How We Grieve: Relearning the World

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - 201 pages
What do we do when a friend, relative, or loved one dies? If we wish to understand loss experience, we must learn details of survivors' stories. In How We Grieve, Thomas Attig tells real-life tales to illustrate the poignant disruption of life and suffering that loss entails. He shows how through grieving we meet daunting challenges, make critical choices, and reshape our lives. These intimate treatments of coping hold valuable lessons that address the needs of grieving people and those who hope to support and comfort them. The accounts promote understanding of grief itself, encourage respect for individuality and the uniqueness of loss experiences, show how to deal with helplessness in the face of "choiceless" events, and offers much priceless guidance for caregivers. Grieving is not a process of passively living through stages. Nor is it a clinical problem to be solved or managed by others. How We Grieve shows that grieving is an active, coping process of relearning how to be and act in a world where loss transforms the fabric of our lives. Loss challenges us to relearn things and places; relationships with others, including fellow survivors, the deceased, and even God; and most of all ourselves, including our daily life patterns and the meanings of our own life stories.

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Listening and Responding
We Need Not Be Helpless
Respecting Individuals When They Grieve
Relearning the World
How Are We to Understand Ourselves in Loss
Elaborating the Image
We Seek New Ways to Complete Our Life Stories
Advantages of the Idea of Relearning Our Selves

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About the author (1996)

Thomas Attig is 1995-96 President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Formerly a professor of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, he has been teaching and writing about death, dying, grief and loss since 1974. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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