Good Grief People

By Lynne Turner in Book Reviews

A book launch for “Good Grief People,” an anthology by several area writers and one from British Columbia designed to  “ease the sting of death by recognizing and respecting the individuality of grief and the reality of hope,” was held at Aboyne this spring with all of the authors in attendance.

Alan Anderson flew in for the launch and to meet the other authors for the first time. The book came about when Drayton’s Glynis M. Belec was chatting on social media with Ruth Smith-Meyer of Alisa Craig, formerly of Listowel. Smith-Meyer, according to the author introductions in the book,  “became quite familiar with grief through the death of Norman, her husband of 39 years, then after 10 years of a second happy marriage, the death of Paul.”

Belec’s company, Angel Hope Publishing, published the anthology. In the book’s forward she said the conversation “helped me shift from the ‘what I don’t have now’ to the ‘what I did have then’ (and) I told Ruth it was a ‘good grief’ thing to say. Then I said someone should write a book and call it “Good Grief People.”

Others contributing to the anthology are Barbara Heagy of Guelph and Donna Mann of Elora. The book’s editor, Carolyn Wilker of Guelph, was also at the launch.

The book is divided into sections titled “Facing the Fact”, “Anticipatory Grief,” “Unexpected Grief,” “Good Grief” and “Learning Through Loss.” It is filled with highly personal and passionately written short stories and poems. Some will make the readers cry; all will leave them feeling uplifted.

If you are an atheist, or have trouble believing in heaven or the concept of life after death, the book may not be for you as the stories are heavily slanted in that direction. The contributors are, after all, Christian writers and bloggers. Mann is a retired minister while Anderson is a spiritual care worker at a nursing home.  However, the stories are so powerfully written that it may make you question those beliefs.

Lists at the back at the back of the book include, “good things to say and do for those who grieve” and “what NOT to say to those who grieve.” Both are spot on and are perhaps the most helpful part of the entire anthology. There are also lists of resources for those who are grieving.

Death is a part of life and, although it can be very painful for those left behind,  “Good Grief People” is a wonderful resource. It should perhaps be read before a person is actually grieving but it is also very fitting for those reflecting on the life lost.