I think I’ve bought ten copies of Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love over the years. I always keep one on my bookshelf, but the others I’ve given away. My husband and I first read it when we lost my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and my sister within eight-months time. I wish I’d known about it when my granny passed away. And now, in the days following my mother-in-law’s death, we’re reading it again.
Ironically, we’re reading the copy we gave her when she was walking through the loss of her two children.
Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love, by Raymond R. Mitsch and Lynn Brookside is a small, unassuming book that spreads a healing balm on the raw wounds of grief. Comprised of 70 daily devotions, this little book has walked us through the roller coaster of thoughts, emotions, and physical manifestations of losing loved ones.
It came highly recommended by a dear friend who had lost his young wife to spinal meningitis and had sought counsel from Raymond, a clinical counselor, in the early days of his grief. His family has given away more copies of this book than we have.
Each daily reading identifies and validates the different thoughts, emotions, and physical manifestations people experience when they’re grieving. Did you know grieving people often suffer from loss of concentration, panic attacks, and sleeplessness? Or that sometimes they feel anger toward their loved ones who have died? Did you realize it’s normal for them to suffer flashbacks of the last time they saw their loved one? Or to hear their voices or think they see them in a crowd or driving down the road?
Each short chapter talks about a different aspect of grief. Because both authors have lost loved ones, (Ray lost his father when he was 12 years old), they also share snippets of their own grieving experiences. This makes the book seem more like a conversation with an empathetic friend than a grief-counseling manual.
Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love is especially helpful for those who are suffering a significant loss for the first time. It’s also been helpful to my husband and me with every subsequent death we’ve experienced. While the process of grieving grows more familiar with every loss, each death is different, and we find different parts of the book resonating with us depending on what we’re wrestling with.
What brings us the most comfort as we work our way through this book—again—is that Ray and Lynn are Christians, and this is a Christian devotional for dealing with grief and loss. The book’s foundation is the hope-filled truths of Scripture, and their words are Spirit empowered. From the first devotion to the last, they share the basis of our hope as believers, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
“Brothers, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of them, who have no hope. . . .”
If you’re grieving today, or you know someone who is, I highly recommend Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love.