Grief Is a Journey: Finding Your Path Through Loss


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In this “volume of rare sensitivity, penetrating understanding, and profound insights” (Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, author of Living When a Loved One Has Died), Dr. Kenneth Doka explores a new, compassionate way to grieve, explaining that grief is not an illness to get over but an individual and ongoing journey.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” way to cope with loss. The vital bonds that we form with those we love in life continue long after death—in very different ways. Grief Is a Journey is the first book to overturn prevailing, often judgmental, ideas about grief and replace them with a hopeful, inclusive, personalized, and research-backed approach. New science and studies behind Dr. Doka’s teaching upend the dominant but incorrect view that grief proceeds by stages.

Dr. Doka helps us realize that our experiences following a death are far more individual and much less predictable than the conventional “five stages” model would have us believe. Common patterns of experiencing and expressing grief still prevail, yet many other life changes accompany a primary loss. For example, the deaths of parents, even for adults, modify family patterns, change relationships, and alter old family rituals.

Unique to this book, Dr. Doka also explains how to cope with disenfranchised grief—the types of loss that are not so readily recognized or supported by society. These include the death of ex-spouses, as well as non-fatal losses such as divorce, the end of a friendship, job loss, or infertility. In addition, Dr. Doka considers losses that might be stigmatized, including death by suicide or from disease or self-destructive behaviors such as smoking or alcoholism. And finally, Dr. Doka reminds us that, however painful, grief provides opportunities for growth.

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