This past year I came across Gili’s Book, a book that changed my thinking, and my grieving, in a profound way.
The book, Gili’s Book, A Journey Into Bereavement for Parents and Counselors by Dr. Henya Shanun-Klein, is a personal and heartbreaking testimonial of a mother and psychologist who experienced the untimely death of her eleven-year-old daughter, Gili, who was killed by a reckless driver. The author described her personal experience as a bereaved parent and then presented a new theoretical model of parental bereavement, which I will expand on and use as a guide throughout this site.
A few points from the Readjustment Model of Parental Bereavement, and advice from Dr. Shanun-Klein:
A few points from the Readjustment Model of Parental Bereavement
- Parental Bereavement is a normal reactive process to an abnormal event. It is complicated, complex, multi-dimensional and profound.
- The duration of grief is lifelong with varying intensity. It requires readjustment to a new reality.
- The process of readjustment is defined both from the bereaved parent’s perspective and from the outside observer’s.
- Readjustment entails constant resonating changes in grief experienced and expressed, in changes of perception of self, of the deceased child, of the relationship with deceased and with the living.
- The process is characterized by deep sadness, simultaneous inward searching and outward steps, re-connection to life by a continued attachment to the deceased child, by an emergence of the new self or identity, and by the discovery of new meaning and turning points.
- Adjustment to life, embracing grief, means the ability to eventually re-connect to life in a productive and non-destructive manner.
Advice from Dr. Shanun-Klein
- reconnect with life
- honor your child and the life he/she could have lived
- respect yourself by taking care of your body and soul
- give yourself permission to laugh
- do for others
- don’t wait for an invitation to get involved
To read more publications by Dr. Shanun-Klein, or if you are a professional who works with bereaved parents, click here: Readjustment Model of Parental Bereavement