When a loved one dies, we mourn their loss. We console ourselves with the rituals that accompany their passing and seek support from those around us. But what happens when there is no end, when perhaps a family member or friend is still alive and yet we have already lost him or her? Like a mother whose son is missing in action, or the relatives of an Alzheimer's patient who are faced with the doubt between the final loss and a possible return home or lucidity.
In this sensitive and wise text, Pauline Boss explains that people who suffer ambiguous losses oscillate between hope and despair, emotions that can dampen feelings and prevent people from getting back to dealing with their lives.
The author draws on her research and clinical experience to suggest strategies for softening grief and helping families come to terms with it. Many stories of individuals and families coping with ambiguous losses show how they managed to overcome paralyzing grief. Cases also include those of painful losses through divorce, emigration and adoption.
With its message of hope, this book offers good guidance for family therapists and soothes those struggling to reclaim their own lives with its stories.
«This is a beautiful book. Pauline Boss vividly illustrates the many ways in which the intense pain of ambiguous loss is experienced and lived. She has profoundly enriched our understanding that human relationships can suffer prolonged heartbreak, yet it remains possible to heal them».
Lyman C. Wynne, M. D., Ph. D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry,
School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester.