(Review) Surviving The Holidays Without You: Navigating Grief During Special Seasons


Publisher: GR Healing Resources, first edition 2013.
Genre: Holiday season, grieving.
Format: Large print paperback.
Pages: 112.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Free copy from Gary Roe for the purpose of review.

Link for book @ Amazon: Surviving The Holidays Without You.
Gary Roe is a Hospice chaplain in central Texas. He has written several books with the topics of grieving, healing from the past, and sexual abuse.
To read my review: Not Quite Healed: 40 Truths for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe. 

The Holiday Grief Campaign is at Facebook. The link can be found here: The Holiday Grief Campaign. 



Summary:
The holiday season is a busy and joyous time of the year. But it also reminds me of loved ones who are no longer with me. Their memories are with me, but the essence of who they were is gone. Surviving The Holidays Without You is a concise book for grieving during the holidays.

Table of contents:

  1. "Why The Holidays Are Hard."
  2. "This Holiday Will Be Different."
  3. "I Feel So Alone Sometimes."
  4. "Your Heart Will Be the Key."
  5. "How to Make Wise Choices."
  6. "Safe People Can Keep You Sane."
  7. "This Holiday With Your Loved One."
  8. "The Ultimate Grief Expert."
My Thoughts:
Surviving The Holidays Without You is a brief look at the subject. It's an easy to digest read. It's a book that will appeal to a person who is not an avid reader. The pages are few. The information is clear. The applications are beneficial. When a person is grieving, reading a weighty book on information is not easy. When grieving, the mind is not always alert, nor able to take in large amounts of information at one time. The grieving is looking for information that will help at an immediate level and in the future. 
My favorite points in the book:
  • "Managing expectations, both your own and others, is a good life skill."
  • "It's okay to feel alone, but watch out for the tendency to isolate."
  • "Grieving well is not about getting over your loved one. You don't get over a person. You learn to get through this time in the healthiest way possible." 
  • "When someone dies, we don't move on without them. We move on with them, but in a new way."
  • "Healing is always a process." 
Each chapter ends with two "Thought Questions." 
I feel the book is written for an individual and less for a small group. 
Examples are given from people who have gone through the grieving process at holiday time.
A web link is given for a "Good Grief" mini-course. 
The book ends with a list of eight "Affirmations For Holidays." 

I feel additional/helpful information can be added to the book. 
  • A chapter specifically for young children grieving the loss of a parent. 
  • A chapter specifically for a parent who is grieving the loss of a child.  
The above topics are special types of grieving. All grieving is difficult, but the death of a young child is especially brutal, and the death of a parent when children are young is harsh. 

Gary Roe touched on anger at God. I feel this point can be elaborated into its own full chapter.

Over-all the book is sound and helpful.

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