This is perhaps one of the most important books about grief ever written.
It finally dispels the myth that we are all supposed to get over the death of a loved one. Hope Edelman, with her wisdom and kindness, helps us understand the ways loss stays with us through our lifetimes. This book is going to heal so many.”
— CLAIRE BIDWELL SMITH
Author of Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief
Drawing on her own encounters with the ripple effects of early loss, as well as on interviews with dozens of researchers, therapists, and regular people who’ve been bereaved, New York Times bestselling author Hope Edelman offers profound advice for reassessing loss and adjusting the stories we tell ourselves about its impact on our identities.
With guidance for reframing a story of loss, finding equilibrium within it, and even experiencing renewed growth and purpose in its wake, she demonstrates that though grief is a lifelong process, it doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle.
Hope Edelman is one of the foremothers of the grief revolution. Her work opened the door for honest discussions of grief long before it was considered OK to talk about your inner life. In a world that thinks you should be over your loss already, The AfterGrief normalizes grief and love — that lasts a lifetime.”
— MEGAN DEVINE
Author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
We don’t ever ‘get over’ the death of a loved one.
But we do eventually ‘get on‘ with living in a world without this essential person by our side.
It takes time to learn how to live in this new world. It takes time.”
— HOPE EDELMAN
Aren’t you over it yet?
Anyone who has experienced a major loss in their past knows this question. We’ve spent years fielding versions of it, both explicit and implied, from family, colleagues, acquaintances, and friends. We recognize the subtle cues — the slight eyebrow lift, the soft, startled “Oh! That long ago?” — from those who wonder how an event so far in the past can still occupy so much precious mental and emotional real estate.
Because of the common but false assumption that grief should be time-limited, too many of us believe we’re grieving “wrong” when sadness suddenly resurges sometimes months or even years after a loss. Explaining why we feel “stuck” and, more important, why this is so common and predictable, The AfterGrief offers a new and reality affirming paradigm: The death of a loved one isn’t something most of us get over, get past, put down, or move beyond. Grief is not an emotion to pass through on the way to “feeling better.” Instead, grief is in constant motion; it is tidal, easily and often reactivated by memories and sensory events, and is retriggered as we experience life transitions, anniversaries, and other losses. Whether we want it to or not, grief gets folded into our developing identities, where it informs our thoughts, hopes, expectations, behaviors, and fears, and we inevitably carry it forward into everything that follows.
This important and empathic work speaks to those of us experiencing the enduring nature of loss who need to feel understood, and have the ongoing adjustments we make throughout our lives because of it legitimized.”
— REBECCA SOFFER
Co-author of Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome
Grief is messy, grief is inconvenient, grief takes time; it is a process. Hope Edelman takes grief up from the underground and brings it into the light, reminding us that it is not only okay to grieve, it is essential.”
— NATASHA GREGSON WAGNER
Author of More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood
HOPE EDELMAN has been writing, speaking, and leading workshops and retreats in the bereavement field for more than 25 years. She was 17 when she lost her mother to breast cancer and 40 when her father died, events that inspired her to offer grief education and support to those who cannot otherwise receive it.
Her first book, Motherless Daughters, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and appeared on multiple bestseller lists worldwide. Her work has been translated into 14 languages and published in 11 countries. Hope is the author of seven additional nonfiction books, including Motherless Mothers and the memoir The Possibility of Everything. She was the recipient of the 2020 Community Educator Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling and has won a Puschcart Prize for her creative nonfiction.
In addition to writing and speaking, she is a certified Martha Beck Life Coach and also leads nonfiction workshops to help writers tell, revisit, and revise their stories of loss. Hope lives and works in Los Angeles and Iowa City.
Photography by @hannah kozak