The list of books available for review appeared in my inbox. I scanned it over, and my eyes landed and paused on one title: Experiencing the Loss of a Family Member, by H. Norman Wright.
The next day, I was drawn back to the same e-mail, and thought about how the book might help me understand the grief of others in a more empathetic way.
So I clicked “Request.”
When the book arrived, it took me a while to muster up the courage to open its cover.
I was afraid of what I might find inside.
As the review deadline approached, so did the third anniversary of my mom’s death. I still didn’t want to pull off the bandage and gape at the wound, but I couldn’t wait any longer.
I had to read the book.
Within the first few pages, it was clear that H. Norman Wright is more than qualified to broach this touchy subject of a person’s grief. Besides his extensive experience as a grief and trauma therapist and a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist, he himself has lived through tremendous personal loss.
He writes from the intimate perspective of the bereaved.
By the night of the anniversary of my mom’s death, I had made it to the chapter on losing a child. I laid in bed that evening, already emotionally strung out from trying to act normal all day, and I had to stop mid-chapter.
I just couldn’t fathom the agony of losing a child.
My heart ached within me at the very thought of it, and I had to close the book for the lump that swelled in my throat.
The very next morning, I woke to an e-mail with gut-wrenching news. Some dear friends of ours had received a devastating diagnosis for their child.
The dam broke, and I cracked. Floods of tears flowed all day long as I grieved for them. For the news. For the brokenness in the world.
I thought of the book, and its usefulness at such a time as this. If nothing else, as a means to know how to pray. To get a glimpse into the common struggles of those who grieve, and to lift them up to the One who “is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
This book also challenged me to “never compare your grief with another’s; your grief is your own” (p. 11). This is an area in which I admit I have failed. I’ve personally felt so acquainted with grief over the years that I’ve naively assumed that I know what it’s like.
But my experience is my own, and grief comes in all shapes and sizes.
I can’t presume that others live it and breathe it and taste it the same way that I do.
Sure, there are broad categories that likely affect everyone when it comes to grief, but even that doesn’t mean it will happen at the same time, or for the same duration.
This book has helped me to be more sensitive to that, and to reconsider the countless facets of this ever-changing creature of grief.
May the Lord use it to minister to many who know the intense and lingering pain of loss.
Related Post: An Open Letter to Grief
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. Also, this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.