Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Great Book for Handling Holidays: The Empty Chair

Are you already dreading this upcoming holidays? If so, take heart. You are not alone! Someday you will want to enjoy the holidays again, but this year your reaction is perfectly normal and shows that you are comprehending and getting ready to handle this aspect of your loss. It's not any fun, but you're in a good place. Better to be here, than to pretend it's not bothering you.
 
A lady who's husband died just a few days ago emailed and asked me for all the help she could get---and with the holidays coming up this book will be wonderful for her as a new widow. It's helpful at any time during widowhood! It's written with compassion and practicality
  • the authors were both widowed 
  • they are professional counsellors and ministers
  • they're featured on GriefShare
The book is easy-to-read and short! Less than 90 pages, it's perfect for "widow fog" reading.
To order, choose either the paperback or ebook, and simply click the links I've provided here. For more info read my review below or the product description at the Christian Book Distributors site.

If you're not familiar with CBD (Christian Book Distributors), let me tell you that they've been providing Christian resources at rock bottom prices for decades. I've always been pleased and impressed with their service and I think you will be too! For example, their price on this book is better than Amazon and GriefShare. And if you order through the links I've provided here you'll help my afflilation with them and I'll be able to review and offer more resources in the future.

FOR THE PAPERBACK VERSION ($8.19):
63779: The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions

By Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. De Vries / Baker Books


The holidays are a great family time, but also a very poignant reminder if a family member has passed away during the year. Move toward healing this Christmas with suggestions and traditions that honor your loved one and also bring joy back into the season.

FOR THE EBOOK ($7.99):
18886EB: Empty Chair, The: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions - eBook Empty Chair, The: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions - eBook

By Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. De Vries / Baker Books


The holidays are a great family time, but also a very poignant reminder if a family member has passed away during the year. Move toward healing this Christmas with suggestions and traditions that honor your loved one and also bring joy back into the season.

***My Review***
The Empty Chair--Handling grief on holidays and special occasions, by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeege and Robert C. DeVries, Baker Books, 2001. 91 pages.
 
These authors know grief both professionally and personally. Professionally, they are Christian counsellors and authors. If you've attended GriefShare, you might recognize them from the videos.
 
Personally, they've experienced grief during the holidays. Each of their first spouses died shortly before the holiday season. That year Robert accidentally set a place for his wife at their traditional dinner party, and Susan wanted to skip Christmas, so they write with practicality and compassion.

They liken grief to a forest fire which aptly describes the devastation and overwhelming dread of facing the holidays.

I find this book particularly helpful for November and December, but this book applies year-round. July 4th, Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, etc., plus personal birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days are mentioned. Use it all year.
 
Each chapter briefly anchors the reader in what they've experienced: the devastation, the ashes, the memories, the hope. Then they share action points and healthy behaviors to implement, plus a page of reflection on Scripture and a written prayer.

It's a beautiful nugget of a book. It's written to a general audience--for all who have lost any loved one, be it spouse, child, parent or friend. While the readership is assumed to be Christian, there are two candle-lighting memorials to choose from in the appendix of the book--one is non-religious, the other is Christian. The Empty Chair --I highly recommend this transforming book! After reading it you'll never feel the same about that empty chair in your own home.
 
***
Often, the anticipation of significant days is worse than the actual event. But it helps to prepare. I hope to mention other helpful resources for facing the holidays in the days and weeks to come. If you have some favorite titles, events to attend, or techniques you've found helpful, please share them in the comment box or by email. Thanks so much, ferree

2 comments:

  1. I witnessed a very touching "Empty Chair" Memorial Dedication this past Sunday at a local church where one of the Elders had gone home to be with Jesus a few months ago. A director's chair embossed with her name was placed near the choir platform to remain there for one year in honor of her service as Minister of Music. A beautiful responsive reading was also included as part of the service: "We give thanks for the life of_________." I'm unsure if this was adapted from the book. I loved the service and will adapt it to honor my husband.

    Thank you, Ferree for offering the book. I plan to order it.

    Sincerely,
    L. Hill

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear L, what a beautiful service you've described and how touching that you'll now be able to adapt it. The empty chair is a strong picture of our loss, isn't it? In the book you'll find a candlelighting memorial that you can do privately or with loved ones, and I think you'll find it equally touching and full of hope. May your holidays be as encouraging and loving as you are. I love hearing from you and will keep you in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am not always able to reply but your remarks mean a lot to me and will appear as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for commenting:
Remember to click the Publish button.
Choosing the anonymous identity is easiest if you do not have your own blog.
Using a computer rather than a cell phone seems to work better. Thanks again!