Harnessing the Power of Grief

by Julie Potter, MSW, LCSW
MSI Press
book review by Barbara Bamberger Scott

“Exploring the many ways grief may manifest helps you to accept what you are experiencing as normal and to accept the experience of others.”

With her background in coordinating hospital-based bereavement programs, author Potter presents a depth of information for anyone in the midst of grief, anticipating grieving circumstances, or looking back on the intensity of loss and reacting to that memory. She examines the way different cultures, past and present, accept and incorporate grief. She presents four “tasks” for the grieving person to follow: accepting the reality of loss, experiencing the pain, adjusting to the world without a loved one, and embarking on a new life that will include rituals and reminders of the departed. Variables include whether the death is sudden or expected, whether the grief begins with a gradual loss (as in the case of a partner with Alzheimer’s), how the death changes our routines of life, and factors impacted by our particular psychological make-up. Potter also provides suggestions for friends of the bereaved and reminds readers that though a grieving person often feels isolated, “we are all in this together alone.”

Potter’s wide-ranging manual of grieving and growth stems from her professional knowledge and includes many personal vignettes from that realm of observation. She recognizes that though each of us must grieve in our own way, there is a commonality of the process that can allow for considered activities. She includes helpful tables that readers can utilize, such as columns comparing/contrasting “Fears I am experiencing” and “Angers I am experiencing.” With wisdom that ranges from humorist Art Buchwald and philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh to author C. S. Lewis and psychologist William Worden, she portrays the reality of grief that encompasses many scenarios and personalities. With fresh, highly informative material on every page, Potter offers intelligent, sensitive guidelines meriting thoughtful study, along with pragmatic, readily accessible approaches from which anyone can benefit at any stage of the grief experience.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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