Is this the pathway through grief? 18

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Stumbling Stones, a path through grief, love and loss
, a book by Airdre Grant, is an insight into dealing with grief, love and loss.

The very first paragraph is attention grabbing and the author uses so many wonderfully descriptive phrases such as “The whole business of grief and loss is a mess”. (p 3.) I found myself returning to the wonderful advice expressed on that same page.

The content is based on her own observations and experience and I found her non-prescriptive approach refreshing. “ … sitting by the body offers strange, unexpected consolation”. (p 9.)

Stumblihg Over StonesStumbling Stones is an account of a journey. The path you are led on is a windy one with many anecdotes of other friends and their individual experience. Observations of being “stuck” in loss I found thought provoking, promoting reflection which was often part of my read. Aidre uses many interesting examples of the way in which different people deal with grief and loss.

In citing so many different stories, the author does tend to jump around in her dialogue. For example in Ch. 6 “Cement sacks and anger” she talks about someone from Social Services, a New Zealander, the Himalayas, and a man attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour. However, there is a point in doing so as she returns full circle to her friend the Social Services worker. Her response to the anger of her friend is wonderful, “I had nothing to offer and did not want to be trite”. (P 55.) I feel that this is a something we all need to avoid. Another great phrase on the same page that was so easy to identify with is, “I longed to smack the dog”, as a means of channelling the anger.

This is a book that I had to read a little at a time and never more than one chapter, although, I had no hesitation in returning to it.

I would like to think that most readers would have no trouble in relating to the content. If not all then most of it.

In the chapter on “Washing and the Oracle”, she confirmed my own beliefs about seeking to solve a problem of life by going on a journey. (P 92.)  “ I realised I had travelled for some kind of healing that began and ended with me, here, hanging out the washing”.

The difference between going on a journey and “running away” is succinct as is her description of the importance of rituals and finding one’s own pathway. My only small negative is that toward the end I was happy that I was almost there.

I can only recommend that this book is a positive that we all, at some time, will need in our lives. It should be part of everyone’s library. Aidre’s own personal story, interwoven with that of many other examples of people’s experience is fascinating, informative and may serve to aid others who have come to similar circumstances in life.

Stumbling Stones by Aidre Grant is available now from Dymocks.

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Lorraine Parker

Lorraine taught in the area of Technology and Applied Studies for over 40 years. Her career in education culminated in tertiary education teacher training (Textile Innovation at the Australian Catholic University and Whitehouse School of Fashion), followed by contract work to write several units of work for Southern Cross University. She recently finished part time work and simply changed direction with time to devote to her own creativity. You can find her work at Creative Textiles.

  1. When my husband was killed in an accident, I just wanted years to fly by overnight because everyone was telling me the pain gets better with time, well that didn’t happen so I found to keep busy was the answer even if I only went to the Mall and walked around and had a coffee, I had the cleanest house in town, and before I knew it 2 years had gone by and they were right the pain wasn’t as bad and 4 years after that I met an amazing man who I have been happily married to for 24 years, so I say keep busy, do some volunteer work, have a reason to get out of bed each day

  2. For me I need to be heard I need to talk out loud all my fears rage and sadness as I have a hard time crying this helps me to release and start to heal. I don’t think it’s productive in any way shape or form to hold it in and ‘deal with it’ it may be socially acceptable but for me and from what I have seen it is actually very emotionally destructive

  3. These are good books to read when you are not in the first stages of grief, but to have them to refer to in the future or to reflect on past events.

  4. For me I have a great group of friends my Family were amazing but as they say life goes on my husband passed away in 2011 suddenly something we didn’t see coming was a very big shock to us all. was gone within a fortnight after a wonderful 49 years of marriage had know him for 53 years we were fortunate enough to have travelled quite a bit, I did a tour in 2012 on my own then last year did another tour with a girlfriend yes I still miss him but I pull myself together and carry on have got two fantastic male friends both tour guides and keep in touch with them I feel it’s good to have someone outside the family circle both are very caring and understanding.and are always there for me.

  5. Yes I have. It’s a roller coaster and you ride it as it presents itself, as best you can. Family and friends help, but in the end it’s you. The sun rises each morning as you work your way through it and gradually the sharpness of the pain lessons.

  6. Thanks for the review, Lorraine. Books such as this are an aid to those who need them. So, too, people like my sister who, on the loss of an only daughter, joined and became a team leader in Compassionate Friends. I was – and remain – lucky in that my wife remains with me in everything I do.

  7. After 25 years, my mum is still grieving for my brother ( he was 37 , she is now 85 ) to the extent that she did not want to celebrate her 85th Birthday. ( he died during the 2 1/2 weeks between my Birthday and hers ) I sympathize, but the guilt each year of having another birthday is getting me down …

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  8. I like the words I was and remain Lucky in that my wife remains with me in everything I do this is how I have coped also

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