Helpful reading ... there are so many books and resources available, and I will add to these as time goes on. Please check with your local library, or contact Bereaved Families of Ontario and Compassionate Friends/US/Ottawa for resources and also with other bereaved parents; chances are, they have a long list to share.
HEALING AFTER LOSS; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief.
by Martha Whitmore HIckman.
My sister bought this book for me five months after Matthew's death. It was an extremely dark time for me, and this book was a Godsend. Each day upon awakening after almost no sleep at all, I would read the entry and hold on to the words Martha wrote as she journyed through her grief after the sudden death of her 16 year old daughter.
Some days made the entries made no sense at all, but other days, I would re read it 3 or 4 times a day. I still keep this book at my bedside, and read it on days that I need that extra support.
The Grief Club, by Melody Beattie
Beattie writes about the death of her 12 year old son. This book appealed to me because of the title. I read some of Beattie's other books years ago and had no idea that she too is a bereaved mom.
Writing helped her through her dark time. From this book, which I read about a year later, I learned that we do what we need to do, whatever works to get us through.
HOW TO GO ON LIVING WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE DIES,
by Therese A. Rando.
A good friend of mine who is also a therapist, purchased this book for me a few months after Matthew died.
Therese Rando is renowned for her work and published work on grief and loss. As a psychologist, she provides an overview of the process of moving through grief. She writes about the heady explanations as to why we do not feel thirsty, why we can not eat or want to eat too much, why we can not sleep, why we are unable to concentrate and why we are experiencing the roller coaster feelings. And, what I found helpful was why we may be rethinking everything we ever thought and every decision we ever made. And how other losses in our lives will come to the forefront at this time now.
Although I found this book to be a heavy read at times, when I was ready, it became a very helpful resource.
The below reading list was put together by Brenda, one of the volunteer moms; she is a librarian and also a bereaved mom. Thank you Brenda.
Healing A Parent’s Grieving
Heart: 100 Practical Ideas / Alan D.
Presenting simple yet highly
effective methods for coping and healing, this book provides answers and relief
to parents trying to deal with the loss of a child. It offers 100 practical,
action-oriented tips for embracing grief, such as: writing a letter to the
child who has died, spending time with others who will listen to the story of
your grief, creating a memory book, box, or Web site; and remembering others
who may still be struggling with the death. This guide discusses common
problems for grieving parents such as dealing with marital stress, helping
surviving siblings, dealing with hurtful advice, and exploring feelings of
guilt. This compassionate resource will aid parents who have been through the
death of a child, whether the passing was recent or many years ago, and whether
the child was young or an adult.
Understanding Grief: Helping Yourself Heal / Alan D. Wolfelt
resource helps guide the bereaved person through the loss of a loved one, and
provides an opportunity to learn to live with and work through the personal
grief process. Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding
the death and the person who has died. It is an essential part of healing. You
are beginning a journey that is often frightening, painful, overwhelming, and
sometimes lonely. This book provides practical suggestion to help you move
toward healing in your personal grief experience.
When the Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter
/ Judith R. Bernstein, Ph.D.
When the Bough Breaks presents a
breakthrough concept of mourning, documenting the process of evolution from
initial grief to an altered outlook on life. Excerpts from interviews with 50
parents who lost a child from five to forty-five trace the road from utter
devastation to a revised view of life, resulting in a work that is a tribute to
resilience and the indomitable human spirit.
Author Judith R. Bernstein, Ph.D., speaks from the dual perspectives of
bereaved parent and psychologist. She weaves keen psychological insight with
the voices of parents to achieve an intelligent volume that is at once
heartbreaking and heartwarming. The wisdom of her science and her heart combine
to result in a book that teaches the psychology of bereavement with profound
Living After Losing A Child / Ellen Mitchell
Having lost a child, nine mothers
met in a support group; now, under the direction of Newsday contributor
Mitchell, they share what has helped them get up every morning and move through
their grief. They discuss how relationships can be strained, why there simply
is no answer to the question "why?" and what they do when a longtime
acquaintance crosses the street to avoid talking to them. A chapter devoted to
fathers reveals how they grieve differently than mothers. The thoughts and
feelings related here are incredibly honest and courageous and would greatly
assist any parent who has lost a child and feels alone.
The Worst Loss:
How Families Heal from the Death of a Child / Barbara D. Rosof
Rosof, a child psychotherapist who
has worked for many years with families who have lost children, offers a clear,
sympathetic, no-nonsense guide to surviving "a loss like no other."
Using effective anecdotes from her practice, she explains why grieving is
necessary, the stages of grief parents and sibling will likely go through,
possible barriers to grieving, and learning to let go and create a new life.
Throughout, she stresses that parents will never be the same as they were
before their child's death. Rosof wisely deals with specifics such as coping
with the death of a newborn or death from illness, murder, suicide, and
accidents, though inevitably there is some ground she cannot cover, e.g., a
stepparent's grief and the loss of an adult child or sibling. Nevertheless,
parents mourning the loss of a child will find that Rosof's many insights ring
The Grieving Garden: Living With the Death of A Child / Suzanne
Redfern & Susan K. Gilbert
Grieving parents Redfern and
Gilbert, along with 20 others, fill a void in the literature of child loss that
both discovered after the death of a daughter; having "devoured every
grief-related bit of writing," they found no relief for their escalating
isolation: "what I needed wasn't information, but company." Unadorned
by "expert" commentary, Redfern and Gilbert address directly the
personal experience of living out "a parent's worst fear" with the
voices of those who have. Organized by issue (24, in six sections) rather than
contributor, it's easy to find a wide variety of perspectives on specific
challenges ("Surviving the First Few Days," "Pursuing
Counseling," "Encountering the Void" and "Continuing the
Connection"). Parents take turns weighing in on each issue in
conversational first-person contributions (most solicited in written
interviews), occasionally including journal entries, verse and straightforward
guidance (especially helpful is the long view provided by Martin Katz, whose
son died in 1981). A "More About Us" section provides photos and
brief profiles. A variety of backgrounds and circumstances, along with a shared
dedication to speak out on a notoriously unspeakable loss, make this brave volume
cathartic and comforting; grieving parents may well find it invaluable.
How to Go on Living When Some You
Love Dies / Therese A. Rando, Ph.D.
Mourning the death of a loved one
is a process all of us will go through at one time or another. But wherever the
death is sudden or anticipated, few of us are prepared for it or for the grief
it brings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve; each person's response to
loss will be different. Now, in this compassionate, comprehensive guide,
Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., bereavement specialist and author of Loss And
Anticipatory Grief, leads you gently through the painful but necessary
process of grieving and helps you find the best way for yourself. Whether the death was sudden of expected,
from accident, illness, suicide, homicide, or natural causes, Dr. Rando will
help you learn to: understand and resolve your grief; talk to children about
death; resolve unfinished business; take care of yourself; accept the help and
support of others; get through holidays and other difficult times of the year;
plan funerals and personal bereavement rituals.
There is no way around the pain of loss, but there is a way through it.
Dr. Rando offers the solace, comfort, and guidance to help you accept your loss
and move into your new life without forgetting your treasured past.
Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart /
According to Levine,
"unattended sorrow," even years after a loss, casts a shadow over
one's entire life. In this valuable addition to the literature on mourning and
bereavement, Levine writes in a soothing voice informed by many of the
principles of Buddhism, but also encompassing all the major spiritual
traditions. Levine (A Gradual Awakening), who has done grief counseling
with concentration camp survivors, Vietnam vets and many others,
points out that a new loss may be intensified by earlier, unresolved griefs
about the death or divorce of parents, the loss of a sibling or other
psychological traumas. Levine identifies three stages on the path to easing the
anguish of loss: softening the pain, cultivating mercy and making peace with
the pain. He recommends a number of techniques, including a breathing exercise
to loosen a stomach constricted by fear and denial and periods of silent time
spent meditating or walking. All of his easy-to-follow suggestions involve
extending kindness and forgiveness to the self, which, Levine says, will lead
to the practice of dealing with others in the spirit of mercy and love.
Although, as Levine acknowledges, the healing process is slow, opening the
pain-filled heart can lead to the unfolding of a new life.
Kimberly Ryan is a bereaved mother. Her son Matthew died suddenly in August 2009 at the age of 27 as a result of complications from addictions. Kimberly had been involved in meditation and alternative health modalities long before the tragic loss of her son, and now uses her knowledge and wellness background to offer a place for other moms who are bereaved. Please contact Kimberly at:
Phone: +1 519 909 9644
The next retreat is scheduled for the last weekend in September 29th, 30th, Oct. 1st, 2017.
Please contact Kimberly to register as space is limited.
Welcome ALL mothers who are bereaved. There is no time frame on our grief., if your loss was longer ago or recent. Each of us has experienced the death of a child. We gather together to support, gain strength and provide comfort. Please do not hesitate to contact me for a chat and learn more about who I am, what this is all about, and discuss if this is good timing for you.