Academic journal article Family Relations

Losses in Later Life: A Way of Walking with God

Academic journal article Family Relations

Losses in Later Life: A Way of Walking with God

Article excerpt

Losses in Later Life: A way of Walking with God. R. S. Sullender. New York: Haworth. 1999. 165 pp. ISBN 0-7890-- 0628-6. $19.95, paper.

The second edition of R. Scott Sullender's book, Losses in Later Life, is a great collection of illustrations and case studies that give clear examples of the varied losses experienced throughout life. Each chapter begins with a Bible verse, high-- lighting the direction the author wishes to take the reader. The author sheds light on the dynamics of grief, spiritual health, loss of youth, family, parents, work, spouse, health, and independence. As a grief counselor, it was easy to identify many of my clients and their personal experiences within the numerous case examples provided. The professional presentation does suffer somewhat from typographical errors and misspelled words, although it is not enough to detract from the clear thoughts of the author. The chapters flow well and are easy to read.

Chapter 1 outlines the subjective experience of grief, pointing out common reactions that individuals have when faced with loss. Sullender discusses the differences between grieving for someone close and grieving for the loss of something less significant. He speaks to how real the pain of grief is and how people try to avoid it. The author also speaks to the consequences of loss, the difficulty in realizing its full impact, and the adjustments it requires in our lives. Sullender suggests that we employ numerous defense mechanisms to avoid, deny, and soften the impact of grief's pain.

If this book is written for clergy, chapter 2 and the sections dedicated to the theme of idolatry seem to be a good outline for a sermon. The chapter is titled "Spiritual Health and Grief," although it more accurately describes "spiritual pathology. …

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