An excellent resource for understanding your grief

Have you ever lost someone you love, or do you anticipate the death of someone you care about? Are you, yourself, facing the end of your life? I believe this is just about everyone reading this newspaper! Having been through the loss of two of my brothers, my husband, my friend, my mother, my step-dad, and my father, I found that the book “Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart (2nd Edition),” to be a wonderful resource. The author, Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., writes with clarity and empathy.  This is not a “to do” list for coping with loss and grief; it is an offering of guidelines to honor your unique way of engaging with grief. He presents insights and assistance in finding your own understanding and self-compassion.

The book’s “10 Essential Touchstones” provided me with a validation of my experiences, honoring the influences of loving people and losing them, and providing a sense of encouragement to view my losses as life-changing.  This book can be used with its companion journal, “Understanding your Grief Journal: Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones”.  This journal could be helpful for processing your own thoughts and feelings by yourself or with other people.

I appreciated the smooth layout of this book. The information was straightforward and written from the author’s own authentic voice. Alongside the main text, the author included quotes from various sources to emphasize his points. One quote that particularly hit home for me was from Vicki Harrison: “Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

“Understanding Your Grief” is available for checkout at the Hospice of Anchorage.  I have been very grateful for hospice services on my life journey. I hope that you can find the support and care that you need, when you need it - we all lead unique lives and yet the older I get the more I realize how closely related we are.  We can help each other.

Hospice of Anchorage is a non-profit and non-medical hospice that provides help, hope and comfort for clients, caregivers and families navigating serious illness and end of life diagnosis. Our resource center has an excellent collection of books for checkout on the topics of chronic disease, grief, end of life, child loss, dementia, caregiving, nutrition and more.  A loan closet has durable medical equipment such as walkers and shower chairs. Advance Directive forms are available. Dementia care items include robotic pets, music players and fidget blankets. Beautiful and comforting lap blankets created by a local craftswoman are also available. There is no cost for services and goods.

For information, call 907-561-5322.

Carol DelValle is a volunteer Compassionate Companion for Hospice of Anchorage.