2013 Nautilus Silver Award
CIPA EVVY Award, 1st Prize, Inspirational and
Writers’ Digest Annual Inspirational Book Award
The book is well designed, well written, and really stood out from all the other entries in the spiritual category.While most focus on Christianity, Ms. Eckl is all-inclusive and subtle. She gently guides her readers through their grief, by offering up her own experience and insights from her healing process.
It’s a lovely book that will both nurture and inspire those experiencing the loss of a loved one, but it would also appeal to anyone, as everyone knows someone experiencing grief. The author is to be commended for her spare eloquence. She makes it seem easy, but it is the selection of details, the zen-like approach, and the completion of thoughts that makes this book a standout.
It’s an ideal format in that someone can pick it up and read one or two chapters relevant to their own process and go back again and again for reinforcement or to find sections that relate to where they are in the process. I’d definitely give this to anyone I knew who was in a period of grief.
A Beautiful Grief: Reflections on Letting Go is a prize-winning book written expressly to offer comfort and solace to those experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one.
Author Cheryl Eckl shares her personal sorrow of losing her beloved husband to colon cancer, and teaches the reader how to “love our way through to grief’s natural conclusion”, understanding the power of renewal, acceptance, and hope in moments of great despair.
While A Beautiful Grief respects the role that religious faith can play in offering comfort, it is primarily a secular guide to psychological self-healing. “…having some kind of daily centering practice becomes a psychological insurance policy against the day when life throws us a curve ball. Because practice creates a physical sense of safety and an experience of the survivability of self, when we lose our outer moorings, our inner ones remain intact. Our faith may be tested by difficult circumstances, but it is less likely to be shattered if we are practiced in being present with the self that lives independent of belief systems.”
Empathic and compassionate, A Beautiful Grief is highly recommended.
Review by William G. Hoy, Ph.D.
Association for Death Education and Counseling
When it comes to grief, autobiographical accounts—or what I call the “My story grief books”—are, as the old saying goes, “a dime a dozen!” I get a lot of these sent to me to review, and in most cases, I respond with a kind, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
While undoubtedly a good catharsis for the author, one danger of these books is that they set up an individual griever’s experience as normative for all, unintentionally implying that the author’s experience is a “superior” way or the “right way” of grieving.
Cheryl Lafferty Eckl’s little book breaks that mold. In a brief 150 pages, she does share her own story, written from the vantage point of three years past the death of her husband to colon cancer.
These 24 highly readable chapters offer hope and direction for grieving people and inspiration for the professionals and volunteers who care for grieving people.
Her writing paints colorfully on the canvas of a bereaved heart, creatively addressing the questions with which grieving people struggle but about which they are often afraid to speak.
Some conservative religious people might be occasionally put off as Eckl drifts into the use of terms like “soul work” and “cosmic dance,” but be assured that this book portrays a solid, positive message about growth through grief.
My favorite story from the book concerns Bentley, the Eckls’ 14‐month old standard poodle whose life was turned upside down by Stephen’s death. Cheryl describes his response to the loss of his “alpha male” in terms with which animal lovers will resonate.
My favorite lines from the book come early:
I’m beginning to notice a new aspect of grief. It’s a constant dance between claiming the present and letting go of the past. My mother reminded me last night that time is a great healer. But I don’t think it’s actually time itself that heals. It’s what we do with the time (p. 17).
Flying Crane Press | ISBN: 978-0-9828107-2-9 |Trade paperback $12.95 | e-book also available
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