Softening The Grief – A Review

Softening The Grief – A Review

With the holiday season approaching most people are getting ready to celebrate.  It is easy to forget that some families are grieving through their smiles.  We are grateful for our new contributor and former Bronx Mom, Tamiqua Torres for reviewing this book for us.

I received the book Softening The Grief: what to say and do to comfort a bereaved mother by Joan E. Markwell with Janie Fields, Patricia Hollingsworth and Suzie McDonald to review all opinions are mine.

Death is a subject that no one ever wants to talk about yet its one of the only things that are actually guaranteed in this lifetime. We will all eventually have someone in our lives that we will need to comfort from the loss of a loved one or we will be the one who will need to be comforted. Four years ago I became the person who needed to be comforted. I needed A LOT of it and I still do. I am not an expert on grief I am only one of many grievers and because we all have our own grief journeys what we need will be different based on who we are and what day of the week it may be but this book is a staple that I believe everyone needs. In fact, I may start to give it as a graduation book. Why? Because the book provides some really great examples of what you should never ever say to, not just a mother who is grieving, but to anyone who is grieving.

The book is a really smooth fast read. It is broken up into Four Parts: What it feels like to lose a child, what to say when you don’t know what to say, Bereaved Mothers: what you can do to soften your own grief and those who love bereaved mothers: how to soften the grief. The bulk of the book focuses on Part Two: What to say when you don’t know what to say and let me tell you EVERYONE needs to read this or something like this because the 20 cliché sayings they reference should never ever be said to a grieving mother or person. As a bereaved mom, I totally understand that you don’t know what to say to me because I don’t know what to say to you. I personally think that these ladies did a good job of providing a solution instead. One of the cliché sayings they mention is “You ‘re doing so well,” I like this one because they talk about the mask that we bereaved moms wear outside in the world and how exhausting it can be for us. They also cover people asking for the details of the death. Read this more than once and know that it is NEVER EVER acceptable to ask a bereaved mom for the details of their child’s death. If a bereaved mom shares the details with you consider yourself extremely privileged because telling that story is never ever easy because losing a child isn’t natural. Parents are never supposed to be the one burying their children. One of the clichés I wished they had covered was “He/She is in a better place” I’ve found myself really struggling more than once not to say to the person “Well, why don’t you send your child there?” But, I like the moms who wrote this book, know that the person telling us this doesn’t mean to hurt us with their words and that they are trying to comfort us and do not know how. I can remember being at a work meeting a few months after my daughter’s death and a colleague whom I had not seen since before her passing walked into the room and started to give his condolences to me as he walked from the other side of the room. The man was giving a walking speech I was mortally embarrassed not only for myself but also for him the only thing I could do was stand up and hug him!

I also liked that the book provided suggestions on how we can soften our own grief process. Grief isn’t anything that you see on General Hospital or in a Lifetime Movie. Grief is fluid and there are so many parts to it.  Just when we think we have adjusted to it we hit a new level. I am one of the fortunate. I have a great support system that allows me to be true to my grief and to walk in it as I need to. I recognize that not everyone has that and these parts let other bereaved moms that how you are feeling is normal and that although they may feel alone they aren’t.

So if you don’t want to be that guy/gal I would pick up the book and keep it in your library for reference because it is definitely something that you will need.

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