Friday, October 23, 2009
The Gift of Comfort: When You Lose Someone You Love by Richard Exley
I've been talking a lot recently about losing several friends in the span of one week or so. That was rough.
One had ALS, two had cancer.
In the middle of the deepest grieving for my high school classmate, I was offered a chance to read/review When You Lose Someone You Love: Comfort for Those Who Grieve by Richard Exley.
I'd say that was a gift of comfort, wouldn't you?
There is nothing more devastating than the death of a loved one. And whether it comes suddenly and unexpectedly, or at the end of a long and painful illness, every death is experienced anew, a shocking loss that takes your breath away and leaves you disoriented and lost.
The book's format is a series of letters between a pastor and parishioner. Exley says, "I have chosen the letter style because it affords me the opportunity to speak to you directly and in a very personal manner. This is not a book about grief; rather, it is comfort extended to those who are even now walking through the valley of the shadow of death."
Wow-as soon as I read that last line, it jumped off the page at me, and I saw for the first time that the Psalm 23 valley is not just applicable to one who is physically near death but also for those who are left to walk out the rest of their lives without the one who means so much to them. Sometimes grief feels like a living death.
One of the aspects I appreciated most about the book is that it is only 122 pages and is written very simply and straightforwardly. In my experience with depression and grief over the years, there were times I wanted to read but simply couldn't maintain focus or retain what I had read. I believe this book is perfect for anyone who struggles the same way.
When You Lose Someone You Love might be a nice gift for someone when you want to touch base with him/her a few weeks down the road after their loved one passes. Nothing beats a listening ear, but in the middle of the night, a little gift of comfort like this might help them through.