When I picked up, Resilient Grieving : how to find your way through devastating loss by Lucy Hone, at a book stall, I didn’t realise it was about the death of the author’s 12-year-old daughter, Abi. I don’t assume grieving means bereavement. People can suffer devastating losses as the result of weather events and natural disasters such as fire, floods and earthquakes. So my first reaction was disappointment, I wasn’t prepared for an emotional read. Nevertheless, as the book progressed, I was glad I decided to read it.

Lucy Hone is a researcher by nature and profession. She lives in Christchurch and experienced the devastating earthquakes that hit the city between 2010 and 2012. As part of her Psychology Masters, she researched resilience psychology, so when her daughter was tragically killed in a car accident in 2014, Lucy wondered if her studies would provide any help in her grief. The short answer was yes, and this book was the result.

Lucy provides a great variety of approaches to grief and writes about what helped her, yet always acknowledging that everyone’s grief journey is different and what helped her, may not help others. I’ve found her following six strategies useful in many grief settings.

  1. – “There are no rules—do what you need.”
  2. – “Choose where you focus your attention.” With limited energy, determine not to focus on the small stuff.
  3. – “Take your time.”
  4. – “Feel the pain: walk right into it, feel it and weep.”
  5. – “Beware of the ‘grief’ ambush.” That is, being unexpectedly overwhelmed.
  6. – “Re-establish routines.” Routines save us energy by not requiring us to make a decision.

Other helpful insights were, that death is part of the life cycle so coping with death is normal. And consider the question, what are you hoping for now?

Lucy Hone has written an honest account of her grief experience which is at times raw, vulnerable and yet hopeful and encouraging.

Overall, an insightful read.