Healing Grief, Finding Peace

Author: Carol Lane

healing grief coverWhen survivors are new to grief, it is very hard to concentrate on a short paragraph, let alone a whole book. If that is true for you, try Healing Grief, Finding Peace by Dr. Louis E. LaGrand, published by Sourcebooks, Inc. (2011) Naperville, Illinois. Written in short easy-to-read sections, this book is uplifting and contains many concrete suggestions for those who are grieving. 

The first sections of the book offer an understanding of grief. Among other topics, Dr. LaGrand explains that grieving style is different for everyone—even those in the same household. Rather than looking at grievers in the more typical way of describing how men and women grieve, he explains that each person’s personal style will determine the degree in which the survivor will cope either intuitively (with feelings) or instrumentally (with actions). This gives the mourner permission to exhibit any emotion and the freedom to understand why individuals may choose to heal in dissimilar ways.

The later sections of the book focus on ways to heal. Section Four includes 47 “Inner-Strength Healing Strategies,” while Section Five details 81 “Powerful Long-Term Healing Strategies.” Among the latter, Dr. LaGrand talks about releases for anger. One of these releases is to “look for physical outlets for the stored-up anger through exercise.” He continues on with other ideas in case exercise doesn’t work for you. By offering many examples of reducing stress, he continually encourages the reader to try a variety of strategies toward healing.

Tne of the most interesting elements of this book is that the author tells you to skip the parts in it that make you uncomfortable and come back to them in a few months. Your emotions will change as you walk the path of grief. Healing Grief, Finding Peace is also packed with inspirational quotes from a variety of sources. Dr. LaGrand often quotes survivors who have different relationships to the person who died. He also tells about his own grief as he is a survivor himself, having suffered the death of parents, siblings, and his only daughter. As you read this book, Dr. LaGrand’s deep understanding of many types of mourning is evident, making the book appropriate for anyone. 

Dr. LaGrand’s advice to those who are mourning becomes a creative collaboration with the reader. For example, he writes, “Silently keep repeating these seven words over and over again: ‘I am free to choose my path.’ Then begin to examine each alternative.” He proceeds to give concrete examples that you may accept or reject, allowing you a certain amount of control even though the death of your loved one can make you feel that you have lost direction. LaGrand’s goal is that, “you will choose to keep building connections and an attitude that will bring you peace and love.”

Dr. LaGrand is a Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York and Adjunct Professor of Health Careers at the Eastern Campus of Suffolk Community College in Riverhead, New York. He is also a certified grief counselor, directing support groups and giving workshops on grief to schools, hospices, and health agencies. The author of eight books and numerous articles, he is known world-wide for his research on the extraordinary experiences of the bereaved.

Healing Grief, Finding Peace is available at Amazon.com

By Carol Lane, M. Ed., Book written by Dr. Louis E. LaGrand