Facing the Ultimate Loss

Facing the Ultimate Loss

A Book Review By Brenda Hyde

Facing the Ultimate Loss:

Coping with the Death of a Child

Authors Robert J. Marx and Susan Wengerhoff Davidson

Published by Champion Press Ltd.

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I watched my parents suffer after losing my brother at 19 years old in a sudden accident. I also watched a neighbor drive the car his son had owned before he died until it was rusty, old and barely drivable. Over the years I've discussed the loss of a child with mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. All experienced their losses at different times, but all had the same sadness in their eyes when talking of their child. If I've learned anything it's that the grieving over the loss of a child is different than other losses. If you haven't experienced it, you can't completely understand the depth of the grief, but when I read Facing the Ultimate Loss: Coping with the Death of a Child, I was able to understand better what my parents, my neighbor, and the many women I have spoke with were going through.

Robert Marx and Susan Wengerhoff Davidson have written a guide for parents and those who want to understand what it takes to cope, such as professionals, friends, and family members. It's important for everyone involved with grieving parents to understand the complexity of their grief. They don't needed the added stress of misunderstandings. I wish every social worker, funeral director or hospice had a copy of this handbook to give grieving families, plus a copy to read themselves. It would make a world of difference.

Chapters include:

Darkness: Can I Ever Accept the Fact That My Child is Dead

Who Am I Now? Recognizing Myself

How Can We Ever Say Goodbye?

Fingerprints in Time

Do Our Children Ever Die?

There is Never Enough Time

How Did Your Child Die?

Bonds That Can Never Be Shattered



Changed Hopes-Changed Lives

The Family in Transition

Mourning Out of Control

The Search for Faith

How Can I Face the Future Without My Child

The authors mention that there are many books on grief out there. That is true, but some books have a narrow worldview that may not reach everyone, others are too much like a lecture, and still others talk down to the reader. I liked Facing the Ultimate Loss: Coping with the Death of a Child because it allows for the differences between mothers, fathers, men, women and personalities. There is no one formula to recover from the death of a child, but the authors give guidelines that may help a grieving parent find their way out of the darkness to begin coping.

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