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The 1 Book on Grief that Will Express How You Really Feel

I spent 10 years as a pastor and officiated close to 60 funerals during that time. I have experienced severe loss in my own life as well. There are simply no easy answers for grief. In American culture it is common to respond with what is known as ‘replace the loss’ (rarely if ever a good idea). For instance, when a pet dies people will often respond, “You will get a new one.”

But what if, as Dr. Josefowitz shares, you are faced with Living Without the One You Cannot Live Without? What if there are no words to describe the pain, and it seems there is no one that can understand?

Indeed, many people struggle to find anyone who can relate to their pain. I was often mystified at how inconsiderate and oblivious people seemed to be when they would rush to cut in front of a funeral procession. One family was in mourning, while another could not be bothered to be inconvenienced by their grief.

Dr. Josefowitz has an honesty that is captured in her poetry as she walks us quickly through her husband’s demise and then through the long valley after his death. Funerals can be brutal, both physically and mentally. As she bares her soul (“how much pain one can bear without dying from it”), she refreshingly expresses what some may find taboo to vocalize (“there is a pervasive sadness about objects once owned and treasured by a man I loved that now need to find usefulness elsewhere”), including the struggle to maintain “a Xanax smile” while shaking hands at the funeral for her husband.

Her journey is painful, as is anyone’s after such a loss. Her words are cathartic, leaving no stone unturned as she grapples with life apart from her husband (“last time I was single I was twenty”).

I feel her book, while being a welcome resource for someone in the grieving process, would also serve well for those who know someone facing a great loss. Her words are a great help for people who don’t know what to say, and filled with lessons about what not to say. Empty platitudes aside, simply being present without saying anything can be the best way to serve someone in their valley of darkness. That, and quietly offering to leave behind this book or other resources from Cleveland's Joseph Beth Booksellers, which with grace and comfort expresses what a soul feels like when it has been torn in two.

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