The Grief Walk:
Losing, Grieving, and Journeying on to Something New
By Alister G. Hendery
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Published: 27 May 2020
B/W text, 216 pages
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This practical book is for people who are grieving, for people who want to support them as they undertake the painful journey of grief, and for anyone who wants to reflect on their own experiences of loss.
When Alister asked Isobel, whose husband had died a few years before, what would have helped her most then, her response was immediate. ‘Someone who would walk with me. Not people who would talk at me and give me answers, but simply listen to me and walk with me.’ The grief walk.
Grieving and loss are universal experiences, but how you experience grief is unique to you. In his ministry, Alister has found that models of the stages of grief are unhelpful, as is the idea of closure. Instead, he gives you permission to work through your grief in the ways, and at the times, that are helpful to you.
Alister explores disenfranchised grief that occurs when we are denied the right to grieve and our loss isn’t recognised.
Our lives are marked by countless losses and we all carry grief about many losses in our life. If we embrace our grief, we can journey on to something new and find fresh hope.
Praise for The Grief Walk
“…Far too often, people present grieving as a one-way process with well-defined stages, concluding with something they call “closure”. I strongly reject such an extremely unhelpful model. Alister does also; he is clear that your grieving is unique to you…” Rev’d Bosco Peters on Liturgy.co.nz Link to full review below
“This book will read you as you are reading it. It is a book you will pick up and put down and pick up and put down as you find yourself walking again through parts of your life, maybe unexpectedly rediscovering boggy patches you had forgotten, or not realised are still painful… There is ancient wisdom here alongside modern psychology. There is gentleness, and there is a reality faced that grief is universal, painful, and not always an easy walk…
But beware. As I read Alister’s words I found myself thinking, lamenting, crying, and laughing… I surprised myself with the depth of some of what rose to the surface for me. Ancient griefs, recent disappointments, and the ambivalent feelings that came, like fish to breathe the air again.”
From the Foreword by The Rev’d Rob Ferguson
About the Author
Alister Hendery is an Anglican priest in Aotearoa New Zealand. Loss and grief have been a special focus of his ministry for the past 40 years. He has served as a parish priest, educator, counsellor, and funeral celebrant.
These days, as well as exploring with others what loss and grief can mean for us, he ministers with faith communities in times of change.
He is the author of Earthed in Hope: Dying, Death and Funerals, also from Philip Garside Publishing Ltd.
Table of Contents
Title and Copyright
How I use certain Words
Authors who have Influenced Me
1 – Introduction
2 – Our Lives are Laden with Losses
- Acknowledging our Losses
- Disenfranchised Losses and Griefs
3 – Experiences of Disenfranchised Loss and Grief
- Grieving for Those Still Living
- Living Loss and Disability
- Relational Loss – Divorce and Dissolution
- Relational Loss – Ending of a Romantic Relationship
- Unrecognised Relationships
- The Loss of a Companion Animal
- Material Losses
- Infertility and Childlessness
- Grief in Foster Care
- The Losses of Miscarriage and Stillbirth
- Loss from Medical Termination
- Loss of Employment
- Discovering Disenfranchisement
4 – Understandings and Misunderstandings about Grief
- Our Loss and Grief is Unique – so Forget the Rules
- There’s No ‘One Size Fits All’ – so Forget Stages in Grief
- We Wax and Wane – so it’s Okay to Retreat from Time to Time
- A Continual Presence Which can Ambush us – so Forget the Timeline
- Continuing Bonds – So Forget about Having to Let Go
- Grief Doesn’t get Closed Off – so Forget about Closure
- Our Life has Changed – so Forget the idea of Returning to Normal
- We Grieve in Our Own Way – so Forget the Stereotypes
5 – Experiencing Grief
- More than Sadness
- Grief Isolates
- Experiencing Grief in our Body
- Experiencing Grief in our Emotions
- Experiencing Grief in our Thinking and Mental processes
- Experiencing Grief in our Behaviour
- Experiencing Grief in our Spirituality
- Secondary Losses and Loss of Identity
- When do we Need Professional Interventions?
6 – What do I say? What can I do?
- Sit Beside me on my Mourning Bench
- Some Dos and Don’ts
- Do Talk About the Loss
- It’s about Relationships
- Caring Companionship
- Silence, Tears, and Empathy
7 – Grief is about Love and Attachment
- Grief – the Price of Love
- Love as Attachment
- A Secure Base
8 – God and our Grief – But what Kind of God?
- Our Vulnerable God
- Good News Stories of Vulnerability, Loss, and Grief
- Becoming Vulnerable – Becoming like God
- Suffering Love that is With Us
- Discarding the Great Vacuum Cleaner in the Sky
- Jesus Began to Weep
9 – Words for our Grief – A Gift from the Psalms
- David’s Dirge
- Faith Incorporating Grief
- My One Companion is Darkness
- Challenging a Cover-up
10 – Walking with Job – A Story of Losing and Grieving
- The Scene is Set – Job 1:1 – 2:10
- Job’s Friends – Job 2:11–13
- What the Friends got Right
- Sitting Shiva
- What the Friends got Wrong
- Job’s Wife
- What Job Needed – Giving Voice to his Grief
- Anger and the Need to Blame
- Job’s Questioning
- Faith Containing Tensions
- The Climax – Job 38–41
- Our Faith may be Challenged and Changed
11 – The Easter Walk
- Waiting in the Darkness and the Absence
- Gradual, Imperceptible Resurrection
12 – A Choice – Do we go Through the Pain or Around it?
- Stewards of our Pain
- A Great Freedom – How do we Respond?
- 13 – Our Search for Meaning after Loss
- Moving Grief from a Noun to a Verb
- What is Meaning?
- Reconstructing our Meaning after Loss
- Meaning in Love
- Living in a Changed World
14 – Hope Emerges
- Hopes and Goals
- Hope Isn’t a Magic Potion
- Our Sustaining Hope: If God is for us
Also by Alister G. Hendery from Philip Garside Publishing Ltd
bereavement, dying, death, grieving, coping with loss, helping a grieving person, facing death calmly, dying well, sitting shiva, reflections and memories, hope, faith, funeral ministry, New Zealand, Book of Job, The Psalms, lament, psalms of lament
Also by Alister Hendery
Earthed in Hope will enrich the funeral ministry both of those in the Anglican tradition and also those from other Churches. It is a valuable resource for funeral celebrants, counsellors and anyone supporting the bereaved and dying. Hendery reflects on and responds to spiritual, theological, liturgical, pastoral and cultural questions, and offers practical suggestions and insights that will be helpful to those involved in taking funerals and caring for the bereaved and the dying.
- HRCC91 Anglican and Episcopalian Churches, Church of England
- HRCM Christian theology
- HRCR Christian worship, rites and ceremonies…
- HRCS Christian spirituality and religious experience…
- HRCV3 Christian counselling
- HRCX4 Christian ministry and pastoral activity
- FAM014000 FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS Death, Grief, Bereavement
- REL012010 RELIGION Christian Living / Death, Grief, Bereavement
- SEL010000 SELF-HELP Death, Grief, Bereavement
- REL012110 RELIGION Christian Living / Social Issues
- REL074000 RELIGION Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources
- REL003000 RELIGION Christianity / Anglican
- REL077000 RELIGION Faith
- PSY052000 PSYCHOLOGY Grief & Loss
- SOC046000 SOCIAL SCIENCE Abortion & Birth Control
- SOC036000 SOCIAL SCIENCE Death & Dying
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