Baby Boomers Face Grief: Survival and Recovery

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Trafford Publishing, 2006 - Family & Relationships - 100 pages
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Ninety million baby boomers will, in the next 20 years, face the loss of one or both parents. This book discusses society's lack of acceptance of grief in general and the way past generations have taught us to deal with this life event. Time will heal., They had a good life are some examples of empty phrases so often used when dealing with loss. The reader is taken on a journey in this book by providing support and understanding of the grieving process. In this writer's opinion this generation, known as the baby boomers, through the sheer force of their numbers, has the ability to make positive changes in the way this and succeeding generations handle grief. The grieving process is explained; how it differs for all of us; that there is no right way to grieve and that the pain of grieving cannot be avoided. Suggestions are offered for managing grief. Ceremonies and rituals surround death and grieving is discussed and suggestions about how to structure a meaningful ceremony to honour loved ones are given. The book makes it clear that change can occur in our society, with this generation, that will allow people to manage grief in a constructive way; that sharing experience can allow others to be more prepared and more open in dealing with this life altering experience and that people can find comfort in knowing that others have had similar experiences. This book allows a glimpse into what we will all face and some strategies to cope with our loss, in an easy to read, personal narrative format. FORWARD BY Dennis Walker MSW Individuals facing bereavement differ in many significant ways. However, they often have in common the experience of isolation and of being unable to measure the "normalcy" of their loss. As a counselor it is important to be able to recommend a book that deals with the process of grief as a personal experience and which offers non-judgmental ways of measuring its impact on us. Framed in the context of the "boomer" generation Jane starts with her own open discussion of the death of her mother, but extends her discussion to all aspects of loss. She describes how death affects the individual, his or her relationships, as well as how societal attitudes can worsen the impact of loss on us all. She gives specific ideas about the preparation before the impact of loss and the suggestions for constructively dealing with the aftermath of death. From the outset, she notes that many of us find unexpected change to be difficult. Her book provides a careful antidote to the tendencies in our culture to avoid facing grief and to the "quick fixing" of personal loss. Throughout, the theme is that of not judging one's reactions; of not trying "to do grief according to the book"; to stay open to the possibility that grief can eventually create change. Her book is open, practical and ultimately conveys a strong and positive message to anyone struggling with loss. In the past I have feared recommending books about loss, as they can in spite of their intent, leave people feeling worse. This book will leave people feeling confirmed in their experience and hopeful for their future. Dennis Walker September 2005

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About the author (2006)

INTRODUCTION – WHY WRITE NOW? Death is inevitable. Death is always premature no matter how old you are. Everyone knows that it will happen to them and to the people they love most in the world. Parents often come to mind first, as we usually survive our parents. This is often the first significant experience we have with death. Even though it may be an event that we can foresee, it takes a greater toll on us than we could ever anticipate or imagine. Also unexpected, is the change people go through as a result of a loved one's death. Too bad there's not a school where you could enroll to get through one of the most difficult experiences of your life. If there were, it would mean that we were talking about this subject and that people experiencing the same reactions would be listening, sharing and helping others through this life transition. A death is the trigger for a powerful emotional rollercoaster ride. It is a life-altering event that will stop you in your tracks and is not talked about enough in our society. This is particularly true after the funeral when things have returned to so-called "normal". You would gladly give your seat up on this ride, which could not be classed as an amusement ride. There is nothing amusing about it. Since most of us will have this experience, I want to warn you about a period in your life that will happen no matter what you do or don't do to prepare. What I have been talking about is GRIEF. Since it is not appreciated, valued or given the respect it deserves in our society, it is difficult to engage people in conversation about the subject. Unfortunately, however, it has the potential to be a life-altering emotion that can result in very positive or very destructive consequences. It has been talked about and written about by many professionals, but go into any big bookstore and compare the section on death, dying and bereavement to that on weight loss, how to find your soulmate or many other self-help subjects and you will see what our society values. The magnitude of grief in our lives and how it subsequently affects everyone around you is not easily seen. It becomes a well-hidden burden shortly after the funeral. Grief has become "off limits" as an acceptable subject of conversation in our society. Grief is one of the next life stages baby boomers will be facing together. By their numbers alone, they have had a tremendous effect on society in many ways. How could the ninety million of this generation in North America not continue to influence our culture? There has never been a time in history that business has had such a distinct market to target any number of products. All research for new product development first looks at the baby boomers to see what they need now and in the future. Sometimes being part of such a large group is comforting, as there will be many others to talk to about similar life situations. You relate to people the same age with similar life experiences, who understand you. Look at all the magazine articles targeted to this age group. I feel sorry for our parents or the generation Xer's who must be sick of reading about the trials and tribulations of the baby boomers. Our parents are saying, "Been there, done that!" and the Xer's are saying, "Who cares about us?" Every boomer life event is analyzed and reported on. Boomers have become information connoisseurs. Having grown up in the information age, they crave and receive information about everything and anything. This generation has been the impetus for the self-help era and their desire for knowledge is insatiable. This generation will be going through the most difficult time in their lives – together! We are approaching the age where losing people we love, that have always been in our lives, will become a reality and a tragedy. Our major loss will be the death of our parents, but grief can occur when we lose anything significant. Although there is comfort in numbers, many baby boomers will not be

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