The Orphaned Adult is the first book to acknowledge the wide array of issues that surround losing parents. Liberating and empowering, this wise book validates the disorienting emotions that can accompany parental death by sharing both the author’s heart-felt experiences of loss ad the moving stories of the countless adults he has counseled and who have shared their losses with him. Anchored in compassion and reassurance, The Orphaned Adult gently guides us through the storms of transition and grants parentless adults the grieving process we have so long been denied.
Losing our parents when we ourselves are adults is in the natural order of things, a rite of passage into true adulthood. But whether we lose them suddenly or after a prolonged illness, and whether we were close to or estranged from them, this passage proves inevitably more difficult than we thought it would be. A much-needed and knowledgeable discussion of this adult phenomenon, The Orphaned Adult validates the wide array of disorienting emotions that can accompany the death of our parents by sharing both the author's heart-felt experience of loss and the moving stories of countless adults who have shared their losses with him. From the recognition of our own mortality and sudden child-like sorrow to a sometimes-subtle change in identity or shift of roles in the surviving family, The Orphaned Adult guides readers through the storm of change this passage brings and anchors them with its compassionate and reassuring wisdom.
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I have always said to myself that I was an orphan, but never thought to mention that to others for fear that they would think I was crazy since I'm 41 years old. Since I began reading The Orphaned Adult, I now realize I'm not alone in how I'm dealing with my grief and that there is no time table as to how long I should grieve nor is there any proper or improper behavior for grieving.
Two recent books explore the phenomenon: Jane Brooks' Midlife Orphan: Facing Life's Changes Now That Your Parents Are Gone (Berkley, $13) and Alexander Levy's The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping With Grief and Change After the Death of Our Parents (Perseus, $24).