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All three of these books discuss grief with respect. They do not treat it as a pathology but as an important element of human experience.

Donnali Fifield

Cover of Mourning Unlived Lives by Judith A. SavageMourning Unlived Lives: A Psychological Study of Childbearing Loss by Judith A. Savage, a Jungian analyst. Published in 1989 by Chiron Publications in Wilmette, Illinois, this book considers grief from a Jungian perspective. The author looks at the pain following a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a newborn, relating how the parents' reactions fit a universal mourning pattern. Her use of religious and mythological archetypes to illustrate these patterns, while stretching the comparison at times, gives the experience of grief a richer and more elemental context than that presented in other books.

The density of this scholarly monograph may make it hard for a newly bereaved parent to get through. But it has depth and is worth the effort. Unlike the other books on grief written by psychologists, it does not limit itself to a simple, rational dimension, or to the now-standard theory of grief stages. Going beyond those rote categories, it offers a more intricate view of childbearing loss, and of mourning in general.

Out of print and very hard to find.Amazon.com


Cover of Original Kin by Marian SandmaierOriginal Kin: The Search for Connection Among Adult Sisters and Brothers by Marian Sandmaier, a writer on family and gender issues. This is a sensitive, intelligent book that's not afraid to recognize ambivalent feelings. Although Sandmaier writes about sibling connections, she began thinking about the themes for her book after the sudden death of her brother. In the years that followed, she found no books on sibling loss and, she says, she felt unprepared for the "domino effect [it] set in motion" on her surviving siblings. Her book grew out of her need to understand their bond and the meaning her brother's death had in her life.

Both the hardcover and the paperback editions are out of print.



Cover of Solitude by Anthony StorrSolitude: A Return to the Self by Anthony Storr, a noted British psychiatrist. The book discusses the value of solitude as a source of creativity. Storr also examines the link between creativity and depression, which he writes about with fairness since he does not see depression, and other mental conditions, simply as disorders. With the same grace, he explores the role childhood bereavement has on later attachments. He gives numerous examples of writers, philosophers, artists, and other creative individuals who found an outlet, as well as solace, in their work.

Explaining in the introduction that he chose such figures to illustrate his thesis because they left behind compositions, paintings, and other tangible evidence of their creativity, he writes that his ideas about personal fulfillment also apply to people who follow other pursuits: "It is not only men and women of genius who may find their chief value in the impersonal rather than in the personal. I shall argue that interests, whether in writing history, breeding carrier pigeons, speculating in stocks and shares, designing aircraft, playing the piano, or gardening, play a greater part in the economy of human happiness than modern psychoanalysts and their followers allow."

The paperback edition is still in print.


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