Grief Works – a review

Grief Works – Stories of Life, Death and Surviving

Author: Julia Samuel

One of the worst, but most human of words – loss – defines all of us as we grope with the process of grief and grieving.  And yet, states Julia Samuel, grief and death are a process that we all experience, as it is the human experience.

As Samuel explores the many stories of real survivors in this book of loss of husband, wife, daughter, son, and finally ourselves, she reveals how her clients have made lucid decisions and come to grips with their losses.  Julia Samuel is a grief psychologist for twenty-five years, and has worked extensively with the bereaved as they encounter the full spectrum of loss and death.

Many of us shudder at the word “grieve”, and yet Samuel details the ways in which grief can lead to healing and acceptance.  As she tells the stories of the bravery and endurance – grace, even – of many of her clients, we can see ourselves. Samuel’s wisdom and authenticity allows her readers to face the reality and eventuality of death and the many emotions that it brings.

Grief Works talks honestly about how to talk to our loved ones about their impending death in a supportive way, what to say, what not to say, how to deliver truth to a family situation or a personal one.

Extraordinary, compassionate and with dead-on honesty, Samuels calls to us to acknowledge our suffering and pain about loss and death with openness and clarity, for if we cannot grieve we cannot feel the true joy of living either.

The supporting stories are presented as chapters:

  • When a partner dies
  • When a parent dies
  • When a sibling dies
  • When a child dies
  • Facing your own death
  • What helps: the work we need to do to help us grieve and survive successfully

A wonderful book on the complexities and taboos that bind us and the portals to grieving to set us free.  Brilliantly written, brilliantly expressed.

  • We received a copy of this book to review.
  • Grief Works is available to purchase on and your local bookseller.

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