SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

The Blessing of Sorrow: Turning Grief into Healing

Central Recovery. Jul. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9781942094654. pap. $17.95. REL
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Rabbi Kamin—public media personality and scholar on the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.—offers insights into his 40-plus years of counseling the dead and dying as an alternative to "sanitized death," as well as what he calls the West's fear of death as infection, as if it's something we can catch. For Kamin, this work is personal—he still feels grief's grip from his father's death, some four decades prior. Topics here range from personal grief, incomplete grieving, and how to channel grief and move forward. These subjects are interspersed with his own experiences as a bereaved family member and as a pastoral counselor helping people with sorrow. He peppers his reflections with modern idioms, such as "leaning in" to grief, along with references to deathreferences.com and Facebook postings (used with permission). Because his approach is more personal than systematic, Kamin fails to anticipate some grey areas, such as viewing incomplete grief as the fear of being left behind more than the inability to let someone go.
VERDICT A sincere attempt to move private grief into the sphere of public healing.

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