Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Grief and Loss revisited

My mother died in December of 1984, eight days before Christmas. She was 65 years old and I wasn't ready to lose her. I floundered at the time and have been floundering in one way or another ever since. I wanted to keep her in my life as a beloved nurturing presence. I'm sure my siblings felt exactly the same. I think we all reverted to children in our hearts when she died. Her loss transformed us into orphans. No aspect of my life has been the same for me since 1984.

Over the years I read books on grief and loss. I had my head shrunk by experts. Nothing helped or made sense. Recently I had the good fortune to read a journal about grief and loss by another soul floundering in the aftermath of a loved one's death. Something in this man's struggles spoke to me as no other book had. How did I learn about this book? I knew the writer, and empathized with his struggles. His simple words, gouged from a grieving spirit, helped me understand -- where nothing else had -- that human grief is a refining fire we all must face eventually as an unwelcome part of life.

You won't find this book on amazon or at your local book store. It was published by the Idaho State University Press. The author is Michael Corrigan and this is by far the most helpful personal narrative of grief and loss I've ever read.

The title A Year and a Day was taken from the Irish tradition of mourning a death for one year and one day. During that time, Corrigan kept a journal documenting the shock, horror, rage and grief he felt while trying to survive the death that shattered his life.
If you're grieving a devastating loss and your mind has reached the point where you can process information, this is the book to read. You'll have to order it directly from the Idaho State University press at 208-282-3215 or email the editor William Harwood at harwbill@isu.edu.

1 comment:

John Guzlowski said...

Hi, Laurel, thanks for this note. I have been having a runnning conversation with a friend about loss via email and in my blogs, and I will pass your recommendation on to her.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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