||Friendgrief: An Absence Called Presence
Harold Ivan Smith
Death, Value and Meaning Series, John D. Morgan, Series Editor
You can read the Introduction for free right now, just click here.
IN PRAISE OF
"For all too long the death of a friend has been ignored in the literature
on grief and loss. Finally, there is a book that compassionately
embraces the profound loss, and need to mourn the death of someone who
may not be on your personal genogram. Open the pages to Friendgrief
and open your heart to the reality that the death of a friend demands a
"safe place" to mourn openly and honestly"
—Alan D. Wolfelt, Director, Center For Loss ad Life
Transition, Fort Collins, CO.
"Here at last is a needed book that transforms our knowledge of those
who grieve for their friends with truly superb, validating understanding
—Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, D.H.L.;D.D., Author: Living
When a Loved One Has Died
"A sensitive and caring book that honors friendship providing information
and perspective to ensure that friends are considered as part of the family
of mourners, It makes the invisible, visible."
—Phyllis R. Silverman, Ph.D., Co-Author: Widower:
When Men Are Left Alone and Author: Never Too Young to Know: Death
in Children's Lives
"Smith's book makes a
significant contribution to the existing literature on grief and bereavement for
several reasons. First, it addresses the neglected and often disenfranchised
area of friendgrief. Second, as spelled out in the "core beliefs" that
underscore the book's thesis, it legitimizes the grieving and bereavement
process of friends for friends. Third, it presents detailed information on the
rituals and subjective emotional expressions inherent in these rituals. Fourth,
it spells out the various roles played by friends in these grief and bereavement
rituals at the death of a friend. A fifth and final contribution of the book
centers on the "Implications for Clinicians," a section in which Smith
provides guidelines for professionals working with friends in grief.
As both a clinician and as a person grieving over the loss of close friends, I
found it very easy to relate to the information contained in this book. Over the
past several years, I have lost several very close friends. In each case, I was
expected to put my own grief on hold, rise to the occasion and provide not only
support to grieving family members but also handle many of the various
programmatic structures surrounding the rituals of my friend's death. My own
grief seemed to matter to no one but myself. As Smith has indicated, the message
seemed to be simply go on with your life. I did go on with my life, but had I
had the opportunity to read Friendgrief, I feel my transition through the
grief process would have gone more smoothly and I would have felt
differently not only about myself but also about my friend's family and my
larger circle of friends. It would also have provided needed direction in my
work as a clinician working with grief and bereavement."
—Douglas R. Gross, Death Studies, Volume 26, No.10, 2002
"This wealth of material is
used in discourses covering everything from prayer and the nature of God to
practical advice about pall bearing. I found it a rich and slightly heady
mixture, best taken in small doses with time for digestion in between. It is a
work of great conviction, clearly written from the heart. It is human, and
touching, and scholarly. Key concepts are usefully summarized towards the end of
each chapter. Many of the chapters end with a section headed Implications for
Clinicians, in which guidance is offered in dealing with client issues
around such topics as religion, attending the funeral, offering support. It will
be a useful resource for professionals from many disciplines, and for the lay
public— the 'friendgrievers', who may also find it a source of comfort and hope.
wrote this book in order to change things: to have the loss of a friend
acknowledged as a legitimate source of grief which may be more sever, sometimes,
than that resulting from the loss of a close family member. Yes. Of course.
In doing so he has addressed and made public an important and necessary issue;
its airing is long overdue."
—Sandra Horn, Psychology Department, University of South Hampton, UK,
Progress in Palliative Care, Volume 10, Number 5
ABOUT THE BOOK
Friends die. For some, friendgrief is an occasional
intrusion; for others, it is a continual factor shaping the relational
landscape. Some ten million Americans are annually impacted by the death
of a friend. For many adults, the shaping losses of life have been or will
be the deaths of friends, particularly as a result of war, civil unrest,
or a tragedy. Many now wonder: Who in my circle of friends will die
next? In a society that disenfranchises grief, how does an individual grieve
thoroughly for a friend?
Historically, friends support the chief mourner and
family members. Friends are told that their grief must not compete with
or overshadow the grief of the family. But Harold Ivan Smith points out
that the friends of many adults compose a family of investment.
Friends are valued relationships. Nevertheless, the family first
expectation motivates many friends to ignore their own grief and
the needs of others in the friendorbit to concentrate on the needs of family
members. Smith argues that friends may be so busy doing grief that
they fail to honor their own grief.
This book not only examines friendgrief from a theoretical
and clinical framework, but Smith offers fascinating vignettes from the
lives of well-known friendgrievers such as Elton John, Diane Sawyer, Ralph
Abernathy, C. S. Lewis, Harry Truman, Tommy Lasorda, Jimmy Carter, Fritz
Mondale, Bill Clinton, Calvin Trillin, and Alan King. The author includes
moving narratives of numerous individuals who have never gained notoriety
but have become seasoned friendgrievers.
Harold Ivan Smith thinks it is time that friendgrief
becomes healthy grief. He concludes: Your grief counts! Give your grief
Intended Audience: Bereaved persons,
death educators, grief counselors, grief ministry, courses in death education,
funeral directors, hospice workers, nurses, psychologists, social workers,
clergy, self-help groups, as well as family and friends of the bereaved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harold Ivan Smith is a wordsmith and storyteller,
grief educator and consultant. He is a graduate of the Mid-America College
of Funeral Service, Trevecca Nazarene University, has the MA from Scarritt
College, the Ed.S. from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University,
and the doctorate in spiritual formation from Asbury Theological Seminary.
He has also studied at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee,
and the Episcopal Divinity School of the West.
Harold Ivan is an adjunct professor at Northern Baptist
Seminary, Lombard, Illinois. He leads innovative storytelling groups at
Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City and for other organizations around
the country. He has been a keynote speaker at the National Hospice Organization's
Conference on Pastoral Care and at the National Perinatal Bereavement Conference.
He is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling.
He is the author of these books on grief: A Decembered
Grief: Living with Loss When Others Are Celebrating; Grieving the Death
of a Friend; Death and Grief: Helping Through The Small Group; and
ABCs of Healthy Bereavement: The Shawnee Mission Medical Center Guide to Bereavement.
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