Book Review: Resilient Grieving
By Lucy Hone, PhD
Lucy Hone is well acquainted with grief and resilience. Her 12-year-old daughter, Abi, was killed in a tragic car accident in 2012, and Hone has spent years trying to put the pieces of her life back together. Hone’s new book, Resilient Grieving: Finding Strength and Embracing Life After a Loss That Changes Everything, draws on her own experiences as well as her research in resilience and well-being at the Auckland University of Technology. Her aim is to provide tools that help readers better understand and move through the grieving process.
This book is filled with gentle wisdom that encourages experiencing grief without getting stuck in it. “Full emotional expression is an essential part of being resilient,” writes Hone, who encourages finding people, places, and activities that prompt feelings of well-being to balance out the negativity that is inherent in grief. She goes on, “Experiencing positive emotions doesn’t merely equate to being happy, but instead includes being curious, humorous, and loving: feeling pride, awe, hope, inspiration, and gratitude, and the quieter emotions, such as serenity.”
Hone presents research on the importance of grieving, but also a wide range of rituals from around the world that elicit thoughts about what might provide comfort and meaning when a loved one dies. She cites her own experience of following the practice of the Maori, the indigenous population of New Zealand, and bringing her dead mother’s body home from the funeral parlor for several days. She writes that while she was anxious at first, she found it tremendously beneficial. “The whole experience of having my mom at home, spending time with her, not feeling rushed, and growing accustomed to seeing her dead was transformative.”
Hone’s own “resilient grieving model” isn’t a series of stages to move through or a cycle to complete, but rather a collage of jigsaw puzzle pieces. This book is an attempt to put these pieces together to make sense of a shattered world.