THE GIFT OF GRIEF — One son’s story following the death of his father by Andrew Stringfellow (Redemptorist Publications, 2015, Supplied by Pleroma Christian Supplies); $25.00; reviewed by DELIA RUANE.

the gift of griefSomeone (I cannot remember who) once said, “grief marks us as human”.

Regardless of race, gender, religion, economic status, all people will experience grief and loss at some point in their lives. Whether expected or not, it is a rude awakening as suddenly our world is shattered by events beyond our control, and our world will never, ever be quite the same again.

The Gift of Grief evolved from a personal journal in which the author started to document his own story of grief, the death of his father. His story like ours is precious, filled with memories and regrets, strength, love and faith. Each chapter touches the heart and for me, reminders of past experiences.

Something that really resonated with me is when he grieves the loss of not only his father’s presence, but his voice calling his name.

This book, as one person observed, is never sentimental, but it is a work of extraordinary tenderness. Each chapter is filled with not only the story of loss but love and gratitude for what had been and continues to be in heart, mind and memory. Throughout the book there is also beautiful artwork with poignant messages, for example “no encounter where heart meets heart is insignificant”. And when talking of his mother “I had never known her without him”. Powerful.

This is a powerful yet tender gift that Andrew Stringfellow shares with us. I am sure that The Gift of Grief will strike a chord and be cherished by all who read it.

Delia Ruane co-ordinates Seasons for Growth, a grief and loss education programme for adults and children, in Auckland diocese.

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