Living When… (Poems)

Living When… (Poems)

Living When a Loved One Has Died (poems)

Grollman. Earl A.





When someone you love dies, Earl Grollman writes, “there is no way to predict how you will feel. The reactions of grief are not like recipes, with given ingredients, and certain results. . . . Grief is universal. At the same time it is extremely personal. Heal in your own way.”

If you are grieving, Living When a Loved One Has Died can help. This gentle, reassuring book explains the bewildering feelings that arise after a loved one’s death and helps you honestly confront your loss. While the journey through grief is neither straightforward nor simple, Living When a Loved One Has Died will be an invaluable companion as you sort through your feelings, take steps toward healing, and begin to build a new life.



A large-type, capsule aid for the bereaved, set up in the form of blank verse. Grollman uses comforting if well-worn assurances (“”One touch of sorrow makes the whole world kin””) and words of advice to apply to the by-now familiar stages of loss, grief, and recovery established by recent research. There is the nightmare period of shock and suffering with its many symptoms–from numbness, anger, denial to depression. (“”This depression is not weakness. It is a psychological necessity.””) Grollman offers reasonable advice for aiding recovery: accept your loss, express your feelings, gradually move toward activities, other people, and new insights. He seems, sometimes, to be addressing only mature widows (“”Never before was it necessary for you to balance a checkbook””), and his insistence that the reader say “”died”” rather than “”passed on”” or “”departed”” ignores some fairly common family and religious traditions. However, there is a larger problem for which Grollman alone cannot be faulted. This is the currently popular premise that a bereaved person in agony welcomes the assurance that his private anguish is nicely within the public norm. In the light, also, of our awe and fear of the fact of death–which, some feel, tilt our whole existence–this lulling sort of grief therapy can seem like a pair of waterwings in a maelstrom. But there appears to be a steady response to this approach, and Grollman’s little book is simple, explicit, and undemanding.


My husband died at 47 of lung cancer. I went to grief counseling and purchased any book or piece of information I could find to help me through the grieving process. This book, by far, has helped me the most. It was easy to read when my concentration level was at an all- time low. This was written by someone who has obviously been through this experience. I keep several copies of this book on hand to give to friends as the need arises.
This is a book that can be read and re-read many times. It has brought me great peace and comfort over these last 4 years.
Thank you so much Rabbi Grollman!

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Barnes & Noble

I discovered this book 5 years ago when my mother passed away and I was looking for help in my grieving process. I have since bought it for all of my friends and co-workers as they have lost loved ones (I’ve probably given more than 20 of these books). This book is very straightforward in explaining the grieving process using simple, short passages. It gives you ‘permission’ to feel the way you do without any apologies to either yourself or others.

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I give this book to anyone I can when someone they love dies. I have lost several people in my life, but I was first given this book when my father passed away while I was in college. In all of my experience this book has impacted me the most and has proven to be one of the best books to give someone who is experiencing a loss. To put this is in a little more perspective, I have at least 15 books about loss and grief on my shelf, and half of them are clinical/for treating my clients. This one is still the stand out.

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