Sorrow's Profiles: Death, Grief, and Crisis in the Family

Author(s) : Richard J. Alapack

Sorrow's Profiles: Death, Grief, and Crisis in the Family

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'Dr Richard Alapack, sensitively and with deep understanding, orchestrates a survivor's journey through the complex country of sorrow. Alapack challenges and transcends the received scientific view of grief over loss as a well-ordered progression. He appeals to the power of the imagination, broadening our understanding and breaking new ground that exposes both the life-giving and potentially destructive aspects of intense sorrow. This rich, original contribution to the grief literature must be read.'

- Freda Woodrow Ph.D., University of Pretoria, South Africa

In this beautifully tender, sensitively reflective, and provocative book, the author leads a journey through the depths of authentic sorrow, longing, and despair. Daring us to face death unflinchingly, Alapack rouses in us the courage to spin in the vortex of personal and collective grief. In doing so, we emerge transformed and forever changed. No other book on human loss is so sane yet simultaneously subverts the status quo.

- Ron Cornelissen, Argosy University, San Bernardino, California

Reviews and Endorsements

Death, grief and sorrow are inevitible in human existance. These basic life imperatives concern us all. How to best understand them in an integrated and comprehensive way? How to negotiate the complexity of the emotion they evoke and the thinking they require? How to come to terms with them while navigating our unique grief-journey? Most importantly, how do we grow as individuals and season as persons as a result of the painful voyage?

The cargo that this book carries differs significantly from the common fare about mourning and grieving. We die alone, but grief is also always a family affair and a happening that affects an entire community. Western thought, far too exclusively individualistic, focuses on the Spartan griever as if performing a heroic act. Our western approach to grief is also quick-fix and fosters a swift ending to it.

This book, on the other hand, showcases the value of grieving as a protracted 'moment and as interpersonally modulated. As the mainstream documents, the process passes through multiple stages and phases. Beyond expanding the time-frame, this book presents grief as a journey, the abiding meaning of which is that we grow through it, becoming fuller and stronger people.

'The author's book is like a rhythmic dance that unifies the experiences of the most powerful thinkers of our time with salt-of-the earth people, writers, songwriters, and artists. We are guided gracefully and sensitively through human experiences of sorrow, grief and loss, and shown how our own unique experiences are personal, yet part of the interwoven and inter-connected mosaic of life. This is a book from the heart - brilliant and insightful!'
- Paul H. Watters, B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., Lambton Kent District School Board, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

'"Lifeworld" is a key concept in phenomenological philosophy, referring to the world of everyday life as directly experienced prior to any specialization. Alapack shows that the Lifeworld, if approached correctly, is a rich source of knowledge: more genuine than that produced in the lab, the therapeutic room or the hospital. But to get this knowledge requires a significant shift in attitude, to knowledge in the vernacular; it is raw; it stops habitual modes of thinking and invites the reader to a more radical existential mode of being.'
- Amedeo P. Giorgi, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco

About the Author(s)

Richard J. Alapack , Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, researcheing ""Love-Death"" from existential, phenomenological, and hermeneutic standpoints.

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