A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies

Front Cover
Hazelden Publishing, Sep 1, 2000 - Family & Relationships - 295 pages
1 Review
How Two Grieving Mothers Found Inspiration and Comfort

There are few, if any, events in life as traumatic, heart-wrenching, and crushing as the death of a child. While nothing can mute the pain of such a life-shattering loss, others who know this experience can help those suffering articulate the chaos of their feelings and see that they can, eventually, feel whole again.

Organized by a journalist and a psychotherapist, each of whom has lost a child, A Broken Heart Still Beats is a remarkable compilation of poetry, fiction, and essays about the pain, stages of grief, and the coping and healing process that follows the death of one's child. The chapters are organized thematically and chronologically, from "Thunderstruck," the point at which parents first learn they have lost a child, to "The Legacy of Loss," wherein the authors and the anthology selections speak to the "steely hard and cold" life lessons this type of bereavement brings.

This compilation of poems and excerpts draws from short stories, novels, biographies, and autobiographies that focus on the death of a child as relayed through classic and contemporary world literature. It is made up of works by some of the best writers and thinkers present and past, many of them bereaved parents as well, ranging from Mark Twain, Isabel Allende, William Shakespeare, John Edgar Wideman, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Anne Tyler, and Sophocles to Eric Clapton and Winston Churchill. Biographical introductions personalize the excerpts, often offering new insights into well-known writers like William Faulkner and Rudyard Kipling. This book's anthologized selections make it truly exceptional.

This book expresses the universal themes of grief--and the common points of these experiences and feelings--in language and imagery that goes straight to the heart. The fact that each of the authors has lost a child brings a powerful authenticity to the book. Bereaved parents and family members as well as mental health professionals, bereavement counselors, and those interested in grief literature will all find this book extremely valuable.

"As one who has experienced the tragic, untimely death of a child, I have found this anthology of similar experiences an excellent source of comfort and healing."
--George McGovern, former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate.

"By putting words to what is surely the most unspeakable of life's losses, this eloquent and painfully honest book may help make the darkness a little less dark, the loneliness a little less lonely."
--Judith Viorst, author of Necessary Losses

Born and raised in new York, Mary Semel graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore. She is a psychotherapist who, after working for many years at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, now has a private practice. Her sixteen-year-old son, Alexander, was killed in a car accident in 1991.

Anne McCracken is a former newspaper reporter and feature writer. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, Tom, and her daughter, Hollis. She lost her five-year-old son, Jake, in 1989.

The authors have appeared on "The Today Show" and National Public Radio's "Morning Edition."

 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaulsu - LibraryThing

Jon Barton, from the Virginia Council of Churches, recommended this book highly. It is an anthology of journals, pieces of novels, poetry, etc., of people who have lost children through a variety of ... Read full review

Contents

Thunderstruck
3
What Kind of Universe Is This Anyway?
29
A Storm in the Heart Pain and Despair
51
Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 10 291932
64
Jim Simmerman Childs Grave Hale County Alabama
70
A Storm in the Heart Anger and Guilt
79
Parents Lost in the Storm Together
103
Sisters and Brothers Grieve
135
Especially Bad Days
165
Complicated Loss
175
We Feel Like Aliens in the World
199
A Fire in the Mind Memories Dreams Fantasies
227
Time Moves Differently
251
The Legacy of Loss
261
References
293
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2000)

Anne McCracken is a former newspaper reporter & feature writer who has written about such topics as battered women, Vietnam veterans, abuse of the elderly, teen pregnancy, & AIDs. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, Tom, & her 11-year-old daughter, Hollis. She lost her son, Jake, in 1989.

Born & raised in metropolitan New York, Mary Semel worked as a social worker in the Maryland welfare department, held part-time positions for the Salvation Army & the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, & for 10 years, worked in chemical dependency treatment at Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Psychiatric Hospital. Her son, Alexander, was killed in a car accident in 1991.

Bibliographic information