After the Death of a Child
Living with Loss through the Years
Named one of the 25 top-rated autobiographies in mental health by Independent Practitioner Magazine
After a child dies, the parent's world changes entirely. Years later, this new world has changed the parents. The exact nature of this change—the long-term effects of the death—illuminates the nature of the bond between parents and children.
Ann Finkbeiner lost her son in a train accident when he was 18. Several years later, she noticed she was feeling better and wondered whether this feeling was what was meant by "recovery." As a science writer, she read the psychological, sociological, and psychiatric research into parental bereavement. And as a bereaved parent, she asked hard questions of thirty parents whose child had died at least five years before, of all causes and at all ages.
In this book, Finkbeiner combines the research and the parents' answers into a description of the parents' new lives. The parents talk about their changed marriages and their changed relationships with their other children, with their friends and relatives. They talk about their attempts to make sense of the death and about their drastically changed priorities. And most important, they talk about how they still love their children, how the child seems to see through their eyes and live through their actions. They move on through their grief, they get on with their lives, but they never let go of their children. Their wisdom is here presented to any in need of it.
About the Author
Ann K. Finkbeiner is an award-winning science journalist and regular contributor to Science, The Sciences, and USA Today and coauthor of The Guide to Living with HIV Infection, also available from Johns Hopkins.
"[W]ritten with warmth, depth, and sensitivity... it will be a comfort to those some way down the road, helping them understand their sorrow and pain, and affirming their own individual way of grieving."
"The bravery that Ann Finkbeiner must have had to write this book is incredible... By using her own and other parents' experiences, the author makes the issues speakable, and a sense of peace through connectedness with these parents is conveyed to the reader."
"Find a copy... It will exhaust and replenish you."
"Enriching. One is struck by the mysterious power of attachment and love in the parent-child bond."
"Like mourning itself, this powerful book, much of it in the words of bereaved parents, evokes a series of reactions... It illustrates the hard fact [of human suffering] but also our resilience."
"The first book to examine the long-term nature of parental grief through the tales of those who suffer it. Although the book includes most current grief research, its authorities are parents."
"This book is just excellent. Ann Finkbeiner has found a way to investigate her own grief and perhaps find some resolution to this difficult task of grieving. Thousands of bereaved parents and professionals will benefit from her work."
"The book is beautifully written and deeply felt... It can be of value for bereaved parents who can by helped by it to understand their pain and sorrow and to understand the different ways fathers and mothers grieve. It should be required reading for professionals who would help bereaved parents and who would understand how deeply invested are parents in their children."
"By focusing on the long-term impact of losing a child, Ann Finkbeiner has raised issues and concerns that are rarely addressed. Her book is thought-provoking, deeply moving, and filled with insight and hope. I recommend it enthusiastically to parents and professionals."
|Johns Hopkins University Press
Other Titles by Ann K. Finkbeiner
Other Titles in FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Death, Grief, Bereavement