Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child by Sandy R. Fox
Review by Molly
Sandy Fox’ Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child commences with a lovely poem You Are in Every Sunrise.
Fox notes early in the work: This book is written in short article form, so that each one can be read individually or a few at a time. As a parent who experienced the sadness of losing her only child, daughter Marcy, to a car crash four months after her daughter’s wedding, Fox began a never ending grief journey during which she has learned much about grief and the grieving process. In an effort to help other who may be going through their own grief experience Fox has set down on paper some of what she has discovered.
Written in eight parts Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child is designed for counselors, friends of the grief stricken, and the bereaved themselves.
Part 1 – General Coping Strategies for the Bereaved is a grouping of nearly three dozen articles covering crucial dealing with the stages of grief and how time is important to the grief process. Teaching others about personal grief, making the marriage work following death of a child, coping with the out of place responses well wishers may use when talking with bereaved parents, in addition to many more subjects all pertaining to the death and subsequent sorrow facing parents.
Fox points out there is no one size fits all to the grieving process; each person, even individual parent of the deceased child will face loss and grieve in a different way, and at different tempo along with dealing individually with religious aspect of individual grief in an individual manner.
Often times people who are attempting bring comfort and ease the suffering of the newly bereaved do not understand that grief is a process and each step of the grieving process must be undertaken for the healing of grief to take place. Shock, the awareness of loss, a withdrawal from outside influence for a time followed by healing and renewal are all faced by a grieving parent.
Fox offers tactics for maintaining a child’s memory, how to deal with the predictable feelings of guilt and anger following a death, methods for taking care of the self and messages of hope offered by others who have also been travelers along this journey. Learning the variation in how men and women face grief, methods for dealing with pain and suffering, and the beneficial value to writing about grief are all discussed.
Fox offers a brief summary of grief work using the acronym TEAR:
T = To accept the reality of your loss
E = Experience the pain of your loss
A = Adjust to the environment without the deceased
R = Reinvest in the new reality
Part 2 provides insight into and tactics for coping with the special instances likely to cause a renewal of grief to appear. The oft repeated phrase holidays are the hardest is frequently very true to the grieving parent. Ignoring that fact leaves the bereaved unprepared for their feelings when those moments do appear. Fox points out it is okay to know ones own limitations, to change family traditions to take into account the new reality of the family and to use a support system as needed.
Part 3 –offers some twenty articles filled with informational methods for coping with grief. No longer are grieving individuals left on their own, or simply given a pat on the back and an admonition to get over it, deal with it, or buck up. If there is no support group in the area; Fox provides information for how to start one in the grieving persons area. She discusses music and conferences all dedicated to the understanding of grief and the grieving process as well as how to write letters of condolence, and taking care of various aspects aside from the grief itself is vitally as important for bereaved parents to learn about, accept and come to terms with in order for healing to take place. Fox offers this timely quote first written decades ago: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” – Robert Frost
Part 4 presents a series of articles from the authors own personal experiences written to provide individual coping strategies designed to aid the bereaved. Life does go on and Fox believes the bereaved must learn to deal with all facets of the process in order to come out on the other side of grief.
Part 5 is a series of ten inspirational stories from bereaved parents in which is reflected the thoughts of single parents and couples as they have faced the loss of their child and how they have learned to deal with that loss. Fox provides methods for taking the love shared parent with child into a future filled with promise and hope. Fox offers her personal recommendation regarding various books dealing with grief available today. Summing up this section Fox indicates; in the end, we learn that no one ever fully recovers, but instead, learns to live and accept their child’s death and moves on with their lives.
Part 7 offers ideas and strategy for finding help when dealing with grief and recovery. Web sites and support groups are available. Fox offers information for where to look and how to find help.
Part 8 is the section filled with Fox’ Closing Thoughts and her desire for all bereaved parents in the world that each will find comfort, hope and the courage to face your tragedy in the days, weeks, months and years to come. In doing so, you will come out on the other side of grief.
Writer Fox has taken a personal tragedy and turned it into not just a life changing experience but one filled with memory, hope and positive behavior. Fox today writes, attends seminars both as a speaker and as an attendee, has started a support group for parents in her local area and has embraced the new normal of her life as a parents whose child is no longer living.
I found Sandy Fox’ Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child to be a highly readable work, filled with many important techniques and methods for dealing with the one thing no parent wants to face as well as what to expect from grief itself. Fox fills an important niche in the informational wealth available to us today; child rearing books abound, as do those meant to guide newly weds into marriage which will last.
In a nation filled with self help and furthering understanding there is a notable lack of material available to those facing loss. Sandy Fox’ Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child helps fill that gap well.
Happy to recommend Sandy Fox’ powerfully written, well executed Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child for those who may be grieving that loss, for counselors, therapists, friends of the bereaved and those who don’t have the circumstance in their own life, but feel they would not be well equipped to face the situation were it to appear.