Thomas Attig – The Heart of Grief

Thomas Attig – The Heart of Grief

Life & Death Matters Post

Victoria BC is fortunate to be the new home of Dr. Thomas Attig. Today I had the privilege of visiting with Tom as we sat by the Victoria breakwater at the Ogden Point Cafe. We talked about one of my favorite books which Tom actually wrote – “The Heart of Grief”. I still remember the day that I found this book, read the opening quote, “Death ends a life it does not end a relationship”. Tom was the first author I found who adequately addressed the desire for an ongoing “relationship” with the deceased, pointed out that people do not want to stop hurting if they feel that they are supposed to “sever” the relationship with their deceased loved one, and identified the many many ways that people continue to be influenced by their loved one even after death.

In The Heart of Grief, Tom recounts “dozens of stories of people who have struggled with deaths in their lives, he describes grieving as a transition from loving in presence to loving in separation…. He tells stories, for instance, of a young girl taking some of her dead sister’s practical advice as she enters high school, a widower realizing how much intimate life with his wife has colored his character, and an athlete drawing inspiration from his dead brother and achieving what they had dreamed of together. Far from forgetting our loved ones, Attig urges us to explore ways in which our memories of the departed can be sustained, our understanding of them enhanced, and their legacies embraced, so they continue to play active roles in our everyday and inner lives.”

For those who want to hear Tom speak, you can listen to him in the “Life and Death Matters Podcast Library”

Thanks Tom for a great visit, and THANKS Tom, for a GREAT BOOK!!


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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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