Augsburg Fortress

The Good Grief Journal: A Journey toward Healing

The Good Grief Journal: A Journey toward Healing

Discover your own wisdom about your grief

Every loss "deserves a fitting grief," Jill Alexander Essbaum assures us in The Good Grief Journal. From that beginning, she offers a path for those who grieve, whether the loss is from a physical death, a looming divorce, declining health, bankruptcy, or some other wound.

Each of the ten meditations in this journal corresponds to a stage of grief as outlined in Granger E. Westberg's classic guide Good Grief, published in 1968. Millions of people have found in the book validation for their grief, understanding of their feelings, and a way to live through grief and into hope.

Every meditation is followed by prompts and questions designed to help readers reflect more deeply on both the nature and effects of their loss. Scripture passages, poems, and quotes from a variety of sages and artists offer further inspiration for this journey of discovery.

The meditations and prompts in this journal are intentionally nonspecific. They are adaptable to suit both the nature of the loss as well as the needs of the grieving person.

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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506453095
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 160
  • Publication Date February 1, 2019


"At the heart of this beautiful journal are Jill Alexander Essbaum's words, 'I'm not the expert on your grief. You are.' Through poetry, Scripture, and evocative questions, Essbaum leads readers into their own unique processes of grieving. The Good Grief Journal is an excellent resource for spiritual directors and others in the ministry of healing."
—Jane E. Vennard, author of Fully Awake and Truly Alive: Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul

"While grief is a process, it does not have to be an endless journey. This journal is practical and therapeutic in its overall approach. It's inspirational in the meditations and writing prompts composed by an immensely talented poet and novelist who knows what it is to experience loss and nevertheless to journey toward hope."
—Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, poetry editor for The Christian Century

"The moment you read the first few pages of The Good Grief Journal, you know you chose the right book out of all the other books offered. Essbaum speaks of grief with a depth and sensitivity that can only come from personal experience. What she outlines in these brief pages is a journaling map. A map that, by use of poems, meditations, prayer, and biblical verse, can help guide one through the suffering of personal pain and lose. This is a beautiful book. It offers, if not healing through journaling, a solid way to begin that process."
—Michelle C. Halsall, M Div, LPC, Diplomate Jungian Analyst

"The Good Grief Journal is a hospitable, soulful place to sit down with your grief, no matter what kind, and engage with open-ended questions, poems, prompts, quotes, verses of Scripture, and lots of lined, open space to write your thoughts, feelings, and prayers. A variety of themes makes room for you no matter how you may be experiencing grief: from shock, to physical pain, to guilt, to resistance. A worthy companion for a painful journey."
—Heidi Haverkamp, author of Holy Solitutde: Lenten Reflections with Saints, Hermits, Prophets and Rebels

"I appreciate this wise and poetic, courageous and kind approach to loss and grief and mourning and healing. The gentle and respectful voice will empower readers who are experiencing their dark night of the soul to go deep and face their darkest hour with courage. The literary offerings throughout this book are brilliantly chosen to resonate with the themes and stages that provide guidance and comfort."
—Robert Zucker, grief counselor, national speaker, author of The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and You Child When Grief is Shared

Table of Contents

"Grief" by Richard Brostoff
Stage One We Are in a State of Shock
Stage Two We Express Emotion
Stage Three  We Feel Depressed and Very Lonely
Stage Four  We May Experience Physical Symptoms of Distress
Stage Five  We May Become Panicky
Stage Six  We Feel a Sense of Guilt about the Loss
Stage Seven  We Are Filled with Anger and Resentment
Stage Eight  We Resist Returning
Stage Nine  Gradually Hope Comes Through
Stage Ten  We Struggle to Affirm Reality

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