When God & Grief Meet by Lynn Eib
Tyndale House - Grief/Comfort - Christian
187 pages, incl. lists of resources
Author and pastor Dan Hans, who lost his three-year-old daughter to a brain tumor, says, "To lose a parent is to lose your past; to lose a spouse or close friend is to lose your present; and to lose a child is to lose your future." Each death shakes a little different part of your world.
If you want to start a lively discussion sometime, just ask a roomful of grievers whether anyone has made an insensitive remark to them since their loved ones died. I guarantee you the recollections will be vivid, free flowing, and still hurtful no matter how much time has passed.
"God wanted another flower in His garden."
"At least you have other children."
"God must have needed her more than you do."
"At least he lived a long life."
"You're young--you'll find someone else."
"I thought you'd be over this by now."
I just finished reading When God & Grief Meet about twenty minutes ago and I thought it was one of the best grief books I've ever read, so I'm sitting down to hammer out my review while it's still fresh in my mind. Again, this is a very Christian book, with Bible verses peppered throughout the text. Some folks might not like that, but since I'm a Christian I have always found comfort, hope and reassurance in Biblical scripture.
As a grief book, in general, what I truly loved is that this book targets no specific type of loss (a parent, children, spouse, etc.) but has general appeal. The author leads a grief support group and describes examples of a variety of losses and grief experiences, along with ways people emerged from their "grief storms". She talks about the fact that grief is something that stays with you forever, but which you learn to live with. I'm sure a lot of people who've experienced loss really appreciate reading that kind of statement because we've all been told it's about time to "get over it" or have been patted on the back while someone who simply is ignorant about loss makes a completely inane statement that implies that your grief is just a flicker. For those of us who have experienced loss, we know better. Loss is not fleeting; it's a hole that is never filled. It stays with you, forever. You never, ever stop missing someone you truly loved.
Like my old favorite classic grief manual, Good Grief by Granger E. Westburg, When God & Grief Meet is the kind of book that reminds you, You're not alone. It's okay to still feel that absence, even years later. You will get through the hardest part and learn to live with your loss.
No matter who you are, what you've accomplished, or what you believe, the intensity of your grief will surprise you. . . . when new waves of grief come, I encourage you to remind yourself that your strong grief is a testament to your strong love.
There's a chapter entitled, "Throwing Rocks at God's Windows." I hadn't heard that there's a Jewish proverb on this subject: If God lived on earth, people would break His windows. That made me laugh because I understand the anger, the questions, the disappointment, the pain and how people who believe in God frequently throw those unanswered questions back at him in anger, after loss.
"What did we do to deserve this?"
"When am I ever going to stop reliving those last days?"
"Where was God when I prayed for a miracle?"
"Why did she have to die just now?"
"How am I ever going to go on without him?"
"Who really cares how much I'm still hurting?"
After this opening to the chapter, the author talks about the sense of "profound injustice" (bereavement counselor Robert Zucker's wording) people feel, especially after a particularly cruel or untimely loss. As an example, Lynn Eib describes two friends whose losses were unexpected. One of them, Gigi, lost both parents in a freak car accident and found herself reliving their last moments over and over, again, as they fought to escape from a sinking car but drowned before rescuers arrived. She also talks about a friend whose sister was kidnapped and murdered, some parents who've lost children to suicide, a father whose 3-year-old son was crushed by a heavy window left propped against his neighbor's house and whose neighbor then actually told the father You should thank me for sending your child to Heaven. Unbelievable.
My rating: Huge thumbs up. When God & Grief Meet is wonderful. I hope I don't need it too much, myself, and don't have to recommend it often but it's another book I'm putting on the keeper shelf for future reference. By far one of the most comforting, reassuring, intuitive, lovely grief books I've ever read.
You can read another review, here:
Wendi's Book Corner
Tonight is drawing night. If I'm late posting, this evening, it's because the turnout was so terrific. Please be patient with me! The winner's name should be up by midnight, U.S. Central time.