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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Road Map for the Grieving Parent

The Bereaved Parent by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff.   Schiff was formerly a reporter, she has written two books on grief and has lectured extensively. She is also a bereaved parent. Her son, Robby, ten, died from complications after heart surgery. Her book is considered a classic guide for bereaved parents and has been recommended for years. In matter-of-fact terms, Schiff discusses the hard stuff and offers help for those who are suffering. She includes stories about her own journey and those of other bereaved parents. Her book is divided into easy to digest chapters discussing subjects such as bereavement and guilt; bereavement and marriage; bereavement and siblings; bereavement and religion; and the far-reaching bereavement and the rest of your life.

Schiff talks about taking small, positive steps even during the beginning stages of grief. Schiff gives examples for these small steps such as cleaning, cooking, or putting on make-up. She cautions that the steps will naturally cause pain, and the individual may not feel like attempting anything else for a period afterwards, but that done in small doses it does move the person forward in a positive manner.

Schiff's book ends with hope for the bereaved parent that there is a way through the sorrow. She notes that the bereaved parent no longer fears the unknown because they have faced the worst and survived. I can relate to her statement that the thought of living for any length of time after the death of my son was an awful thought. However, just like Schiff, as the years have gone my life has moved forward and I have managed to move through the seemingly unendurable pain of the beginning stages of grief to a time when there can be laughter and expectations of future events again. 

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