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Book Review: Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning To Live Again by Roberta Temes, Ph.D.

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Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning To Live Again can give you confidence in yourself to handle the loss, cope, and move forward with time. The author, Roberta Temes, Ph.D., is a psychologist who studied death, dying and bereavement.

Grief is a normal emotional response to loss, and Solace is filled with examples and quotes from people with diverse stories to tell about their loss. The universal experience is generally sadness, loss and eventually, needing to pick up and move on.

The author’s take on the emotional aspects of grieving might be recognized as similar to the feelings we all experience during other major life stress, including despair, aimlessness, and apathy. “You may wonder: Where is my enthusiasm, my drive, my passion for life?” Don’t worry, she assures, your true personality will return; you just need some time.

Solace includes many ideas to help you get back on track, including finding ways to talk about your loss and grief, and taking care of yourself physically. As time passes, working, socializing as therapy as well as external support groups and bereavement groups offer further comfort.

“Lack of contact with friends and acquaintances is a predictor of difficulty in bereavement. There are probably folks who don’t want to intrude in your life at this time and are deliberately staying away. If you’re feeling isolated, then it’s wise to get in touch with these folks who are being too polite … Adopt a new social policy and say “yes” whenever you are invited anywhere.”

Solace includes interesting passages on how others cope with grief, including Dr. Joyce Brothers, Helen Hayes and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. There is a common link in all the different ways of grieving, even though the process is so very different for each person, and for specific circumstances and relationships. Solace gives the mourner a way to determine how they want to enter into the journey through grief.

Most of this is well known but surely of comfort to a person experiencing a tough loss for the first time. Solace is comforting to read, reminding us about rituals and remembering, so you always have the opportunity to engage with loved ones and remember the person you lost.

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