Wednesday, May 2, 2018

You Are Not Alone

By Debbie Augenthaler

Everystep Publications     2018
268 pages     Spiritual Memoir

It has been 34 years since my dear husband Lee died of cancer at age 41. It was the most beautiful of all possible deaths, and everyone who was with him as he died saw his spirit leave his body. I was well prepared for his death, and my young children were prepared as well. It had been a long and hard fought battle. As prepared as we were, the grief was with us for a long time. Even 34 years later, as I read You Are Not Alone by Augenthaler, every moment of that death came back into my mind and heart, and I met that grief all over again.

Augenthaler is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. She specializes in trauma, grief, and loss. Her book is an attempt to meet her clients personal narration by sharing her own grief story. Part memoir, part self-help, part therapy, Augenthaler begins her account with her husband’s unexpected death. She then takes us on the journey that leads to her renewal and transformation into a new person.

Much of what she shares is of immediate value for persons who are experiencing their own grief or are in preparation for a death of a loved one. She emphasizes that each grief is different and each person’s response is different. However, it is valuable to share stories so people know that they are not alone.
Another important bit of information concerns asking for help. Augenthaler encourages the grieving to ask for help, whether it be psychological help or physical help. What I learned from my own experience was the people have a tremendous need to give—perhaps even more than the recipient has the need to receive. It is important to graciously receive help. People helped me with the spring gardening, hauling children around, and many, many meals. My teacher friends fed my family every day for the last six weeks of Lee’s life. I could go on and on with the gifts of time, food, and services that people offered.

Interspersed with her story are pauses and meditations that offer insights into grief, strategies to try, beautiful poetry, and other gifts of encouragement and comfort.

You Are Not Alone is a unique and powerful guide for “grief, healing, and hope.” I will pass my copy along to a friend.

Debbie Augenthaler’s website.

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