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Memoir of Mourning: Journey through Grief and Loss to Renewal by [chowaniec, claudia]
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Memoir of Mourning: Journey through Grief and Loss to Renewal Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 312 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

We find it hard to talk about death and mourning in our contemporary culture. It isn’t just our parents that we’re losing. Spouse, colleague, neighbor, so many of our friends are dying. Ten thousand baby boomers are turning 65 every day for the next decade.

In Memoir of Mourning: journey through grief and loss to renewal, Claudia describes with perception, courage and compassion, the stages on her journey from her bedside vigil as her mother lay dying, through her months of deep sorrow as she mourned, to her eventual acknowledgement that she has reached a new, more hopeful place in her life. Her experiences have the power to guide and inform our lives as we care for aging loved ones and offer condolences to our bereaved friends and acquaintances. Her story assures us we’re all connected in our need to share our sorrow and be comforted.

Memoir of Mourning serves as a thoughtful companion piece for hospice and end-of-life support programs and palliative care training for medical and health professionals and volunteers. It is a useful resource for any organization committed to supporting individuals and families experiencing the loss of their loved one. Students in palliative medicine and doctors and nurse practitioners in established practices benefit from its candid and practical descriptions of how the hospital system deals, often inadequately, with the dying and their families.

The book is divided into three parts: dying and death, mourning, and journey to renewal. Three distinct strands are woven together in the weave of the story: the narrative of her personal experiences leading up to her mother’s death, mourning, and moving on; poems to illuminate internal reflections in contrast with her outside persona; and research materials and quotes from literature on death, grieving, resilience, and post traumatic recovery.

Claudia retells her mother’s vivid stories of her experiences in Germany and the Netherlands during the Second World War, meeting her future husband who was a soldier in the Cameron Highlander and part of the Liberation Forces, and crossing the ocean to arrive as a war bride and outsider in a small town community so distant from her previous life.

She describes her mother’s struggles with cancer and mental illness and her frequent stays in psychiatric hospitals and clinics as she deals with bipolar disease. Claudia searches through literature to gain insights on her mother’s resilience and strength in the face of family deaths – losing her three brothers and her parents, and the diagnoses of cancer and bipolar disease. She makes reference to her reading of Eckhart Tolle’s The New Earth, and Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, as well as research on post traumatic renewal.

Her journey takes her through the stages of grieving – denial, acceptance, and life continuing on in a state she terms renewal. She emphasizes the importance of celebrating family and community traditions and remembering to remember, the importance of mementos, commemoration, and remembrance. She writes of coming to terms with her mother dying, her own mortality, and her search for a new role with the passing of her mother. She highlights the difficulty of communicating sorrow, grief and loss especially in today’s culture where the traditional rites of a wake, funeral, and burial are often masked by our fear of confronting the reality of death.

She emphasizes the power of sharing our experience of loss which each other and through communication achieving comfort and solace.

About the Author

Claudia Chowaniec is a published author, poet and facilitator. She believes that in communicating our stories of grief and loss we can find solace in that sharing. She works with the medical profession to encourage more open communication with the dying and their loved ones, and greater familiarity with the palliative care resources in their community. She is active in supporting hospice volunteers and facilitating palliative care discussion groups. Please see, her blog, and website

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 545 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: AMIGA PRESS (Dec 30 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #386,688 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I think this book should be mandatory reading for all health care professionals who deal with families. Communication is often lacking and I can't seem to understand where the disconnect is but after reading this, I've learnt that the confusion and lack of understanding is a more wide-spread issue than I initially realized.

This book explores Claudia's last weeks with her mother and her emotional turmoil after her mother passes. We hear the personal details of how she struggles to understand the loss, then dealing with the overwhelming grief before coming to a point where the grief is manageable.

I too have lost my mother. I too went through so many of the same emotions and thoughts as Claudia. There were a couple of moments where I found myself talking back to the book because the experiences, emotionally, were so parallel to my own.

In some ways, I feel like Claudia has perhaps come to an almost more peaceful point than I. She describes the following:
"I leafed through a dog-eared copy of a woman's magazine from a year ago in March. Mom would have still been alive. There was an article on spring cleaning. Empty your closets, it proclaimed. Get rid of the things you've been accumulating. Make a fresh start. Should I do that? Clear away Mom's clothes and her hairbrush, her cosmetic bag, and almost full bottle of perfumed hand cream I had given her for Christmas."
Claudia ends up going through her mother's things and I have to admit, I have yet to go through my Mom's purse. It sits in my front hall closet with my purses and 5 years later, I still can't do it. I look in the purse once in a while and it's all full of "mom things" and I can't do it. That purse may sit there in tact forever.
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Format: Paperback
Claudia has created an honest, moving and courageous account about losing her mother and her journey back from that loss. Today we seem to have difficulty sharing our experiences with losing a loved one and talking about death openly and honestly. It is a problem that extends from the medical profession on down to the individual experiences we all have.

We live in a fast paced and often self-centred world and we have lost some of the traditions and rituals previously associated with the grieving and healing process. Through prose, poem and personal account, Claudia eloquently shares her story, her journey. She takes us by the hand and leads us through a universal, and unavoidable human experience, through death and grief to mourning, and eventually, to going on with life.

Death is all about the living. It is about those of us left behind when we lose a loved one. This book challenges us all to think about how we approach death and grief, both as individuals and as a society. It is a book that has relevance for us all.
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Format: Paperback
Memoir of Mourning is a deeply heartfelt and extraordinarily moving journal about one woman's path through the death and grieving of her mother, and the personal insight and shifts that allows her to emerge even stronger. How human for us to deny the inevitability of death in equal portion to the love we have for those closest to us. I only wish I had read this intimate memoir before many of my loved ones had passed. But the value of this book resonates for the past, present and future. I am now able to revisit those times and my memories with a fresh insight and acceptance, and to be more open to what will come in the future. Thanks you for sharing your story, Claudia, and for cultivating greater awareness with the caring profession. SEV, Kelowna B.C.
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