Reviews

Publishers Weekly, April 2008, Star Review

The Grieving Garden: Living With the Death of a Child
Suzanne Redfern and Susan K. Gilbert. Hampton Roads, $16.95 paper (304p) ISBN 9781571745811

Grieving parents Redfern and Gilbert, along with 20 others, fill a void in the literature of child loss that both discovered after the death of a daughter; having "devoured every grief-related bit of writing," they found no relief for their escalating isolation: "what I needed wasn't information, but company." Unadorned by "expert" commentary, Redfern and Gilbert address directly the personal experience of living out "a parent's worst fear" with the voices of those who have. Organized by issue (24, in six sections) rather than contributor, it's easy to find a wide variety of perspectives on specific challenges ("Surviving the First Few Days," "Pursuing Counseling," "Encountering the Void" and "Continuing the Connection"). Parents take turns weighing in on each issue in conversational first-person contributions (most solicited in written interviews), occasionally including journal entries, verse and straightforward guidance (especially helpful is the long view provided by Martin Katz, whose son died in 1981). A "More About Us" section provides photos and brief profiles. A variety of backgrounds and circumstances, along with a shared dedication to speak out on a notoriously unspeakable loss, make this brave volume cathartic and comforting; grieving parents may well find it invaluable.

Library Journal, February 2008, Star Review

Redfern, Suzanne & Susan K. Gilbert. The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child. Hampton Roads. Mar. 2008. c.304p. photogs. ISBN 978-1-57174-581-1. pap. $16.95. PSYCHi

Verdict: Ultimately, this book shows that comfort, healing, and even growth are possible after the death of a child. This powerfully authentic book is highly recommended for large public libraries and counseling collections.

Background: It.s hard to imagine anything worse than the death of a child. Redfern and Gilbert reflect on their own experiences with such a tragedy and recount the stories of 22 other parents whose children died at a variety of ages and from causes ranging from disease and accidents to suicide and terrorism. The authors organize the interviews in a way that mirrors the stages of the grieving process, including immediate reactions, seeking support, effects on family life and relationships, integrating the loss into one.s life, and maintaining connections with a loved one. Simple words, carefully edited, convey eloquent and practical insights into the bereavement experience. Grieving, it is suggested, is not an orderly process; survivors often face family disruption and career malaise. Professional help may or may not be helpful. Several complain about the inane, inappropriate things people said to them upon their loss..Antoinette M. Brinkman, M.L.S., Evansville, IN

Welcome

Endorsements


This important book shines new light on the turmoil created by the loss of a child, and on its potential for personal transformation. Moving and evocative.
- The Reverend Scotty McLennan
Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University

This searingly poignant volume uses the words of bereaved parents to bring to life every parent's worst nightmare, the loss of a child. Thoughtfully organized to be of practical use and comfort to those facing such tragedies (or those who would help them), it is a unique contribution and will be of immeasurable value and consolation. Should be in the library of all who might encounter bereaved parents.
- John Ruark, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University Medical School and award-winning author (Dying Dignified: the Health Professional's Guide to Care).i

Reading The Grieving Garden 10 years after my adult son Tom died took me through a process of re-healing my broken heart. It was a treasure unmatched in all that time. My husband read it, too. Though he never met my son, the book helped him understand why we keep Tom's name alive in our household and why I so tenderly nurture the nectarine tree he gave me years ago.
- Jean A. Hollands
Founder and Chair of the Growth and Leadership Center of Silicon Valley and frequent guest expert on daytime television (Oprah Winfrey , Good Morning America, Today)