Few of us know how to navigate the territory of traumatic loss successfully. Sweet Sorrow shows how we can respond and grow stronger from loss and suffering. Written by a psychologist and certified bereavement trauma specialist in the decade following the loss of her husband, father, mother, and only sibling, this carefully considered work provides perspective on grief and healing over time. This longer-term approach allows readers to have a more complete and accurate picture of the oscillations of grief over time. The book describes not only the immediate agony of the author’s losses, but also the process of starting over and making a successful new life as a single person full of hope and joy.
Sweet Sorrow combines the author’s psychological expertise and clinical experience with the compelling art of memoir to illuminate the surprising ways in which loss survivors can grow and even thrive to achieve wholeness after heartbreaking, traumatic losses. Using findings from post-traumatic growth, as well as evidence-based psychological approaches, Sweet Sorrow illustrates through story and example, ways for grief survivors to start over, to manage chaos and stress, to let go, and to heal with new strategies and re-storying. Sweet Sorrow also provides resources and recommendations for self-care, as well as tips and suggestions for all of us trying to respond creatively and helpfully to those around us suffering loss.
Ultimately, Sweet Sorrow is a book of inspiration intended to accompany readers through the processes of loss and grief much like a helpful Sherpa might guide a lost traveler.
Sweet Sorrow is an excellent book. Through a narrative approach, the book places an emphasis on the actual experience of the death of a loved one (husband). The author provides critical insight into the journey of death as experienced by a caretaker, in this case the spouse. The author speaks from ‘the heart’ and takes the reader through the journey of impending and then final loss. While the beginning of the book gives information about the unique challenges that the caregiver/ spouse faces, the end of the book is insightful in providing self-help information for the reader.
— Loretta Bradley, PhD, LPC, LMFT. NCC, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor, Texas Tech University, Former President of the American Counseling Association (ACA)
The literature is filled with personal memoirs of loss and professional texts on treating grief, but Cormier’s Sweet Sorrow singularly combines both in navigating traumatic loss in a realistic and growthful way. Particularly helpful are the information about grief oscillations over time, the contemplative questions, and her clinical suggestions on responding to grievers. A tender narrative AND a superb primer on helping others heal in one absorbing book!
— John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Scranton, and author of “Self-Help That Works” and “Changeology”
Sherry Cormier takes us through her heart-breaking loss, then gifts us with a reassuring path back to fulfillment. You will be drawn in by her memoir, enlightened by her wisdom, inspired by her attention to detail and research. Rewards of this book are both personal and professional.
— Patricia Love, Psychotherapist and Author
Sweet Sorrow is very appropriately titled; Sherry Cormier does a marvelous job sharing in such a warm, tender manner her journey through her husband’s illness, death, grief and recovery. This book can help provide comfort to many who ask “why did this happen to me.” Sherry uniquely combines the writings of leading experts in the area of grief and spirituality with her own experiences of healing. Sweet Sorrow will validate many common and unusual experiences of those who are grieving and offers the reader many processes that help with finding balance and joy again.
— Ed Jacobs, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling, West Virginia University, Director, Impact Therapy Associates
An account of hope, promise, and resilience, Sweet Sorrow allows readers to witness a beautiful love story and a poignant grief journey. Beyond her authentic account of her own grief, Cormier draws upon her background as a therapist and studies in the field to guide readers through rebuilding their lives. I heartily endorse this book for anyone striving to support someone who is grieving and for those in the throes of deep overwhelming grief. The message of hope and resilience is palpable.
— Anne H. Baker, Director of Adult Bereavement Services & Training Hospice Caring Inc.
An honest, moving, informative, and methodically crafted text that grips the reader’s heart, spirit, and mind. Sherry Cormier’s Sweet Sorrow navigates the reader through the terrain of loss and grief based on the author’s personal experience, psychological expertise, and clinical literature. A memoir, self-help book, and modern-day almanac brimming with inspirational quotes and practical tips that will resonate with grieving and non-grieving readers.
— Katarzyna Malecka, grief scholar and author of "Death in the Works of Galway Kinnell"
Table of Contents:
Chapter One: Introduction and Loss of the Fairy Tale
Chapter Two: Sense of an Ending
Chapter Three: The Veil of Illusion
Chapter Four: The Transition and Aftermath
Chapter Five: Manifestations of the Soul Following Death
Chapter Six: Starting Over and Post-Traumatic Growth
Chapter Seven: Turbulence and Change
Chapter Eight: Letting Go and Facing Loss: Stress and Self-Care
Chapter Nine: Coping with Loss: Grief Survivors
Chapter Ten: Responding to Loss: Grief Helpers
Chapter Eleven: Health, Healing, and Hope
Chapter Twelve: Epilogue: Jay
About the Author:
Sherry Cormier, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and Professor Emerita in the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology at West Virginia University. She was in private practice in adult psychotherapy in Morgantown WV. She was a former faculty member at the University of Tennessee. She is the author of two textbooks: Counseling Strategies and Interventions, now in its ninth edition and translated into several languages, and Interviewing and Change Strategies for Helpers, now in its eighth edition. She is a certified bereavement trauma specialist and resides in Annapolis, MD, where she engages in grief mentoring, speaking, and consulting in the areas of grief and loss, health and wellness, and stress management.