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Title:  Growing in Grace through Grief aftermath
Author:  Margaret McSweeney
Pages:  192
Year:  2012
Publisher:  New Hope Publishers
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
Aftermath is a very accurate word for learning how to grow into our new “normal.”  No one on the earth has been unaffected or untouched by grief, whether it is a personal experience or impersonal.  By impersonal, it is what tugs on our hearts, causes prayers to flow from our lips or tears to spill from our eyes when news of tragedy has struck whether it is near or far, we grieve the same.  Now, mind you, I am not saying we grieve in the same way, just stating we feel or grieve regardless of many factors.
                To be honest, this was one book I really didn’t want to read.  Yet in His Sovereignty, the Lord had me sign up to write a review of it.  I wasn’t aware of my need to read these comforting words, but He was.  In June of this year, we lost my mother-in-law, in 2010 my father-in-law, in 2003 a dear friend, and in 2000 my husband’s only sister.   Now my father has very advanced Alzheimer’s so he isn’t the man I once knew.  My mother and I aren’t very close.  Don’t misunderstand; I love my parents, but the loss of closeness I suffer from happened many years back.  It still affects my todays, though not all of them, and will affect my tomorrows in some measure.  The grief I have is very deep and complex.  It evens crops up when I wish to goodness it wouldn’t.
                The heart of what Margret shares in her book contains many riches unearthed during the process of writing the book as she shares in her introduction.  Margret shares her mother’s written legacy as well as her father’s, even some from people before them.  For me, it reminded me that the journals I have written and kept are the legacy I hope my children unearth after I am home in heaven.  I pray too that they are filled with words that bring God glory, comfort my sons and whoever else may read them.
                In the book the emotions of grief are what are shared, not the “stages” which makes this book more helpful than other books.  Why?  The reason is if we talk about stages, then we tend think of it happening in sequential rhythm and in the same way for everyone, but that isn’t true.  We are all unique and go through the “stages” many times in many different sequences.  The emotions come when they come.  In the table of contents, they are identified as:  shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The author doesn’t end there, which is also truth, as God does turn our mourning into dancing. 
                In the final chapters, Margret shares ideas for:  a comfort box, helping others, footprints of faith, leaving a legacy, learning to fly and grace in the wilderness.  Regardless of your experiences with grief, this is a book to keep on the shelves as well as to share with others.  My personal thanks to the author for putting into print the many truths I, too, have discovered in the crucible of pain.
My rating is 5 stars.
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