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Bookworm: A must read for those suffering grief and loss

At a time of weather disaster, contentious politics, relationships lost, and the end of a pandemic, you may want to reach for what’s inside here

Marco Eagle

“What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help You Through Any Loss”

  • By Eleanor Haley, MS, and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C
  • c. 2022, Quirk Books
  • $19.99, 304 pages

It’s your loss. How many times have you heard that, or blithely and dismissively said it, as if it’s not worthy of your time or attention? How many times have you written it reflexively, never thinking about its meaning? And now it really is your loss, and in “What’s Your Grief?” by Eleanor Haley, MS, and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C, you can learn to cope with it.

“What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help You Through Any Loss” by Eleanor Haley, MS, and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C.

Gone. That’s a word we’ve all experienced too much in the past almost-three years – jobs, friends, finances, health, homes, gone. And now you’re bereft in a way that may seem familiar, especially if you’ve ever lost a loved one.

But grief isn’t just tethered to death, say the authors. It doesn’t take a predictable multi-step process, either, or there’s simply no way to know what someone is going through when they grieve because grieving is a personal process that can’t be mapped.

There are even several types of grief. If you anticipate a loss, if you grieve someone who’s not who they used to be, if you grieve for what will never be, or if you suffer loss after loss in quick succession, you are still grieving.

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You may have “mixed-up emotions” at this time, feelings you never expected to feel. New grief might recall old losses. You might find strength within yourself, or you might learn to cope, to accept, to make room in your life for your grief, but you may never “go back to being the person you were before experiencing loss.”

“What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help You Through Any Loss” author Eleanor Haley, MS, and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C.

Understand that you may have some “grief-related anxiety” or reactions to daily stressors that you didn’t anticipate. You may feel relief that a long-time-coming loss has finally arrived. You might feel jealousy or nothing at all. These are natural if you’ve experienced loss.

Don’t “compare losses” but do reach for the right kind of coping mechanisms. Recognize the signs that you’re “making progress” and don’t beat yourself up if you backslide. Lean on your support system and remember: grief can be ongoing ...

In what may seem like miles and miles and miles of shelves full of books on grieving, here’s a definite outlier: “What’s your Grief?” doesn’t just tackle grieving over death.

It tackles grief, period.

If you think, for instance, about the last time you lost an important thing and how upset that made you, then you understand the need for a book like this. Authors Eleanor Haley and Litsa Williams point out that we can grieve over any kind of loss of any size, there’s no shame in it, it’s not silly, and grieving has no set process. Information like that may seem intuitive but actually seeing it in print is very helpful; readers may notice a bit of repetition inside this book but in the end, that’s helpful, too.

At a time of weather disaster, contentious politics, relationships lost, and the end of a pandemic, you may want to reach for what’s inside here, For anyone who needs this kind of book, “What’s Your Grief?” is a win.

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The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books. Read past columns at marconews.com.