Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m sharing my review for a beautiful book with a very apt title – Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons, written by Becky Aud-Jennison. She is a therapist and clinician and also runs a podcast – Field Notes from The Death Dialogues Project.
It’s Time to Invite Death Out of the Closet!
The impending or actual death of someone close to you can be devastating. It doesn’t matter if you knew it was coming, or if it was a total shock-you’ll never be the same. There is no right way to grieve, and no appropriate time frame. It’s different for everyone.
Author and therapist gone rogue, Becky Aud-Jennison, the creator of The Death Dialogues Project and podcast, has sewn together threads from people’s shared personal stories and her own experiences, using them to offer insight and comfort to those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one or want to become more death-literate.
She beautifully discusses individual factors of grief including:
- Traumatic Grief
- Relieved Grief
- Who Am I Now Grief
- Break-Ups: Death can be the great divide
- Love Never Dies: Do not ignore signs
- Transformation: Death becomes you
Calling on her years as a clinician, you will also find soothing, research-based techniques to help ease the ache of trauma and loss.
Many do not realize we now have choice surrounding our deaths and how our bodies are treated. Similar to birth being brought back into the home, there has been a wave of people doing the same with death, creating moving and personal experiences at the dying time and in the aftermath. Like homebirth, it may not be for everyone, but aren’t we better humans for understanding the terrain?
With this project’s aim of promoting death literacy, you will find story and commentary surrounding death and end-of-life choices (such as having a loved one’s body at home).
It’s time to take these historically “hush-hush” conversations out into the open. We all experience death and loss in our lives, and we should be talking about it.
Embrace the beautiful-horrible full spectrum of your life. Here you will also find resources and a community where you can further explore or seek support as you continue your journey.
This book will gently hold you as you increase your awareness and comfort surrounding death and is a perfect offering to others at those times when there are no words.
My 5 Star Review:
I’ve read several books on grief and loss and death, and I’m putting this one right up there with my recommends for anyone interested in death literacy. Like the author states, “We all experience death and loss in our lives, and we should be talking about it.”
This book gives us good insights with stories and conversations with the author and some of her clients who share their experiences on the subject of dealing with death, and things we don’t really want to know, but should. As the author states, “Death experiences can never be fully explained or compared…” adding, “We need to get death out of the closet too.” She refers to it as ‘talking about death’ because all people really want in their great times of trauma is someone to understand what they are going through. We want to hear people’s experiences on their grief journey, not from academic texts. This book is a definite balm to soothe the soul. Grief begins at the moment of diagnosis for both the patient and the loved ones. Aud-Jennison also warns that by stifling grief, it will certainly have its day. She also talks about the PTSD affect grief leaves on those left behind.
What I loved most about what this author said to those seeking grief therapy – a warning to seek out a therapist who has indeed experienced their own loss, because getting help from one who has never suffered great loss cannot possibly know the depths of grief. We will also learn how grief can wreak havoc on our bodies, “a mysterious thing that can never be taught”. So many great discussions on all aspects of grief, including how some people who are part of our lives disappear on us in our dire time of need to be surrounded by familiar people in our lives. Because many cannot handle the world which we the griever now lives in, warning: “Those are not your people.” “The absence of your loved one will forever be part of who you are now.”
The author reminds that Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief were initially written for the the patient diagnosed with the death sentence, compared to a griever’s life where we will live in and out and with grief for the rest of our days – in no particular order in a forever flux of triggers.
This book is all about the truth about death, dying, aftermath, and everything in between. I would certainly recommend this book as a guided tonic for the grieving soul.
“it is because we have felt
we feel overwhelming grief
help us find the blessing
within the paradox
help us understand why
the world still turns without them”