Getting Better: After the Death of a Loved One
In Getting Better, author Joan Liljedahl meets recently bereaved readers right where they are at the beginning of one of the most painful and horrific experiences in life. She touches the heart and soul with a simple message of truth and compassion while holding a light that says, "Yes, and it will get better."
A reassuring balance, Getting Better contains the voices of many hundreds whom she has counseled in their grief plus details from the author's personal story from the death of her 19 year old son, and practical guidance on how to cope, survive and integrate the death of a loved one all in ten short chapters.
Writing from the inside out, the author successfully reaches even to those who, like wounded animals, feel like growling at the sight of an outstretched hand, feel that no one can help, feel that no one can possibly understand.
Getting Better begins with the acknowledgment that "No One Told Me It Would Be Like This," and with "Myths about Death and Dying" which the experience of grief invalidates, then writes her personal story in Chapter 3 "In The Beginning, Chaos."
Taking the reader through the stages of grief gently, honestly, and with humor at just the right times, the author concludes with "Good News The Help Around and Within" and "Getting Better", the last chapter in the book. In her wisdom and experience, Joan avoids rushing readers into "healing and acceptance", and she holds our hand through the dark tunnel of grief, all the while assuring us that there will again be light quite naturally, the healing happens through the grief process itself.
In her final chapter she says "very gently and almost imperceptibly, you will find to your amazement that it's getting better. Perhaps the pain isn't there every single minute of your life, or maybe it's not as intense and powerful as before". She walks the reader through the final phase of the process with her view that one need not accept this death but one does need to live with it or integrate it into life somehow "somber shades are mixed in with the brighter colors, but the fabric is still beautiful," she writes.
In the appendix, Getting Better includes questions relating to each chapter, making the book useful for individuals, bereavement groups, hospice centers, and students and professionals of counseling, mental health and related fields
SOME CHAPTER AND SECTION HEADINGS
"BUT I'M REALLY NOT READY ..."
A most beloved person in your life has just died, and you're starting one of life's most arduous and crucial tasks, the job of grieving ...
"NO ONE TOLD ME IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS..."
IN THE BEGINNING CHAOS
A SIMPLE PHONE CALL
A GLIMPSE OF HELL
MANAGING SO WELL ..... AT FIRST
HITTING THE WALL: CRISIS AT THREE MONTHS
THE TERROR SETS IN
I can't sleep.
I sleep too much.
I can't concentrate on anything.
I wander from room to room and have several things going at once, but I can't complete anything and forget what I'm supposed to be doing. Nothing gets finished. I hear my dear one's voice from the grave. I'm sure I see her at times, the presence is so real.
I cry at the dumbest things and at unexpected times.
I can't cry; maybe I should cry more.
I'm so exhausted. There's no energy anywhere.
To be honest, I wouldn't mind it if I got sick and died, anything to get away from it all.
I seem to have forgotten how to write checks.
I fly off the handle at everyone, I'm so irritable I can't see how people stand me.
I'm in a constant state of panic.
I couldn't breathe and had such chest pain they took me to the emergency room; but it wasn't a heart attack, it was nerves.
This isn't like me. I don't even
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