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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
160 pages
Sep 2006
Baker Publishing Group

Traveling through Grief: Learning to Live Again after the Death of a Loved One

by Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. DeVries

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


The authors have experienced deep grief after the loss of first spouses, brothers, grandparents and parents, so they approach the subject from a personal understanding of the grieving process. Together, they have written other books dealing with death, and they speak regularly on grief related topics, she being a licensed clinical psychologist, and he being an ordained pastor.

This book is divided into 8 sections, namely: “Detour Ahead,” “No U-Turn on Your Journey,” “Detours are Frustrating,” “Saying Good-Bye to the Old Road,” “Setting My Sights on a New Direction,” “Heading for a Clear Road Ahead,” “Taking Children Along on the Grief Journey,” and “The End of the Detour--Making It to the Other Side of Grief.” Each of these sections has a mental health perspective and a spiritual perspective, clearly titled, allowing the reader to partake of both aspects, or a preferential one. These also help in other troubling areas of one's life, since the grieving process can be associated with divorce, the loss of one's health, and a job loss.

The Mental Health Perspective gets on with the how in plain and simple terms, while the Spiritual Perspective begins with appropriate Scripture and ends with a prayer. This is most comforting to one who relies upon God for his strength, courage, and peace of mind during troubling times; in fact, this reader wonders how anyone can get through the death of a loved one without Christ in his life.

The authors are compassionate in their statements, but I tend to disagree with one stated aspect of dealing with grief--that of "using your senses to assimilate the reality of your loved one's death by helping prepare your loved one's body by bathing or dressing it, styling the person's hair, or applying the cosmetics if you wish to do so." This was introduced to me over a year ago when a young woman had a stillborn baby and was told to name her, bathe her, and dress her in going- home clothes, then to sit and rock her, allowing family members to do the same. It would seem that swaddling the baby and holding her for a short time would have been sufficient.

Grieving the loss of those we love is a process that can leave one stronger or weaker, but allowing oneself to recognize the following five universal components during the journey will help.

1. Physical changes-- meaning that rest, nutrition and exercise are important.
2. Emotional changes--life may seem overwhelming and worrisome.
3. Cognitive changes--making major decisions should wait for a time.
4. Behavioral changes--apathy, withdrawal, procrastination, refusal to leave home or to go to work.
5. Spiritual changes--questioning why God allowed this to happen and examining one's belief about life after death.

The authors identify tasks and principles with specific ways of working through one's grief, and they do it well, reminding the reader that getting on with his life is very important. – Sharon I. Rideout, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

You can live life to the fullest even after a loved one dies.

Traveling through Grief is a compassionate resource to help you find your road to recovery and discover a fulfilling life after the death of a loved one or friend. The authors, both of whom lost spouses before marrying each other, are grief counselors who show you five specific tasks to work through to aid in healing. From exploring your feelings to sifting through memories, reshaping a sense of self-identity to reengaging in your own life, these crucial tasks help you handle grief with purpose and intention. Thoughts on how loss affects both your spiritual and mental well-being are covered separately, so you can choose which is most helpful--or read the sections together for the fullest exploration of healing.

Your experience of grief will change your journey forever. Let Traveling through Grief help you develop a life that can become rich and rewarding again.