How We Grieve: Relearning the World
"If one is looking for a book on grief and grieving based on lived experiences rather than more remote psychosocial theories, then Thomas Attig's How We Grieve is the resource to read. Although it is not a brand new book...
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"If one is looking for a book on grief and grieving based on lived experiences rather than more remote psychosocial theories, then Thomas Attig's How We Grieve is the resource to read. Although it is not a brand new book (first published in 1996), in this reviewer's opinion no book published in the last four years comes close to the power of Attig's contribution to understanding the grief process. Attig, a former philosophy professor and past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, uses the power of story to unlock the mystery of the human experience of life and death, and produces a rich treasure of intensely human stories of coping with loss due to death. This book has substance, theory and organization, and is highly readable--packed with the everyday drama of life and death. It is an immensely useful and provocative, sensitive and human, inspiring and engaging book."--America "In this richly rewarding book, Attig, a philosopher who has written and taught extensively about death, bereavement, grief, and grieving, presents his reflections on the grieving process. . . . The author writes in a graceful prose style that is often powerfully metaphorical, but that is nevertheless clear and straightforward. Insightful and enlightening. Highly recommended."--Choice "Attig, through the use of vignettes, takes the reader along on a number of pilgrimages toward resolution; journeys whose starting points may appear to be the same but are, in fact, dissimilar. The need of the person in grief to relearn her/his world (grief resolution) is discussed along with the importance of understanding how this pilgrimage to resolution significantly changes the traveler as well as the way future journeys will be experienced. This book is a must read for anyone who is involved in providing support for individuals in grief."--David K. Meagher, Editor, The Thanatology Newsletter "How We Grieve is a valuable resource in death education courses and workshops, as well as for those who want one good book on death and dying....(It may become a valued handbook for caregivers in hospice, hospitals, and nursing homes." --Death Studies "Attig has written a groundbreaking book, one that may prove to be a cornerstone in a revised theory of grief and its place in human life....I would recommend it to all those who have suffered a loss, as well as those therapists and counselors who attempt to help them." --Robert A. Neimeyer, President, Association for Death Education and Counseling "[Attig] rejects the grief stages and phases offered by Kubler-Ross, Engels, Lindemann, Bowlby, and the medical profession as static and too automatic. Instead he considers grief to be an individualized process. . . [that] should help the survivor make the transition from loving someone in the present to 'loving them in their absence.' This book should prove useful for counselors, survivors, and caregivers alike."--Readings "Attig's How We Grieve: Relearning the World . . . is written in the 'inspirational we' model, with an emphasis on stories as the vehicle for illustrating psychological messages. Attig directly challenges the imagery of 'tasks' and 'stages,' the former associated with J. William Worden's theories . . . Unfortunately, it is difficult to write and 'inspirational' book when the message is that 'mourning never ends' and that, although people will eventually feel better, relearn the world, and form new relationships, this process does not leave them in a state of 'light, warmth, and peace.' On the other hand, Attig insists that an 'active' stance--grieving understood as something we do rather than a fate that befalls us--is a key to enduring it."--Religious Studies Review
What do we do when a friend, relative, or loved one dies? If we wish to understand loss experience, we must learn details of survivors' stories. In How We Grieve, Thomas Attig tells real-life tales to illustrate the poignant disruption of life and suffering that loss entails. He shows how through grieving we meet daunting challenges, make critical choices, and reshape our lives. These intimate treatments of coping hold valuable lessons that address the needs of grieving people and those who hope to support and comfort them. The accounts promote understanding of grief itself, encourage respect for individuality and the uniqueness of loss experiences, show how to deal with helplessness in the face of "choiceless" events, and offers much priceless guidance for caregivers. Grieving is not a process of passively living through stages. Nor is it a clinical problem to be solved or managed by others. How We Grieve shows that grieving is an active, coping process of relearning how to be and act in a world where loss transforms the fabric of our lives. Loss challenges us to relearn things and places; relationships with others, including fellow survivors, the deceased, and even God; and most of all ourselves, including our daily life patterns and the meanings of our own life stories.