When we lose someone we love, we are forever changed. When our person dies, our grief needs room.
People long to reduce the enormity of our grief. "Time heals all wounds," they tell us, or "At least she isn't in pain anymore." Yet no matter how hard others try to stuff our grief into a process or a plan, grief cannot be willed away.
Leanne Friesen thought she knew a lot about bereavement. She had studied it in school and preached at memorial services. But only when her own sister died from cancer did she learn, in her very bones, what grieving people don't need--and what they do. In Grieving Room, Friesen writes with vulnerability, wisdom, and somehow even wit about the stark and sacred lessons learned at deathbeds and funerals. When someone dies, we need room for imperfect goodbyes, she writes, and room for a changing faith. We need room for regret and room to rage at the world. Room for hard holidays and room in our schedules. We need room for redemption and room for resurrection--and we also need room to never "get over it."
In this poignant account of a sister's mourning and a pastor's journey, Friesen pushes back against a world that wants to minimize our sorrow and avoid our despair. She helps those of us walking with the grieving figure out what to say and what not to say, and she offers practical ways to create ample space for every emotion and experience. Reflection questions, practices, and prayers at the end of the book offer guidance and ideas for individuals and groups.
In a world that wants to rush toward closure and healing, Grieving Room gives us permission to let loss linger. When the very worst happens, we can learn to give ourselves and others grieving room.