“SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS”
Grief & Bereavement / Love & Loss / Parenting & Relationships
Publisher: Union Square & Co.
Publication Date: April 11, 2023 – 240 pages
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A heartfelt exploration about what it means to process grief, by a bestselling author and journalist whose experience with two devastating losses inspired her to bring comfort and understanding to others.
Since losing her mother to cancer in 2018 and her sister to alcoholism less than three years later, author and journalist Dina Gachman has dedicated herself to understanding what it means to grieve, healing after loss, and the ways we stay connected to those we miss. Through a mix of personal storytelling, reporting, and insight from experts and even moments of humor, Gachman gives readers a fresh take on grief and bereavement—whether the loss is a family member, beloved pet, or a romantic relationship. No one wants to join the grief club, since membership comes with zero perks, but So Sorry for Your Loss will make that initiation just a little less painful.
In the spirit of Elizabeth Kubler Ross books like On Grief and Grieving, or C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, So Sorry for Your Loss is the perfect gift for someone who is grieving. With her blend of personal experiences, expert advice, and just a little bit of humor, Gachman has provided a compassionate and compelling resource for anyone looking for grief books.
PRAISE FOR “SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS“
“Gachman perceptively puts words to the uncomfortable realities of loss…and deconstructs its social myths, helping readers feel less alone. Those facing loss will find solace here.” —Publishers Weekly
“So Sorry for Your Loss is a monument to the work of remembering and a testament to the immutable love of family and the grief that forever changes us.” —Lauren Hough, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing
“So Sorry for Your Loss is a meditation on loss that reminds us how to go on living.” —Deirdre Fagan, author of Find a Place for Me and The Grief Eaters
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“The day you stop grieving is the day you stop loving, and, for better or worse, that day will never come. That doesn’t mean the initial crush of pain will remain forever. The pain transforms, each day each year.”
That is just one of the many truths in the book that had me nodding through my tears. In so many ways this was a painful book for me to read, tearing the scabs off wounds from so many huge losses in my life over the past twelve years, starting with my father, husband, mother, a sister, and two brothers-in-law. Then there was the loss of a home I dearly loved and several beloved pets.
Even though the book was painful to read at times, it was also reassuring in the ways it affirmed so much of what I learned while training to be a hospital chaplain that I share in my own book about grief.
- Grief has no timeline.
- The grief experience is not the same for everyone.
- There is no right or wrong in the grief journey.
- We grieve the loss of many things, not just people: Pets, homes, jobs, good health.
The bits of humor in the book are refreshing, too. I cracked up about the bucket of KFC and what pleasure it brought the family. The usual casseroles that people bring to a bereaved family are just so…? Expected? The same? How much lasagna can one family eat? But a greasy bucket of chicken is sometimes just perfect. The humor comes at just the right moments to shift the focus from the sad truths of mourning a loss that may be hard for a person to read.
The author did a splendid job in mixing her stories, with those of others, each personal experience affirming that grief is unique to an individual, and how other people handle the loss of a parent or spouse or child added a nice layer to the book. It’s in sharing our stories that we find helpful nuggets to get us through our own pain. This was something I recognized when I led grief support groups. I, as the chaplain, never told people what they should or shouldn’t do when they have lost someone, or something, close to them. The group helped each other simply by the sharing what worked for them, laying it out there in case it would help someone else in the room.
That’s what “So Sorry For Your Loss” accomplishes. It lays out what works, or doesn’t, for the author, and so many others, that it could be a transcript from a grief support group.
Other than some places where I thought the writing was a little disjointed, jumping quickly out of a personal story to input from an expert on grief, this is an excellent book. In narrative that is personable and easy to read, it offers readers a way to understand the different facets of grief, of which there are many.
I especially liked that Gachman acknowledges that we can sometimes grieve the loss of a pet almost as strongly as the loss of a loved one. That made me pause and consider how much I grieved when my dog died only a couple of years after my husband. The dog had been his, and her dying was like losing a living connection to him.
One thing the author mentions is something that can be so cathartic for many families – the opportunity to spend the last days and hours with a loved one, sharing stories and laughing and embracing. Reading about the last eight days of her mother’s life when she gathered with her sisters around her mother’s bed, reminded me so poignantly of the day that my family was able to spend with my mother before her death the following day. While I recognized that day of her alertness as the bloom that often happens before a person who is cognizant is going to soon die, it was still a wonderful day of celebrating her before she was gone. As the author points out that kind of thing is so important and does help ease some of the sharp pains of grief after that person is gone.
“So Sorry For Your Loss” is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to understand their own grief, or that of a friend or relative, and I highly recommend it. The title has a special significance as noted in the section about what to say to people who are grieving. Or more importantly, what not to say.
Dina Gachman is a Pulitzer Center Grantee and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Vox, Texas Monthly, and more. She’s a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter, and the author of Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime. She lives near Austin, Texas, with her husband and son. Photo credit Jessica Comiskey.
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So Sorry for Your Loss
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2 thoughts on “Blog Hop: “So Sorry For Your Loss””
Terrific review — and agree that the author did a great job of just sharing what happened to her — what worked and didn’t in dealing with it — without ever saying “do grief this way.” I really connected. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and connections, too.
Thanks for the affirmation of my review. The book is well-worth the kudos.