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The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love

The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love
Author: Thomas Attig
ISBN 13: 9780195156256
ISBN 10: 195156250
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2002-09-19
Format: Paperback
Pages: 324
List Price: $25.95

In The Heart of Grief, Attig gives us an inspiring and profoundly insightful meditation on the meaning of grief, showing how it can be the path toward a lasting love of those who have died. Recounting dozens of stories of people who have struggled with deaths in their lives, he describes grieving as a transition from loving in presence to loving in separation. The thing we long for most—the return of the one who is missing—is the very thing that we can never have, kindling the intense pain of our loss. But Attig argues that we can, in fact, build an enduring, even reciprocal, love, a love that tempers our pain. He tells stories, for instance, of a young girl taking some of her dead sister's practical advice as she enters high school, a widower realizing how much intimate life with his wife has colored his character, and an athlete drawing inspiration from his dead brother and achieving what they had dreamed of together. Far from forgetting our loved ones, Attig urges us to explore ways in which our memories of the departed can be sustained, our understanding of them enhanced, and their legacies embraced, so they continue to play active roles in our everyday and inner lives.
Groundbreaking and original, inspiring and compassionate, The Heart of Grief offers guidance, comfort, and a new understanding of how we grieve.

Publishers Weekly

The pain of loss can be overcome, says Attig, an "applied philosopher" and past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, by survivors who keep alive in their hearts their love for the departed. He repeats his message in each of some 50 brief chapters, using numerous anecdotes gleaned from his experiences as a counselor to explain how he has helped people cope with the loss of loved ones. Whatever the problem a survivor faces, Attig offers his mantra--keep love alive. If we can remember and sustain our connection with the departed, they will always remain with us. Among the death-related topics Attig covers are ways to help children deal with loss; ghosts; the solace of traditional religious rites; how to use memories and stories of loved ones in daily life; and finding the presence of loved ones in familiar places. He recommends that we honor the memory of the departed by acting as they would have wished us to, to work for causes they held dear or even just to reminisce about our relationships with them. While his message is valuable, Attig's one-note thesis may be too simplistic and repetitive to strike a distinctive chord for readers seeking solace among the offerings in this crowded category. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.