - and that person was me!
A close friend of mine recognized the grief I was going through and urged me to go to the GSU counseling center and get some help. I did. The psychologist I saw wanted me to read On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I think it is the classic on grief. It studies the grief that terminally sick patients go through before they die. I could not read it. I was too close to dying myself when I had the head injury.
I felt the grief I was experiencing would permanently drown me in sorrow and sadness. One week when I saw the psychologist, I was told I would not help myself because I would not read the grief book. I immediately went to the library and found Seven Choices. The book changed my life. It specifically addresses losing a loved one unexpectantly. That is exactly the way I felt, except the loved one I lost was the old me.
The book was a tremendous help to me. It gave a blueprint of the process I would have to go through to get better.
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Format: Paperback
As a hospice social worker currently leading grief groups, I think this is one of the most valuable resource I have discovered....
This book provides a thoughtful "map" to the experience of sudden loss as well as coping with loss of any type. Harper Neeld, from her own experiences of loss, offers a new conceptualization for visualizing loss (the impact) and how it affects the world and offers most importantly a concrete active process for facing grief or the transition of coming to terms with a loss.
Things I love about this book.
1) It is very well written. Harper Neeld is a college professor and writes in an engaging manner with broad use of other peoples' stories, literature and personal experience;
2) It is honest. She wrote the book over a 4 year period and chronicles her path of coping with her loss and her own coming to terms with it.
3). She utilizes most of the grief literatures as a foundation and incorporates key ideas appropriately throughout her book.
4) It is action oriented - Seven choices refers to her conception that as mourners face different facets of their grief/pain, they have different choices that lead to healing such as "to experience and express grief fully..." making choices until their have discovered what lyes beyond their grief.
This book offers a tremendous opportunity for comfort and support by someone who has been there. For professional staff, it offers a new twist on grief theory pulling from broad aspects of scholarly resources regarding grief.
The author also maintains a website [...] which has a monthly newsletter and informtion on her work which includes guides to writing and the writing process.
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Format: Paperback
After losing my husband at the age of 33 I found myself with nobody in the same situation to share my feelings with. This book helped me focus the feelings I had, which were often so overwhelming and confusing. I found myself reading her quotes of other people's feelings and experiences and saying "yes - that's it - I feel that too". The book was such help to me that I buy a bunch of them from time to time and share them with friends who lose someone close to them.
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By A Customer on June 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I can honestly say that Seven Choices saved my life.
I began to dip into it when my husband died but soon found that it was my constant companion, providing solace, comfort and hope and I read it slowly and meticulously
as I passed through the long and painful grief process.
In despair it gave me comfort; it allowed me to cry and to understand my strange and seemingly irrational needs.
It taught me that I was not alone. it gave me courage to work through the long months of agony. It was always there - a friend to guide and steer me to the world beyond grief.
Eight years on - I still read it from time to time. Over the years I have personally bought ove 20 copies and always have "library copies" in my home to send to friends in need.
I read all the bereavement books I could find - this one was and still is the only one that gave me the will to continue life without my husband.
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I am so happy I found this book. It was passed around to everyone in my grief support group.we only had 2 copies and at the time we tried to buy more we were told it was out of print.Everyone will be happy to hear they can buy there own copy now.I read every book I could get my hands on when my husband died.This book gave me the strength,hope & spirit to go on with my life
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