When People Grieve

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Front Cover for When People Grieve

When People Grieve

The Power of Love in the Midst of Pain

We all suffer losses in life and yet grieving, and supporting those in pain can be a touchy, confusing prospect. D’Arcy’s compassionate guidance, gleaned from her own experience of tragic loss, will help you comfort the bereaved and nurture the healing process.

This book offers a simple introduction to loss and the grief process, and practical suggestions for how to deal with one’s own grief or that of others, be it a loved one, a neighbor, or a friend.

An internationally renowned expert on grief counseling, D’Arcy draws on her own painful experience of the loss of her husband and daughter. She distills the wisdom that she gained through the process of grieving and shares insights that inspired her to heal and grow in the face of tremendously difficult life lessons.

When People Grieve is full of practical suggestions with sections on specific ways to help, thoughtful visiting, and things not to say. Chapters on the patterns of grief illuminate the work of mourning and teach patience with the process. D’Arcy also explores the many ways in which grief can manifest such as anger, withdrawal, need to control, and guilt. This book is a compassionate road map for friends and family of the bereaved and shares a deep understanding of what people need as they move through loss.

Reviews and endorsements

"Paula D'Arcy is a writer, retreat leader, and seminar speaker. A former psychotherapist, her ministry grew from personal tragedy. In 1975, she survived an accident that took the lives of her husband and twenty-two-month-old daughter. D'Arcy taps into her own story of bereavement as well as the experiences of others in this revision of a book published in 1990 as When Your Friend Is Grieving. It is about loss and hope; she calls it a compassionate road map for the bereaved. One of the first things grief does is take away your ideas and expectations about the way things are supposed to be in your life. Suddenly all your plans are out the window or put on hold. D'Arcy says that the grieving person has to surrender these images and ideas and let pain teach us what it will. There is no "one-size-fits-all" in grief, so each of us has to follow our own special path. That path may include tears, anger, silence, inertia, or an eagerness to talk and do many things.

D'Arcy makes it clear that there is no magic timetable to grieving, and the worst thing we can do is try to rush a bereaved person through the process of grief. The grace note is that grief contains the healing we need, and it can become a profound spiritual helper if we keep our hearts open. D'Arcy answers all kind of practical questions about bereavement with material on depression, shock, the body's response to grief, tips on visiting, honest conversation, things not to say, the gift of touch, the holidays, and ways you can help. She concludes: 'Grief has been my great teacher and the hardest work I have ever done. It cut me in two, excising my innocence and my illusions. When the scar began to mend, new awarenesses began to replace the illusions. I learned that everyday choices are powerful.' D'Arcy also cherishes the love that still ties her to her deceased husband and child. It is a love that will last through all time."
Spirituality & Health


"Though claiming to be both a 'road map' for  bereaved people and a guide for those who are supporting them, this book is clearly aimed primarily at  the supporters. It contains several suggestions of things to do or avoid and also provides explanations for why people who are grieving may react or behave in certain ways. It is not written in an academic, text-book  style and would make good reading for someone who has not made a study of grief but wants to both understand and help someone who has  experienced a death. The author uses many of her own experiences of bereavement in the text and this enhances the points she makes.

This is an interesting book that many will want to read from beginning to end, but it also works as a resource to dip into for information on specific topics that are relevant at the time. There is information on a wide range of issues, from the classic ones of shock, anger, guilt and depression to the more concrete ones of what not to say, suggestions for help, the gift of time and providing continuing support. Overall this is a very useful and practical book to recommend to those supporting the bereaved."
Bereavement Care Journal

Paperback / 144 pages
Dimensions: 5 1/8 x 7 1/2