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Creative Grieving: A Hip Chick’s Path From Loss to Hope by Elizabeth Berrien

18179596Berrien’s story starts off with a drop kick right to the heart: after breathlessly awaiting the birth of her first child – a son named Tookie – her little boy arrived stillborn.  There was nothing the doctor could do to save him.  In time, Elizabeth and her husband Brian were ready to try for another child, but first they had to face what seemed an insurmountable grief over Tookie’s loss.  Joyously, Elizabeth was pregnant again several months later – but the worst was not yet behind her.  Brian worked for the U.S. military, and his last tour abroad – a six-month stint in Afghanistan – loomed darkly over the young couple’s heads.  While overseas, Brian would Skype with Elizabeth every day – until one day he didn’t.  Just like that, Elizabeth had not only a child, but a loving husband taken from her in what seemed a massively unfair gesture by Fate.  Here, in Creative Grieving, Berrien recounts her depression in the wake of a double loss and her journey toward rediscovering bliss.

You might assume from the summary that Creative Grieving is a hard or troubling read, but, in reality, it’s quite the opposite.  Berrien describes periods of tremendous sadness and hopelessness following the loss of her child and husband, but she also includes moments shared with her daughter Ella, and other members of her loving and supportive family.  Elizabeth had such trouble sleeping that, for a while after Brian’s death, one of her sisters always slept by her side, to comfort her should she awaken in terror during the night;  I can’t imagine a more touching image of love between sisters.  The overall message of Creative Grieving is that there isn’t one specific way to grieve.  There’s no paint-by-numbers solution to feeling like yourself again.  While Berrien’s book offers advice to anyone experiencing grief or depression, she specifies that people need to listen to their own bodies and make their own decisions in dealing with their emotions; don’t let anyone bully you into acting a certain way: only you know how you are feeling today.  A relatable read, this will undoubtedly serve as a great resource for a grieving friend or family member.

To purchase a copy of Creative Grieving: A Hip Chick’s Path From Loss to Hope, click here to find it on Amazon.