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Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief Paperback – June 27, 2017
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“Simultaneously heartwrenching and uplifting. Cacciatore offers practical guidance on coping with profound and life-changing grief. This book is destined to be a classic, simply the best book I have ever read on the process of grief.”, Huffington Post
“In this poignant, heartrending, and heart-lifting book, Joannne Cacciatore teaches how loss is transformed to peace, devastating grief to active and practical love. Beautifully, beautifully written, Bearing the Unbearable is for all those who have grieved, will grieve, or support others through bereavement.” -- Gabor Maté MD, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
“A wise guide—intimate, tender, and fierce—reminding us what it means to fully love. This is a holy book, riddled with insight and compassion. It will bless all of us in our times of sorrow.” -- Francis Weller, author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief
“There are sentences in this luminous book that took my breath away. With penetrating insight and tender warmth, Dr. Jo meets the broken-hearted where we live: in an utterly transformed and transformational space. This is the secret potion I have been yearning for, offered from a brimming cup.” -- Mirabai Starr, author of Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation
“A truly remarkable book.” -- Robert D. Stolorow, author of Trauma and Human Existence
“Bearing the Unbearable is an experience more than a book. In recounting many cases from her extraordinary therapy practice devoted to helping people who are undergoing severe and traumatic grief, the book offers the reader an experience that—like grief itself—is painful but for which one will be deeply grateful afterwards. Cacciatore’s amazing book shows us through its many emotionally gripping examples–guaranteed to trigger readers’ own lurking tears—much that is novel and illuminating about the ineffable depth and labyrinthine nature of intense grief.” -- Dr. Jerome Wakefield, DSW, PhD, Professor, NYU School of Medicine and author of The Loss of Sadness
“An approach to grief that moves beyond platitudes and cliché. It offers a way to truly grow through grief that is not a moving beyond but is more of an organic composting and recycling of the soul. It offers hope for those who feel like their loss has disconnected themselves forever from humanity and the circle of life. There is something for everyone in this garden that will restore and rejuvenate. I would highly recommend this book!” -- Doug Bremner MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University, and author of The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg
“At a time when even the most normal of human experiences, such as grief and suffering, are being pathologized and medicated by a bio-psychiatric industry, Bearing the Unbearable is an honest and courageous examination of the most common of human experiences…Dr. Cacciatore’s powerful book doesn’t stop with delineating the process of grief. [It] shows grieving human beings how to reclaim the process as normal and sacred, and how to insist on defining the process for themselves, which leads to powerful healing…This book will become a staple in my practice, and as well as at Warfighter ADVANCE programs.” -- Mary Neal Vieten, PhD, ABPP, Executive Director, WARFIGHTER ADVANCE
“This masterpiece is the greatest gift I could give to someone entrenched in grief, or to the loved ones of the bereaved.”, The Tattooed Buddha
About the Author
Cacciatore is an ordained Zen priest, affiliated with Zen Garland and its child bereavement center outside of New York City. She is in the process of building the a “care-farm” and respite center for the traumatically bereaved, just outside Sedona, Arizona. The care-farm will offer a therapeutic community that focuses on reconnecting with self, others, and nature in the aftermath of loss through gardening, meditation, yoga, group work, animals, and other nonmedicalized approaches. All the animals at the care-farm will have been rescued from abuse and neglect.
She is an acclaimed public speaker and provides expert consulting and witness services in the area of traumatic loss. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as The Lancet, Social Work and Healthcare, and Death Studies, among others.
She received her PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in psychology from Arizona State University. Her work has been featured in major media sources such as People and Newsweek magazines, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, CNN, National Public Radio, and the Los Angeles Times. She has been the recipient of many regional and national awards for her empathic work and service to people suffering traumatic grief.
She travels quite often but spends most of her time in Sedona, Arizona, with her family and three rescue dogs. She also has three horses that are part of her Rescue Horses Rescue People equine therapy program.
Dr. Jeffrey Rubin is among the leading authorities on the integration of meditation and psychotherapy. He’s the author of Practicing Meditative Psychotherapy and The Art of Flourishing. He lives in New York.
- Item Weight : 12.5 ounces
- Paperback : 248 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1614292965
- ISBN-13 : 978-1614292968
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Wisdom Publications; 1st edition (June 27, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Another interesting experience that I had as I read this book is that I read it out loud to my husband. He asked me to read it to him because he wanted to know more about that most sacred, bereaved Mama part of me. My husband never had the privilege to meet my children. He knows Jada and Jordan through me. He honors and loves my children, and wants to know them as deeply as possible. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore has given us another tool to explore the grief that we both feel over the loss of my babies.
I met Joanne less than a year after I lost my children. My mom found her blog online and immediately told me that I had to read her words on child loss. I felt a kindred connection to Dr. Jo as soon as I read about her bereaved Mama love and pain. I immediately reached out to her for help and she has been in my life ever since. The fact that her heart is now written into words that I can read whenever I need to is an immeasurable blessing to me. Joanne gives me permission to feel my pain even though I live in a world that wants to tell me that I should be "over it" by now. Joanne encourages me to really FEEL and not just intellectualize my emotions. Joanne speaks about those terrible feelings of self-hatred, and endless suffering, and she gives me a light to move towards. She both recognizes the loss of my children as the most abnormal experience that a mother could ever walk through, and at the same time, normalizes the extreme emotions swelling through my heart and body every second of every day.
To say that I am grateful for this book is an understatement. This book has brought me closer to my children, to my husband, and most importantly, to ME. I will read it again and again, because if I've learned anything, I have learned that grief is not linear. It is full of twists and turns, deep lows, and vibrant highs. Joanne has taught me that deep suffering is the result of deep love, and I love and miss my babies more than I could ever express.
Like so many have mentioned, Dr. Cacciatore writes with heartfelt candor. Because her grief is centered on losing her daughter and I was desperate for help related to *my* specific circumstance (impossible, I know), I was relieved to discover her depth of feeling and understanding of the universality of grief. She speaks with clarity to that truth. Every case study is filled with wisdom that touches my own grief. She speaks with utmost respect about her daughter as well as those people she has helped in her work. I'm so grateful that there is no exploitation whatsoever, no formulas--she acknowledges how unique we are and so of course, we each process grief differently.
After my husband passed in January, I was in shock--even though he'd had many medical interventions since I'd known him. As much as I thought I would be prepared, or anticipated what it would be like..... none of my imaginings or thoughts could possibly bring me close to the actuality. We were extremely close. For years, we were together for years nearly 24/7 since we worked together at home. I've never known such a love.
I have a long way to go, but I don't feel rushed. I understand fully that the most important and nourishing aspect is to acknowledge and feel this depth of grief that, I now trust, will change to form the bedrock of my continuing love and connection to the love of my life.
This book -- truly a Grief Bible -- is the only book that I could pick up in those first traumatic weeks and find comfort. The quotes heading each short chapter are perfect. I have purchased extra copies to give to friends. I wish I had read it before my husband passed. But I'm so grateful now to have found it.
Thank you Dr. Cacciatore for acknowledging our humanity is intricately tied to knowing grief. And from that, individually, we become more human. I miss my husband terribly. And still find it difficult to accept he's gone. I cry every day at least twice a day. I am deeply grateful that I am learning how to honor his memory in some way every day. Thank you Dr. Cacciatore.
As the author (who speaks from her own personal tragedy of losing a child, and from her life’s work of studying grief, counseling those who are grieving, and teaching about grief at the university level), how grief might be embraced truly is an individual journey. For some, the journey might be enriching. For others, the journey might be a descent into inescapable despair. But what this book makes painfully clear: There is no elixir; there are no good works to accomplish as compensation; there is no 12-step program; there is no way around grief--only through it; there is no conquering grief--rather, mustering the courage to surrender to it; and there are no answers to the question "why" and perhaps no reason even to ask "why."
As this book drills home: Only by avoiding love might one avoid grief--if one loves, one is destined to grieve.