How Many Times Can You Say Goodbye by Jenifer Pardoe (Triangle Books, £2.99) Vera Waters
THE introduction to Jenifer Pardoe's book is promising, taking the reader immediately into the empathetic state. We can feel with Margaret as she wakes up in an empty bed bereft of her loving partner. We share with her the feelings of helplessness, of wanting to die and be with her lost loved one. All who have grieved can join with the author in this experience of grieving.
Ms Pardoe then tries to define death and it is from that point on where she makes many
'statements of perceived fact her Tuse the word "all" for instance. "We 'all' develop strong relationships with our peers" she states. I wonder if this can be stated to categorically? Surely not. From then on she walks into that fateful trap set by so many people writing on bereavementthe stages of grieving from denial to acceptance. But oh how misleading to suggest that everyone goes through these stages in a particular order. Life is not quite so cut and dried!
It would be as well when reading this book to appreciate that no one has all the answers to bereavement and certainly Jenifer Pardoe does not suggest to the contrary. This is a book about grieving, about caring, written to
help the reader to understand. It is probably best left until the griever has found ways to cope, and is distanced from the death. When the healing/mending process is well on its way, then this book could prove extremely helpful. One of the soundest statements made by Jenifer Pardoe comes at the end when she says "the bereaved have a special place in God's kingdom and this should be reflected in his church so that bereaved people can feel they have at least one known place where they can feel at home. When life seems strange, uncertain and frightening, the church should provide a sanctuary
from which eminates understanding, support and the possibility of new attachments."