Catching Your Breath in Grief:
...and grace will lead you home
"Catching Your Breath in Grief is a meditation of words and images on the mysteries of life. Attig unflinchingly explores the depths of loss; using breath as both metaphor and visceral guide. Following one's breath he leads us through the darkness of spirit and soul, neither denying nor suppressing the pain of grief, instead, enabling us to absorb our pain into a mature and durable sense of well-being."
-- Ira Byock, MD, Past President, National Hospice & Palliative Care Physicians Association, and Author: Dying Well: The Prospect for Growth at the End of Life
Reach through Suffering; Say Yes to Hope
Fresh Ideas on How We Grieve and Continue to Love Those Who Die
Each year in the United States alone over 8 million of us suffer bereavement as someone we care about and love dies. Thomas Attig has spent more than twenty-five years listening to mourners and teaching and reflecting about how we come to terms with loss. His How We Grieve: Relearning the World and The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love are filled with real-life tales that illustrate what he has learned. Together these meditations on the meanings of grieving provide a refreshing and hopeful new vision of daunting experiences that eventually touch us all.
Attig tells us how:
- Loss unravels life patterns, disrupts life histories, and reveals how much we have taken for granted
- Grieving is an inherently active, choice-filled process through which we respond to "choiceless" events
- Most deeply, we choose between dwelling in the worst agony of loss or affirming what is most precious in life
- Through grieving we relearn the worlds of our experience, including things and places, relationships with others, aspects of ourselves, and our relationship with the one we mourn
- The heart of grief, its most difficult challenge, is not "letting go" of those who have died but instead making the transition from loving in presence to loving in separation
- We can find hope in grieving when we -
- resolve to more fully appreciate what we have taken for granted creatively reshape our daily lives and redirect our life stories acknowlege and embrace legacies of memory and influences on our practical lives, souls, and spirits that those we love have given us
- Love in separation fulfills the desire of those who have died to be remembered and our desires to feel their abiding love for us and to continue to express our love for them
- Respect for our individuality requires that caregivers learn details of the stories of our unique life circumstances and histories, relationship with the one we mourn, loss experiences, and challenges and opportunities in grieving
- Caregivers can support us as we reshape our daily lives and redirect our life stories, as we return home to still viable meanings and stretch into new meanings, as we blend lasting love into the fullness of life with those who survive with us
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"Attig has written a groundbreaking book, one that may prove to be a cornerstone in a revised theory of grief and its place in human life."
-- Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., editor of Death Studies
"A book that will touch your heart, bring you to tears and heal your life."
-- Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine & Miracles: Prescriptions for Living