Wednesday, October 21, 2009

159 - Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning to Live Again; Roberta Temes, PH.D

If you have lost a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker, or if you've maybe experienced some trauma that has changed your life, grieving that event is perfectly normal and natural.

It is through grief and the grieving process, that we are able to heal, and to find new strength to help us continue on our journey that is life.

In Roberta Teme's new book, Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning to Live Again, the author gives the reader practical advice in a compassionate way to help us as individuals cope with our loss.

The author suggests the following ways to help those who are grieving:

 The Ten Best Ways To Offer Solace To Someone Who is Bereaved

1. Don't be shy. Talk to the bereaved, even if you are uncomfortable doing so. Remember that they are in far more discomfort than you. Call or email to say that you are thinking of them and would like to be useful.
2. Volunteer to drive them places. They will have immediate chores to do at a bank, a funeral home, and an attorney's office. Often they prefer company while doing these tasks but if not then you simply wait in the car.
3. Volunteer to bring over food. After the initial week or two, most family members will have resumed their usual schedules and are no longer available to literally cater to the bereaved. If the person says that they don't want anything then bring over soup and ice cream. Those are the best foods for a person in mourning because they contain enough calories to maintain nutrition yet require no biting and chewing. It is often difficult to bite or chew when deeply aggrieved.
4. Volunteer to do paper work. There are many forms that need to be filled out and the bereaved may not have the patience. You can ease the job by doing it with the person at your side responding to your questions.
5. Ask about the day of the death. Most people, after a few weeks, need to talk about the circumstances of the death. It helps them process it and absorb the reality. All you need to do is listen. 
6. Help them post something on the Internet. Putting feelings into words for the world to see is a most healing endeavor. 
7. Encourage the bereaved to create something tangible, something they can look at or carry around, that reminds them of their loved one. Suggest they make some personal jewelry from the deceased's jewelry, or perhaps choose some photos to fit into their wallet.
8. After several months, offer to go with them to buy a pet. If the bereaved is now alone in the house and has no reason to get up and get dressed every morning a dog is the answer. 
9. Help expand their social network by finding course offerings at the local community college or library or house of worship. There are always activities that welcome new members. Suggest particular courses and if necessary go with them to the first class.
10. After many months the bereaved will need help in planning for the future. Bring over information about possible trips, vacations, cruises, etc. Having something to look forward to prevents constantly looking back.
But there is much more covered in this helpful book as well, two sections which I found very interesting were: Helping Children Who Are Grieving, and a section on Rituals and Remembering. If you or someone you know has experience a loss, you might want to consider this self-help/grief book.
About the Author

Roberta Temes, Ph.D. (Westfield, NJ) is a noted psychologist who has taught classes in death, dying and bereavement at schools such as Downstate Medical School, CUNY, and University of Pennsylvania Continuing Education for Physicians. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Living with an Empty Chair: A Guide Through Grief.

My Thoughts:  Many books have been written on the grieving process in the past. This particular book was very well written in a simple, yet compassionate style.  Having a family member who is terminally ill at this time, a book like this will be an excellent resource for our entire family.  I am happy to have had the opportunity to read and review this book. Recommended.

(This book was received from Anna S. at FSB Associates)


  1. I'm definitely going to look into this book as I lost my dad in August and have been searching for a way through the grieving process for both me and my family. Thank you.

  2. This does sound like a wonderful book. I think too often we don't know what to do, so we do nothing.

  3. we don't always like to think about things like this, but well will all have to face it in one way or another. it is great to have some concrete ideas of things to do.

  4. This is a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Thank you for posting this list of ideas. This sounds like a valuable book. Wonderful and sensitive review--thanks!

  6. Thanks for sharing this-wise advise

  7. Thanks for posting the list of ideas. I think many of us fear doing the *wrong* thing and then, too often, end up not doing anything. This sounds like a very good book.

  8. This sounds like an excellent book. I feel that in our culture, we have an extraordinarily difficult time dealing with death and grief in a healthy way.

  9. We should have to read something along the lines of this at my middle school, so the staff can understand grief a bit better. In the last month, 5 of our students have lost parents. At times you're not sure what to say to them or how to help.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)