The topics range from the psychological responses to a parent’s death such as shock, depression, and guilt, to the practical consequences such as dealing with estates and funerals.
An analysis of the problems and emotional reactions experienced by those who have lost a parent, and how they coped. Myers wrote this book because he had been emotionally torn by his mother’s death and overwhelmed during the series of harrowing operations and illnesses that preceded it. In its preparation, he distributed questionnaires and personally interviewed a number of friends, relatives and acquaintances plus various psychologists and others familiar with problems associated with parental deaths. The bereaved include some who tell of being barely affected, some who recall powerful and, at times, frightening grief, disorientation and despair. Although the latter group ultimately came to terms in various ways with their loss, they tended to feel isolated in a culture that downplays public mourning. Readers who have lost one or more parents will, in all likelihood, Find someone in this book who voices experiences that closely parallel their own. This is the book’s chief value: it reassures us that we are not alone, nor are our reactions an indication of emotional instability, weakness or (conversely) inhuman indifference. The various experts who comment on the case histories further bolster the concept that there is a wide range of normal reactions to the death of a parent, while also setting forth guidelines that delineate when a reaction has become pathological. The chapters that deal with how to cope with a long terminal illness and with funerals, estates, family squabbles and lawsuits over property disposition are less helpful. Myers writes with considerable sensitivity and compassion. Despite some deficiencies, his book should give its audience considerable insight into a universal problem, and reassurance that, in the long run, the world will be set right again.
I read this book when my father died. I was 21 and couldn’t relate to most of the books out there, since they seemed to be geared either toward children or toward middle-aged people who’d lost an elderly parent. I was very grateful that this book addressed adult readers of all different ages, including mine. Myers recognizes the different things people are likely going through at different points in their lives. It was comforting to me just to realize that grieving was a normal, natural process and that, even though I felt at an awkward age to be experiencing this type of loss, I wasn’t alone.