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Through Loss by Elizabeth J. Bruce
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This book is about normalising the place loss takes in the lives of human beings. By demonstrating the pivotal place of loss—the normal place it occupies in development—we identify the nature of significant or traumatic losses and their interaction with development and biography. Our hope is that this book will help you to respect and validate the range of emotions and behaviours that have paralleled incidents of loss in your life. For many people, deep and cherished hopes, dreams and life plans have been replaced with sadness and the realisation of fears and dreads. Looking back over your past will explain some of the reasons behind the routes that you have chosen to take in your life when you have been at a crossroads. An understanding of past development helps, but managing your current situation, finding better ways and seeking better outcomes for yourself is the primary aim of this book. An important part of that aim is to offer fresh insight into the responses of others, those individuals who may not have been able to stay with you through your losses, the friends who may have fallen by the wayside. In saying this, we do not want to be prescriptive. We would prefer this book to be a useful manual that you feel you can return to, not only because it may provide some different ways of looking at your surroundings, but because it may help you to re-validate any natural recurrence of feeling states throughout your life. We want it to reinforce the fact that the feelings you have are normal. We also want to explain grieving: what it involves; where it may sometimes take you; ways you can develop to contest some of its strength, intensity and relentlessness; ways of staying connected with other people; ways of living with the loss and grief that continues in the forefront of minds or as a backdrop to lives, or sometimes both. This book is divided into three parts. Part I serves as a general introduction to the topic and to several fictional characters, whose journeys through loss and grief demonstrate key points, which are made progressively throughout the book. The three chapters in Part II provide an opportunity for readers to reflect on past encounters with loss and describe how early formative processes shape identities and personalities. Part III brings us face to face with present realities, emphasising the importance of self-preservation, and presents practical guidelines in adapting to loss. We welcome the opportunity to share with you, in these pages, the meaning of loss and grief through the use of the word ‘nonfinite’. We have found this word remarkably apt to describe what, perhaps, you too have discovered about loss and grief. It rules out the unrealistic idea of emotional acceptance, or of returning to the world as it used to be, to who we were before. It ushers in the more realistic possibility of adaptation to the world and self that is emerging. We would like to think that the word ‘nonfinite’ offers validation and explanation to those readers for whom the term resonates.
Australian Council for Educational Research; Read online
Title: Through Loss
Author: Elizabeth J. Bruce; Cynthia L. Schultz

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