My colleague Katrina Taee and I are delighted to have published a visual guide to grief book in December 2019. There are plenty of illustrated books on grief for children, but not for adults.
We wanted to find a way in which we could reach out, through this illustrated book, to someone who is bereaved but who may not be able to access bereavement counselling support. The book is the result of years of experience working with those who are grieving, whether at the end of life or after a bereavement. It contains the wisdom of what our clients and our own personal experiences of death and loss have taught us.
We have kept the book deliberately concise because we know that in the early stages of grief it is hard to concentrate. Talking about grief is difficult, as you may not want to burden others, but, equally, trying to cope with the raw physicality of grief without others knowing how you really feel can lead to isolation.
This is a book that the bereaved and those supporting them can dip into and out of, when needed. The idea is that just by looking at these illustrations of the course of a tsunami, those who have suffered a bereavement will instantly recognise where they are on their journey through grief. The title was chosen because what we have heard most often is “I feel as if I am in a tsunami of grief”.
Simultaneously, they will also be able to read the ‘voices’ of the bereaved, which are the echoes of each illustrated chapter. This allows for yet more recognition and for feelings of being less alone. It is also comforting to read that it is normal to feel the way they do.
Those who are supporting them will appreciate a deeper insight of what really goes on for people when they are grieving, especially when the bereaved can show them through the book where they are in their grief journey at that moment. It can be hard for anyone to know how a bereaved colleague might be feeling once a few months have gone by and everyone at work has returned back to normal.
We are experienced bereavement practitioners. Katrina is an End of Life Doula and I am a Soul Midwife. We both like facilitating Death Cafés, but our journey started working for a hospice as bereavement counsellors. We have had the privilege of working with many wonderful clients and patients. Alongside that experience, in our own private practices the bereaved have shared their painful and dark days with us, as well as their small steps forward and their triumphs when they have achieved something they didn’t know they could do before they were bereaved. We have seen them as they journey towards a new and different life and we hope that this book is a tribute to them all and to all those who are facing their bereavement right now.