The Grief Recovery Hanbook Review


English: Classics Illustrated Comic Book Cover
English: Classics Illustrated Comic Book Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 4, 2014, will be the one year anniversary of my mom Lucille’s death. There is a similarity between the death and hospital stay, of my mom and Joan Rivers. Both were diagnosed with cardiac arrest, both were in a coma for a week and both moved out of intensive care – after a week. Now the cause for Joan Rivers was something related to the outpatient procedure. For my mom, the cause was acute stomach bleeding. I’m not sure why both cases had only a week in intensive care. Perhaps it was something to do with insurance. In my mom’s case, I did insist on the MRI results, that would show potential brain damage.

According to the medical doctor on ABC News, you have a four to six-minute window, after cardiac arrest sets in.  Otherwise  brain damage would occur.  Which makes me wonder if local police departments are trained in these matters.  When I called for my mom, they sent both an ambulance and a local police officer.  The officer first came up to check the situation.  Then when the paramedics asked what medicines she was taken, I mentioned just over the counter remedies.  The police officer on duty asked me to see the medicines – which I showed him.  Both examples were ticking away precious seconds, in the four to six-minute window.  I’m sure the outpatient clinic for Joan Rivers was better trained in these matters.  Perhaps both Joan Rivers daughter and myself should check legal options?

Now this brings me to a great book entitled The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith Paperback by John W. James (Author), Russell Friedman. After my mom’s death, I had help offers from local hospice grief counselors and the local police department social workers. But instead I worked with local church and retirement home grief recovery groups, in the area. This helped me out a bit. Unfortunately, this book came to my attention just now.

I came across the book from their online grief seminar. I ordered the book through the local library and checked out the reviews on Amazon. It has an average rating of five out of five stars, from about two hundred reviewers. One point the book made is that total recovery might take from two to three years. While I might feel grief after the one year anniversary, most of my grief probably worked itself out within a year. It’s still too soon to tell.

I do like that the book has you create grief timeliness for major events. It also has one of the authors sharing their own grief story, as well as stories from other participants. I can’t comment on their grief groups, as I haven’t attended one. But if you work with hospice grief counselors and groups, as well as church sponsored grief groups, it can probably be a good addition.

The book is a short one – perhaps too short. But it had good things to say. A church my mom and I used to attend, sent me the series Journeying through Grief by Dr.Kenneth C. Haugk.  The four volume free series is about the size of the Grief Recovery Handbook.   Now Grief Recovery is a secular program. There’s another series called Grief Share, which is a faith-based program. But I honestly feel you need both a secular and a faith-based approach – to get a proper balance

In the end, you have to do the work – to work through the grief. I remember my senior year in high school. In a literature class, we had to read The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Back then, they had a comic series called Classics Illustrated and Cliff Notes. I brought and read both, hoping to avoid the reading assignment. But I got hooked by the comic book version and book outline series. It prompted me to read the original book. But I did give the comic book and Cliff Notes to others to use. It turned out you really had to read the book, to answer the test questions. The teacher was smart. There was no short cur. You also have to do the exercises in the grief book – to work through the grief.


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