cover image Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

David Kessler. Scribner, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9273-9

In this excellent work, Kessler, coauthor with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of the landmark On Grief and Grieving, extends the well-known five stages of grief model with a sixth stage: meaning. “Meaning helps us makes sense of grief,” Kessler writes, speaking both as professional grief counselor and as someone who has experienced tremendous loss—his 21-year-old son died suddenly just as he began writing this book. In developing his case, Kessler cites countless examples of famous and not so famous individuals whose grief prompted them to take some kind of action to move along in life, make sense of their loss, and honor their loved one. Kessler shows how large acts (starting a foundation) as well as small ones (eating an ice cream sundae in memory of a loved one as a celebration) help the bereaved to create meaning in a variety of ways. Though this is not a memoir, Kessler draws on his personal experience, giving the prose an immediacy many clinical works lack. Anyone who has lost a loved one will find solace in Kessler’s comforting words. Agent: Margaret Riley King, WME. (Nov.)