Monday, April 11, 2016

From Grief to Grace, by Jeannie Ewing

Sophia Institute Press, ISBN 9781622822943, April 2016

This is an examination of grief and loss from a perspective of faith, specifically Catholic faith. Ewing draws heavily on her own experiences of loss, including the peaceful end of a grandfather at the end of a long life, a relative who died of the effects of drug addiction, and the birth of a daughter with a rare genetic disease.

Ewing writes intelligently and compassionately about grief, its manifestations, and what we can gain from engaging with our grief. She devotes a fair amount of attention to the fact that grief, real grief, can some from things others may not recognize as that level of loss: divorce, loss of a job, death of a pet, other things that those not experiencing them may regard more lightly. "At least no one died." Many challenges in life can cause real grief that we need to acknowledge and deal with.

She also discusses the differences between clinical depression (Major Depressive Disorder) and grief. It's important to get proper medical treatment for depression, which is in fact a physical illness of the brain. Grief is not, but rather an appropriate emotional response to major loss, but well-intentioned medical professionals and others may mistake it for depression and encourage depression-appropriate treatment.

I found this a rich and rewarding read, but it is closely grounded in Catholic belief, tradition, doctrine, and theology. For readers who are not Roman Catholic or Roman Catholic-adjacent in their beliefs, it may be less rewarding and helpful.

With that caveat, this is a very good book. Recommended.