Grief, Loss, Death & Dying

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A Brief History of DeathA Commonsense Book of DeathA Message from JakieAfter SuicideAfter You'd GoneAfterwardsAliveAll Alone in the UniverseAll Rivers Flow to the SeaAll Seasons PassAnd a Time to DieAt the End of WordsBefore and After LossBeing with DyingBequest and BetrayalBereftBeyond GoodbyeBeyond the Good DeathBodies in Motion and at RestCatalystComfortConfessions of a Grieving ChristianContemplative AgingCoping With TraumaCrispinDarwin's WormsDeathDeath and CompassionDeath BenefitsDeath in the ClassroomDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDeath of a ParentDeath's DoorDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDon't Go Where I Can't FollowDriving My FatherDying in the Twenty-First CenturyElegy for IrisErasing DeathEthical WillsEthics at the End of LifeEvenings at FiveExtreme MeasuresFacing Death: Elisabeth Kubler-RossFatal AttachmentsFinishing Our StoryFortress of My YouthGhost at the WindowGoing Through Hell Without Help From AboveGood GriefGoodbye RuneGraceful ExitsGrave MattersGrieving for ChildrenHealing ConversationsHello from Heaven!History of SuicideHonoring GriefHonoring the Dead and Facing DeathHow We GrieveHuman Dignity and Assisted DeathI Remain in DarknessI Wasn't Ready to Say GoodbyeIn the Wake of SuicideIt Takes a Worried ManLayoverLearning to FallLiberating LossesLife after LossLiving and Dying WellLosing Mum and PupLossLost in the ForestLove Is a Mix TapeLove That DogMaking Sense of SuicideMars and Venus - Starting Over.Michael Rosen's Sad BookMortal DilemmasNight Falls FastNobody's Child AnymoreOlive's OceanOn Life After DeathOne Last Hug Before I GoOne More WednesdayParting CompanyPeaceful Death, Joyful RebirthR.I.P.Reason's GriefRemembering GeorgySaying It Out LoudSeeing the CrabShooterSome Thing BlackSpeak to MeStandbyStayStill HereSuicidal ThoughtsSurviving HitlerThe Art of LosingThe AwakeningThe Boy on the Green BicycleThe Bright HourThe Cambridge Companion to Life and DeathThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Color of AbsenceThe Dead Fathers ClubThe Death of a ChildThe DisappearanceThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related DisordersThe Lovely BonesThe Measure of Our DaysThe Mercy PapersThe MiracleThe Modern Art of DyingThe Other Side of SadnessThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of DeathThe ScarThe TravelersThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Truth About GriefThe UndertakingThe Way of TransitionThe Work of MourningTo Die WellTuesdays with MorrieUnderstanding GriefWakeWhat Dying People WantWhen Breath Becomes AirWitWrinklesYoung@Heart

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The Way of TransitionReview - The Way of Transition
Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments
by William Bridges
Perseus Books, 2001
Review by Margo McPhillips
May 20th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 21)

This is a very helpful book about personal process; what it is, how it works, how to conceptualize and use it to one's advantage. It is also an enormously personal book; the author uses two of his own major life transitions and process as example. One of Bridges' transitions was the dying of his wife over the course of several years, the aftermath of her death, and then his passage through this change into a new sense of life, self, and remarriage. I found much of the book emotionally painful to read but the author's honesty and wonderful style as well as the benefits of experiencing his transitions with him helped me better understand my own.

The first bit of teaching the author does is to explain the difference between the concepts of "change" and "transition". A change is an outward, physical event; you change residences or jobs or get fired or divorced. Often as the result of a change, we are thrust into transition. Transition is a process with a beginning, middle and end. It may or may not be the result of a change. Vague dissatisfaction with one's life or situation, the beginning of letting go of a current way of being, may occur before any change is on the horizon. Or, in the case of being fired from our job or a sudden death of a loved one, we may be forced into transition by a change. Transitions involve letting go of the old, living in the neutral zone while we discover what comes next, and then embracing the change in life, self and the new.

The book is only loosely structured; it is more a telling of Bridges' story with comments and helpful asides. Reading the book is almost a transition in itself. There are wonderful quotes by various other authors and social philosophers sprinkled about to help create natural breaks within the story but they do not intrude or interfere in any way.

The author spends a good bit of time discussing and trying to help illuminate the most difficult and confusing period of transition, the middle or "neutral zone". This is the period when the old way of life is no more but a new way has not yet been discovered and one feels they are languishing in a sort of no-man's-land. Bridges points out how important it is to stay with one's experience during this time, instead of trying to escape it or numb one's self and how to work with one's process to move forward instead of derailing or having to spend more time than necessary in this uncomfortable state.

I think anyone could benefit from reading this book. Before Bridges became a transitions "expert" he was a professor of literature at a California university. This is the second major transition he relates, going from professor to business transitions guru to personal transitions sage. The transition through his wife's death is very painful to read and everyone might not be able to stand reading such emotionally difficult material. But, if one can, this book is well worth the price.


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