Griefprints Book

Griefprints the bookIn her new book Griefprints: A Practical Guide for Supporting a Grieving Person Radha Stern offers compassionate and sound guidance for understanding and helping a grieving loved one. She also shares her own moving story.

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In her new book Griefprints: A Practical Guide for Supporting a Grieving Person Radha Stern offers compassionate and sound guidance for understanding and helping a grieving loved one. She also shares her own moving story.

 Radha Stern is no stranger to grief. In 1996 her twenty-two-year-old son, Christopher, was murdered, and she started down the long road of healing and coming to terms with her loss. While Stern believes that “closure” is a myth, she is living proof that you can gain solace, acceptance, and the strength to reclaim your life even after the most tragic loss. Stern found support from others who had walked the same path, and she quickly realized that everyone grieves differently. “Grief is like fingerprints; everyone grieves in their own way,” she says. Still, one thing that remains constant is that support from family and friends can nurture the healing process, and make the journey less painful. But so few of us know what to do and say in the face of grief. We agonize about saying the “right” thing and then second guess ourselves no matter what we say, struggle to find ways to be of practical help, and worry that our attempts at being supportive are starting to feel like intrusions. That’s why Stern wrote GRIEFPRINTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR SUPPORTING A GRIEVING PERSON (paperback, May 15, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-9889740-0-5).

In her book, Stern offers straightforward advice and suggestions for helping and supporting a loved one. They include:

  •  Call and keep calling—and don’t agonize about what to say;
  • Talk about the elephant in the room;
  • Run small errands or do small chores—it can be of great help and comfort;
  • Consider sending one card a week for a while;
  • Offer the loved one and his or her family comforting food and cook them a nutritious meal;
  • Send emails—but only after you’ve talked to the grieving person directly;
  • Don’t judge—remember everyone grieves differently;
  • Help care for family pets;
  • Be there when it’s time for the grieving loved one to go through the possessions of the person he or she lost.

Radha Stern is available for interview. She can also provide an excerpt or short article for your site or publication.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Since the 1996 murder of her son, Christopher, Radha Stern has devoted herself to helping others who have lost a loved one due to a violent crime. She is active in the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Insight Prison Project, and The Compassionate Friends (for parents who have lost a child), and has donated her skills to numerous organizations that help critical-needs populations. She is a contributor to the inspirational book, Courage Does Not Always Roar: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Courage. A native Californian, she lives with her husband Gary, and together they have five children and eight grandchildren.

 

SUGGESTED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. What inspired you to write Griefprints?
  2.  What does the term “griefprints” mean?
  3.  It’s so hard to figure out the “right” thing to say to someone who is grieving, and some of us can worry so much about saying the wrong thing that we stay silent. You urge readers not to worry too much about saying the right thing. Why?
  4.  One of the many suggestions you offer in the book is to talk about “the elephant in the room,” but don’t we risk upsetting the grieving person by bringing up their loss?
  5.  Some of the suggestions you offer in Griefprints involve doing practical, day-to-day activities for your loved one. What are a few of these kinds of tasks that people should offer to do?
  6.  You say that beyond its obvious usefulness, providing help with day-to-day needs can be deeply comforting to a grieving person. Can you explain?
  7.  You encourage readers to help put together a photo album with pictures of the person who has been lost. I think some of us would fear that this would remind the grieving person of their loss and would hesitate to do that. What would you say to someone who worries about that?
  8. You point out that most of the suggestions and advice you offer in your book are geared toward those in the first stage of grief. Can you remind of us of the stages of grief, and give us a sense of when it might be appropriate to shift into other activities to care for a loved one who is grieving? How do we know when the first stage has passed?
  9. You say that “almost immediately, funny stories about Christopher helped me.” It seems like many of us would feel that telling a funny story about a lost loved one immediately after his or her death would be inappropriate. Did it surprise you to find yourself comforted in this way? Was there anything that surprised you about your own grieving process?
  10. You now dedicate a lot of time to various organizations offer assistance to grieving people. Can you discuss their work and how you are part of it?

 PRAISE

 “When a loved one or friend suffers a loss…we don’t know how to respond. We want to help, but don’t want to intrude. This book is a gift as it gently guides us to help the people we love through what may be the hardest time they’ll ever face.”

—David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy

“This sweet, smart, sensible book is both a visual and heart-felt gem. The perfect safety net for that black hole of grief that few of us are ever prepared for.”

—Chip Conley, author, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels

“Radha’s book is a jewel of comfort for grieving hearts. Through empathy and visual beauty, she manages to reach into places where people have experienced hurt and grief with a healing touch.”

—Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, author of From Age-ing to Sage-ing

“What do you say to a person…who has lost a loved one? Are there words? Are their simple acts that can ease the pain? In her tender, beautiful book, Radha Stern, a survivor of her own dark grief, shows us the way to care for ourselves and each other when we are lost and don’t know how.”

—Nancy Mullane, author of Life after Murder