cover image Grieving: A Beginner's Guide

Grieving: A Beginner's Guide

Jerusha Hull McCormack, . . Paraclete, $14.95 (136pp) ISBN 978-1-55725-493-1

Working from the theory that "it takes one to know one," McCormack—widowed while her children were still young—writes a clear-eyed account of the many emotions and situations a grieving person may encounter. By her own admission, this book is "less a consolatory piece than a tour guide," and what a guide it is. An Anglican layperson and visiting professor at Beijing University, McCormack writes straight from the heart in simple language infused with a spirituality that is never preachy or pushy. She covers so much ground in such a little book that the reader could devour it quickly in hours or spend weeks reading it slowly, savoring each bit of wisdom. People suffering from loss will especially appreciate the counterpoint she provides to all the well-meaning but insensitive "churchy" things Christians tend to say to people who are grieving ("it's God's will," or "it's all for the best"). But more importantly, McCormack includes a chapter of "Guidelines for Spirit Guardians," offering advice to those who accompany grieving people so they can be fully present and helpful. Anyone who is grieving or anyone who knows a grieving person will find hope and support in this small book. (Mar.)