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Book Review: "Move Beyond Grief Journal"

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on October 17, 2011 at 4:10 PM
“Grief is a journey. There is no right or wrong to it. Just allow. Just be.”

With that introduction, the “Move Beyond Grief Journal” by Sandy Clendenen takes the reader gently by the hand and leads the way down a path of healing for the pain of loss. This interactive journal provides thoughtful writing prompts throughout and adequate space for both written and drawn entries as it addresses the many aspects of grief that can occur during a lifetime.

Sandy Clendenen knows this territory well as a result of the untimely death of her husband in 1999. She utilizes the wisdom obtained from her own grief experience along with the knowledge afforded her by her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology as she poses careful questions for the reader’s consideration, such as “How many ways do you feel tired?”

A unique aspect of this journal is that it is organized without chapters or a table of contents. This free-flowing format allows the reader to move around through the pages and land on the entry that is most fitting for the mood of the day. Since grief creates a state of fluctuation and uncertainty, this style is well suited to the grieving – a constant reminder that there is not just one path to follow and that any next step is the right step.

The “Move Beyond Grief Journal” is an excellent companion for the long process of grief recovery and could literally take a few years to complete. As the reader meanders through the initial section, which is represented by a drawing of a cocoon, there is a sense of being wrapped in support and comfort as painful emotions find a space for expression.

Then in the section entitled “Breaking Free” the opportunity arises to consider a life beyond grief, when pain has abated somewhat. The possibility of transformation occurring as a result of the grief process is addressed as memories and fears are recalled and examined.

Finally, the journal concludes with “Emergence” where the reader is encouraged to return to life as a new person with a special contribution to offer. This hopeful and promising ending of the book enables the griever to reach a place of peace and resolution, at last, as a butterfly taking flight for the first time.

This journal would be an excellent gift for someone dealing with grief, particularly a few months into the process. The early days of grief are often too tender and emotionally challenging for reading and journaling to be productive. But, when opened at just the right time, this book could be the key to attaining a healthy recovery from loss. 

Sandy Clendenen has truly utilized her own pain of grief to provide a life-transforming opportunity for others who suffer. Keep this journal close at hand for help with your own losses or for a timely gift for someone you love.

Categories: Grief, Death & Dying, Transformation

Copyright ©2010 Karen Wyatt, MD

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