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Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide Hardcover – March 23, 1988

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Lukas and Seidena television writer/producer (and suicide survivor) and a clinical psychologistshow how the emotional aftermath of suicide differs from that of normal bereavement not only in duration but because of the hidden implication of responsibility and higher risk of suicide for those relatives left behind. Lay helpers will find useful the discussion of rules for listening and refocusing and the comments about prevention of romanticization and contagion among adolescent survivor peer groups. A sensible popular manual on "postvention" of suicide and the dangers of unspoken sorrow and anger, with a useful appendix on self-help and mutual-support groups.William Abrams, Portland State Univ. Lib., Ore.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


'A well-done, very readable work for virtually all populations; highly recommended.'- Reviewed on Metapsychology Online Reviews'This book is intended specifically neither for suicide survivors nor for professionals, yet it is well-suited to both audiences. Survivors will definitely find kinship - if not comfort - in the many personal stories featured here; they are also likely to feel less isolated and more accepting of their emotional reactions upon learning that they are not alone. Similarly, mental health professionals will benefit by gaining greater insight into and compassion for their clients who are suicide survivors. Overall, a well-done, very readable work for virtually all populations; highly recommended.'- Metapsychology Online Reviews

'This book gives insights into the pain and suffering involved when people are grieving for someone who has committed suicide, but it also offers hope without diminishing the significance of the suffering involved. As such, it has a lot to offer, and is therefore to be welcomed.'- Well-Being'This book provides deep and valuable insight into the experiences of "suicide survivors" - those who have been left behind by the suicide of friend, family member or loved one.'- Therapy Today'The personal stories are full of pathos interest and will clarify where the death leaves those left behind. The list of self-help groups is world wide and it will be useful that you can point the bereaved and traumatized in the right direction.'- Accident and Emergency Nursing Journal'The authors describe powerfully the effect of suicide on survivors and the world of silence, shame, guilt and depression that can follow. Author Christopher Lake is a suicide survivor and co-author Henry Seiden is an experienced therapist and educator.They use sensitive and unambiguous language to provide an understanding of what it is like to live in the wake of suicide and the struggle to make sense of the world. They also look at how survivors might actively respond to their situation, rather than being passive victims. This book should be read by any professional who is likely to come into contact with people affected by suicide.'- Nursing Standard, October 2007'The book is well written and relevant to both survivors and professionals concerned for the welfare of those bereaved by suicide.'- SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) Newsletter'Silent grief is a book for and about "suicide survivors," defined as people who have experienced the death of a friend or relative through suicide, and for anyone who wants to understand what survivors go through. The book explains the profound, traumatic effect suicide has on individuals bereaved in such circumstances. Using verbatim quotes from survivors it explains how they experience feelings of shame, guilt, anger, doubt, isolation and depression. This book provides good insight into the experience of individuals affected by suicide and can be a useful resource to anybody working with such people - be it prisoners who have lost someone close through suicide or the family of a prisoner following a self-inflicted death in prison.- National Offender Management Service. Safer Custody News. Safer Custody Group. May/June 2007Silent Grief is a book for and about "suicide survivors" - those who have been left behind by the suicide of a friend or loved one.Author Christopher Lukas is a suicide survivor himself - several members of his family have taken their own lives - and the book draws on his own experiences, as well as those of numerous other suicide survivors. These inspiring personal testimonies are combined with the professional expertise of Dr. Henry M. Seiden, a psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist.The authors present information on common experiences of bereavement, grief reactions and various ways of coping. Their message is that it is important to share one's experience of "survival" with others and they encourage survivors to overcome the perceived stigma or shame associated with suicide and to seek support from self-help groups, psychotherapy, family therapy, Internet support forums or simply a friend or family member who will listen.This revised edition has been fully updated and describes new forms of support including Internet forums, as well as addressing changing societal attitudes to suicide and an increased willingness to discuss suicide publicly.Silent Grief gives valuable insights into living in the wake of suicide and provides useful strategies and support for those affected by a suicide, as well as professionals in the field of psychology, social work, and medicine. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 23, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684187701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684187709
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
In December my 43 yr. old Mother comitted suicide. Words cannot describe the shock, guilt and loss one feels. I certainly know that I have never felt anything that painful. I don't have any siblings so it fell on me to make all of the arrangements and to try to somehow sort this out. This book explained everything I was feeling was 'okay' and 'normal' from the sleep loss to the nightmares to the guilt I feel every single day. It continuously helps me feel not so alone. The hardest part is that due to the nature of my Mom's death I am very hesitant to talk about it which does, in my opinion, limit the greiving process. I looked for books about this topic at my local bookstores and couldn't find much, KUDOS to for having such a wide selection and to the author for providing insight and comfort in my time of need. I recommend this book as a must read for survivor's of suicide.
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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth J. Brown on May 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those left behind in the wake of a suicide do not need nor cannot take in a mass of psychological jargon, statistical abstracts or pie charts and graphs. What they need is the reassurance that they are not alone, that there is a community of compassionate, sensitive people which will welcome them as they try to absorb and accept their loss. "Silent Grief" provides a real service in helping the reader to sort out his feelings and to begin to make sense of the senseless.

Authors Lukas and Seiden provide many real life examples of the behaviors of suicide survivors. These should be helpful to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, no matter how long ago the event occurred, no matter how close emotionally the survivor was to the deceased, even if they were not family.

Although they do not mention Elisabeth Kubler-Ross by name, Lukas and Seiden do detail her famous five stages of grief, (from her 1969 book, "On Death and Dying") and explain that these emotions and behaviors can and often do run deeper in suicide survivors than in those mourning the death, say, of an elderly person who dies of natural causes. The stages of grief and the order in which they are experienced are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. Not everyone goes through all the stages, regardless of the intensity or nature of their loss. But there are suicide survivors who get stuck in one stage of grief never to leave it, not for years or even decades. "Silent Grief" discusses not only why this happens, but the ways in which the suicide survivor can become "unstuck," and finally achieve acceptance of his loss.

To work one's way through the process of grieving can take years. I lost a brother to suicide in 1995. He was only 31.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Pat on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 1989, my baby brother committed suicide. It has been said that, "Death is Final!" Death by Suicide never ends for the survivors. I have a wonderful friend, who gave me Silent Grief. It was a constant friend, which walked me through some very heartbreaking times. It is like a friend who holds your hand and lets you know that it is always there, and you are not alone. The way the book is presented is a great help. People are different and need different support. Once you read it, you can pick it up and zero in on the areas that can be of more help to you as an individual. With the help of this book, I've realized that even though the haunting of Clyde's death will be forever with me, life does go on and the pain eases. Thank you to the author for such a great contribution to our world.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mary A. Turzillo on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was somewhat puzzled by the thrust of the authors' chapters on what they call "Bargains." They seem to think that these feelings and thoughts, which I would regard as quite natural to anybody whose loved one had died by suicide, are harmful. True, they say that these "bargains" have positive and negative effects, but it seemed as I read that Lukas and Seiden didn't really accept the authenticity of the feelings and focussed more on why they were dysfunctional.

The first "bargain" is what they call "Scapegoating." This would be anger at people and institutions that might have contributed to the loved one's decision to end his life. Somehow this (and many other books) ask us survivors to squelch our anger. The only person to blame is the dead victim himself, they say. Thus the families who sue schools for allowing indiscriminate bullying are somehow "wrong." Doctors who ignore danger signs or prescribe dangerous drugs are not in the least to blame, according to Lukas and Seidin. Family or friends who leave firearms or poison around a suicidal person are not to be blamed.

I encounter this "magnanimous" (to the guilty) advice in other self-help books on grief, but it seems to me a form of censorship. Why should we, as survivors of a brutal loss, suppress our anger or turn it against the suicide victim himself, who can no longer defend himself or his reputation?

The next half-inappropriate response is prolonged mourning. I'm not quite sure how this is to be avoided. If there is a huge hole in the survivor's life, it would be nice if the authors offered consolation instead of just saying it's wrong to mourn for a long time.

The next "bargain" is feeling guilty.
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