Book Review: Sorry for Your Loss

BY: Susan Hamme, LSW

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who Are 
Grieving Wish You Knew  
By Alicia King

Alicia King's Sorry For Your Loss: What People Who are Grieving Wish You Knew is a simple and breathtakingly honest look at how the response people have to loss can affect the grieving person.

King gathers the information from her experience as well as from others who have lived with losses. She describes those things that people who are grieving often think but feel they cannot say. And she describes the efforts made to provide comfort which have helped, as well as those which have hurt.

In this easy-to-read book, the author offers many useful tips to make us feel less helpless and uncomfortable when trying to support those we love who are grieving. For instance, often people just don't know what to do or say. That can lead us to avoid showing that we care, or to making some well-intentioned mistakes. Nearly all of the individuals interviewed mentioned that when they were grieving they simply wanted someone to be there and someone to listen. For the person trying to help, it is comforting to know that those who grieve are not looking to us to "fix" anything.

This book also is a great resource for those who are grieving themselves. It is written with elements of humor and stories of experiences to which many of us can relate. It emphasizes how many of those less than helpful things that loved ones have said very likely came from a caring place. The chapters also include discussions about the stages of grief, the warning signs of  complicated grief, and suggestions for ways to pay tribute to the deceased. Throughout the book the message is clear: give the grieving person permission to be honest and direct about what he or she truly needs; and give those who want to help a framework for doing just that.

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