The loss of a spouse/partner is something totally incomprehensible for a person who has not gone through the experience. The advice from another person, no matter how educated or well-meaning, will never be taken entirely to heart because the widow(er) will always think “but you can’t truly understand.” That is why this book is so good and why it is so very necessary. Linda Donovan, in After Loss, speaks from a place of knowledge. She, too, has felt that deep crushing loss. Her words of advice and comfort will reach those grieving like no one else’s possibly can because she was where they are now and is proof that they can, and will be, in a better place in their own time.
In the introduction, Donovan discusses how she suddenly came to the realization that it was time to begin rebuilding her life after the loss of her husband. After her daughter left for college, she was living alone for the first time in her life. While Donovan sat at the table with her Jack Russell Terrier, Roxy, in the chair across from her, placing her paw on the table when she was ready for another helping of chicken, she knew it was clearly the time to seek human interaction once more. This moment was the catalyst for writing this book.
Before Donovan begins the work of the book, she tells the reader early in her introduction to read the index to her book— first if their loss has been recent—because there are specific strategies that she found necessary for getting through that first year. Then, Donovan begins with a chapter called “Working through the Tasks of Grief,” which gives the reader some tools, like journaling or mood diaries for self-care, which can help them deal with emotional issues that are unresolved. She then moves into chapters that deal with strategies for moving forward and taking control of finances, decluttering, and travel, eventually even tackling the possibility of pursuing a new romantic relationship in time.
Though it is laid out like a ‘how-to’ for grieving, it reads like a letter from a good friend. Imagine sitting in a coffee shop with someone you trust, because you know that they have been through exactly what you are going through now. Donovan may not be able to immediately take that terrible pain away, because that isn’t possible, but she can sit with you, give you some solid advice, and help you see that you have a positive future ahead.
|Buy this Book