Courage to Grieve

Courage to Grieve

The Courage to Grieve

Tatelbaum, Judy





This unusual self-help book about surviving grief offers the reader comfort and inspiration. Each of us will face some loss, sorrow and disappointment in our lives, and The Courage to Grieve provides the specific help we need to enable us to face our grief fully and to recover and grow from the experience. Although the book emphasizes the response to the death of a loved one, The Courage to Grieve can help with every kind of loss and grief.

Judy Tatelbaum gives us a fresh look at understanding grief, showing us that grief is a natural, inevitable human experience, including all the unexpected, intense and uncomfortable emotions like sorrow, guilt, loneliness, resentment, confusion, or even the temporary loss of the will to live. The emphasis is to clarify and offer help, and the tone is spiritual, optimistic, creative and easy to understand. Judy Tatelbaum provides excellent advice on how to help oneself and others get through the immediate experience of death and the grief that follows, as well as how to understand the special grief of children. Particularly useful are the techniques for completing or “finishing” grief–counteracting the popular misconception that grief never ends. The Courage to Grieve shows us how to live life with the ultimate courage: not fearing death. This book is about so much more than death and grieving it is about life and joy and growth.


The Courage to Grieve is a bright candle along a dark, mysterious path on which none of us are equipped to travelcoping with the loss of a loved one. But it contains, I believe, far more than many reasonable and logical suggestions for handling, with courage, our aching grief over the passing of another. This excellent and sensitive book also sheds considerable light on how each of us can learn to live, unafraid, among the always present reminders of our own unavoidable encounter with the shafts of death.” — Og Mandino

The Courage to Grieve is a wise and helpful human document. It is written with sympathy and compassion. And it presents sound and sensible insights. The book should be helpful to those experiencing grief. Professionally the book will be a valuable aid to others who counsel with grieving persons.” — Norman Vincent Peale

“An excellent and tactical, valid book on all the aspects of grief and grief resolution, including important ideas about self-help and avenues to finish unfinished business and teach people how to let go. It is a well-done book written with wisdom and love, and makes people aware that every ending is also a new beginning.” — Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.

“I have never read a more clearly written, thorough and understanding book on the subject than The Courage to Grieve. Judy Tatelbaum has reached a desperately needed hand toward us alland her hand is truly helpful.” — Eugenia Price

“Sooner or later, each of us must experience grief. As unpleasant as it may be it is a reality we must face. The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum serves a very important function in helping us face thatreality.” — Lee Salk, Ph.D. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



A Gestalt therapist takes a stab at grief: no sparks, but some quiet ruminative moments for those so inclined. Unlike KÃœbler-Ross, Tatelbaum recognizes only three stages of grief: shock or numbness (a natural self-protection against overwhelming feelings); suffering and disorganization (the longest and most crucial stage, where we risk becoming bogged down in guilt, unacceptable anger, etc.); and a period of reorganization on our way to resolution (or “”finishing””). Where our abilities to confront the pain directly are limited, so are our chances for recovery; Tatelbaum discusses the toll of “”unsuccessful”” grief, the need to go over and over images and feelings about the deceased until we can let go of them. In extreme cases, she would have us try the Gestalt hallmark: a direct, chair-to-chair dramatized encounter with the loved one who has gone, wherein we vocalize all the things (“”unfinished business””) we never got a chance to state before (e.g., anger at abandonment, or simply “”good-bye””). Though this will never dazzle with its depth (“”The best solution for unsuccessful grief. . . is to resolve the grief as fully as possible””), it’s a low-key treatment that may soothe effectively.


When I lost my mother, I was searching for answers that I couldn’t find in conversations with family and friends. Reading this book gave me the freedom I was searching for in the complex mourning process I was in the middle of. What I read so totally affirmed that what I was feeling both emotionally and physically was a natural process of dealing with the loss of my mother, someone so significant in my life. I would so highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to reconcile with the loss of a loved one. Sometimes when you can’t talk to anyone for answers, the written word offers comfort. I found this book to be of great value.

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I was reluctant to read anything after the passing of my wife. After a month I realized I needed help dealing with the difficulty of separation after 35 years of marriage. I picked up several books and skimmed them at the bookstore. When I began reading The Courage to Grieve, I felt the author was speaking from personal experience and knew exactly what I was going through. As I read the book, I began to checkoff in the margin all of the things she was saying that matched exactly what I was feeling and experiencing. It has been comforting to know that someone understood, and had advice for me. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the process of grief or anyone who is in the middle of it.

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The fact that I can still recall and cite points from this book-albeit 23 years later-testifies to its value. While nothing erases the pain over losing a loved one, it did indeed help me in the grieving processes of my mother.

I appreciate that the author speaks from both personal and professional experience. Why, you may ask, am I now archiving it in my bookshelves? Recently, I mentioned this book to a relative upon the tragic loss of her neighbor. I feel it will benefit others, also.

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