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And a Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart: Moving from Despair to Meaning After the Death of a Child

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1888602340
ISBN-10: 1888602341
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charlotte Mathes is a Jungian psychoanalyst who went through the loss of her child. This book was a result of her journey of healing and inner transformation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Chiron Publications (September 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888602341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888602340
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rachael T on June 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
The loss of a child isn't a taboo topic, but it's certainly one that we as parents really do not enjoy talking about. After my aunt lost her 20 year old daughter, I was forced to face the topic head-on. Because of this, I've learned to look at my son in a new light. Every mundane moment turns into a Kodak moment. Every smile, every milestone, every laugh and even every cry is something I want to treasure. The thought of losing him is gut-wrenching. You think it won't happen to you, but as I've seen first hand, no parent is safer than the next because death has no age requirement.

Charlotte Mathes lost her son and as she describes in And a Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart, parents tend to reach out to every source possible to find others who have experienced the same loss. Mathes' book is an excellent resource, helping to fill the need of reading and learning about other parents and their losses, and to learn if there is any truth behind the assumption that over time, the pain from the loss of a child subsides and if it really does it gets easier to live each day without that child. The book is written from the perspective of a certified Jungian analyst whose personal knowledge of a mother's grief adds the necessary ingredient of honesty for those coping with the loss of a child.

As Mathes explains early in her book, C.G. Jung was a Swiss psychologist who theorized that mankind shares innate psychological patterns. These patterns, coined as Archetypes, repeat over cultural divides, both symbolically and literally. The Archetypes aid in the explanation of the process that takes place after the loss of the child. Not just the process of moving forward in life, but also the process of grief.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anita Harkey on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
A kind person put this book in my hands when I suffered the sudden, traumatic loss of my 21-year-old son last year. It is written by a psychological professional who has experienced the loss of a child. It is by far the most comforting book of the dozens I have read since the death of my son. The author includes stories of many kinds of child loss, and offers insights into the grieving, mourning, and growth which follow. I am active in grief support work and have recommended the book to many.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Candide on October 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
And a sword shall pierce your heart reveals the terrible ordeal of mothers who lost their child in various circumstances and it focuses on ways to reach the light at the end of a very long tunnel. A true jungian analysis of myths, archetypes, and symbols. However and though the author shows great compassion and strong solidarity among mothers, the book overly emphasises religion and especially Christian religions as a means of recovery and consequently many unbelievers may not find the help they expect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jane Hurley Brant on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I learned of And a Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart through an esteemed colleague and it has offered me comfort in my places of deep loss for as Dr. Mathes has, I, too, have lost a beloved child.

On page 243 Dr. Charlotte Mathes writes, "When we reflect upon what we value, we may begin championing a cause that can change our outer world." This particular nugget of wisdom - in this intelligent and beautifully written book - prompted me to form a group of mothers who have lost children. It was the single spark that ignited my eternal flame to gather up other mothers whose strength to continue on can only be imagined unless one is there personally. Together we will hold one another's sorrow and encourage one another's joy to begin anew. I am naming our group "Mother's Finding Meaning Again." Dr. Mathes has inspired me to take the next step in my journey.

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S.,CGP, Author
When Every Day Matters: A Mother's Memoir on Love, Loss and Life
(Simple Abundance Press, Oct. 2008)
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daisy on November 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Mathes wrote straight to my heart. My beautiful son, Ben, died suddenly on June 28, 2009 while on a business trip to England. After substantial sobriety, he relapsed and died of a lethal dose of heroin. I am still reeling inside as is his wife (with their baby), brother, family and friends.

What Charlotte Mathes managed to do with her honest story, told from a Jungian Mother's perspective, was allow me to begin the process of making meaning of the insensible. I am not in the habit of living my life as a victim. Relatedly, I have a strong connection to God. With this, I was able, through her book, to begin to see myself within the company of other mothers who have moved through the same deeply painful passage as myself (mothers like Mary, Isis etc.) and in doing so, honored the truth of the lives of their sons and honored the power of the act of giving birth to indestructable life. Reading this book when I did helped me avoid the terrible trap of self-pity by enlarging my perspective on the very nature of my suffering. Some familiarity with Jungian philosophy would be helpful, I think, in order to surrender to the larger message of Charlotte Mathes' own passage through her awful grief. On the other hand, this book - through the power of sympathetic and honest story (and so without debilitating maudlin sentiment) could empower any soul reading it with peace and then hope.

Jung sad that living with paradox is our greatest challenge. Dr. Mathes demonstrates this well. She has provided a living example of the power of feeling one's own pain as a passage to connection with all suffering and as a way to continue to deepen our loving relationship to our beloved children who have died, and in my case to God. I am grateful to her.
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