What Forever Means After the Death of a Child: Transcending the Trauma, Living with the Loss 1st Edition
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About the Author
- Publisher : Routledge; 1st edition (April 1, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 262 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1583910808
- ISBN-13 : 978-1583910801
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.98 x 0.67 x 9.02 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,303,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book helped immensely. It wasn't "just" academic or "just" stories, but melded the two in a really helpful way; knowing that there isn't one RIGHT way to do live on and trying to accept that forever is forever changed, but that doesn't have to be the end of memory and even joy and laughter at times. It's still hard, this helps a little.
The only other really good book I used was A Grief Observed by CS Lewis. It just spoke to me for some reason.
Blessings and prayers to all who have the misfortune to need this book.
For a parent who is stumbling through grief it is extremely unfair to expect them to accept their child's death as `God's will' and to tell them that they need to start `moving on', `getting closure' and other equally nonsensical ideas. This makes the grieving parent feel guilty and a failure when they can't heal as quickly as others expect them to and it's very unkind.
Many models of grief therapy are damaging to the healing of a parent who has lost a child. For instance, the Gestalt approach is orientated towards integrating loss into our self-identity and finding a way to re-invest in a future without our precious child. While this is positive, the end goal of Gestalt therapy is closure, being able to say `goodbye'.
What these therapists don't appreciate is that the death of a child is the most catastrophic life event that can befall a person. I have lost a mother and two very close friends whom I loved dearly. But I was able to say goodbye and move on, keeping memories of them in my heart and from time to time I think fondly or regretfully of them. These deaths did not disrupt my life for more than a fortnight. My self-identity was not ripped apart and I could function despite my sadness.
I have lived with a broken heart for nearly 4 years now. I am proud of myself for continuing to function, for the way I reach out to the living, invest time and energy into new projects and for making it my goal to be optimistic and grateful. But to tell me I should achieve closure is unrealistic and emotionally cruel.
The other cruelty I have come across is the concept that experiences of receiving signs from your dead child or having visions of them and dream visits from them is dismissed as hallucination; and if this is prolonged, an indication of pathological grief. If this is true, then I would like to know how normal robust, fun-loving 21 year old boys who played rugby with my son still phone me and email me now to tell me about the signs they get and the dream experiences they have with my son who was their captain and close mate. Are they also experiencing pathological grief? I think not.
Everyone in our community knew me as `Markie's mom'. I do not want to stop being Markie's mom. I believe his spirit is always with me - that we are connected for eternity. We all receive signs from him and he still visits his brothers and his parents in dreams. In the dreams he sometimes tells us of things that will happen in the future that we know nothing about and don't understand but then a week or a month later those things will happen. Many of these accounts are shared in the legacy section of his website [...] We celebrate each of his birthdays. Every year on the anniversary of his death we light candles for him and have a dinner with music and tributes to him and talk about the profound effect his love and life had, and continues to have, on us all.
The term closure is a myth that should never be applied to the death of a child. I moderate an internet grief group for parents who have lost a teenage child and I have done voluntary grief counselling with over 100 bereaved parents. Every single one of them lives with the hope of one day being reunited with their child. It is the single most important motivation for trying to live on meaningfully.
If my leg was amputated from the knee down after an accident, none of my friends or medical care givers would expect me to walk as fast as I used to. None of my friends would say to me after 4 years: "Oh come on now, losing the bottom half of your leg is not such a big deal, why don't you just try to do the 12m hike with us."
I would know that when I over-exerted myself or in the cold winter months I would be likely to experience stabbing pain in the stump that was my knee and I wouldn't feel guilty because my leg was sore. For the rest of my life, I would live as best as I could, but my life would be built around accommodating my disability and pain.
A broken heart is not a tangible condition that people can see so they quickly forget that every day, it takes more energy, more effort, more self-discipline and more courage to live than it does for others who have not had their future shattered and their hearts ripped open.
WHAT FOREVER MEANS AFTER THE DEATH OF A CHILD supports everything I have felt and experienced. Reading the research findings encourage me enormously. Dr Talbot's approach does not advocate saying goodbye to your child. Rather it encourages maintaining a relationship with your spirit child, incorporating their legacy and their memory into the life we live now without them physically with us on earth.
The sub-title expresses this: LIVING WITH THE LOSS - NOT getting over the loss. You never get over the death of a child; you just learn to live in a new and different way. The pain does not go away. Telling parents that it should places an incredible burden on them to perform and makes them feel hopelessly isolated and inadequate.
Bereaved parents are amongst the bravest and best people in this world. We are survivors of a traumatic and catastrophic life-changing event. We need life-long support and encouragement and we should be applauded every day we get out of bed and smile at someone. Thank you Kay Talbot!