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Aftermath: Growing in Grace through Grief by Margaret McSweeney

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Loss is a four-letter word that grips our hearts and gridlocks our lives. Grief can hold us captive until we surrender it to God. How do we find the necessary grace to journey through the mourning process? Juxtaposed to the outpouring of her mother's words about grief, the author shares her parallel journey from the emotional abyss of grief after becoming an adult orphan. With candor, the author shares her own emotions experienced along the spectrum of loss after her parents' deaths: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance--adding interactive options for readers. Five sections cover these common emotions and provide: - comfort Scripture lists - counsel sections from grief experts - chronicling sections with detailed helps - tangible handles on dealing with grief during holidays, capturing loved ones' legacy, and more.

Goodreads Summary

“How can one put decorative tissue paper around a wrecking ball?”  That line says it all.  As the book title suggests, so much growth happens through grief, but many painful, hollow years may pass until healing leads you to grace.  Written as a personal response to the deaths of her father and then her mother, McSweeney uses Bible verses, poetry written by herself and her mother Carolyn Rhea, and personal stories to lead readers through the “stages” of grief to grace.  Ending each section is an exercise in “chronicling”, a spot to consider what to say to God and discover how you are feeling at that time.
I’ve always respected - and been impressed by a grandparent’s words of wisdom.  In the book, Grandpa Turnage’s journal lines, written so many years ago, startled me into reevaluating how “Christian” or spiritual my home is.  Turnage suggests that a lack of religious presence in the home may be the root of trouble in marriage and with children’s behavior.  I also liked her family’s talk of finding a “raw edge” – just the tip of a great need.  That would be a place to make a simple start for helping and serving…and healing.    
My mom died young.  A stronger faith might have helped me to be at peace with her absence sooner.  But, too much spiritual talk made me uncomfortable when I was young – sometimes it still does.  As a teen, this book may not have helped me, but I feel certain that Aftermath might help grieving adults to grow in faith and find serenity.

Four Stars 

*Reviewed by Kristin*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Great review Krystal! I know what you mean when you say too much spiritual talk can make one uncomfortable. So, I'll sit this one out. I've dropped various books because of too much spiritual talk and don't get me wrong sometimes I do love hearing uplifting spiritual quotes and such but its not the kind of thing I really love to read about.