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The Grief Walk: Losing, Grieving, and Journeying on to Something New

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By Alister G. Hendery

This practical book is for people who are grieving, for people who want to support them as they undertake the painful journey of grief, and for anyone who wants to reflect on their own experiences of loss.

When Alister asked Isobel, whose husband had died a few years before, what would have helped her most then, her response was immediate. ‘Someone who would walk with me. Not people who would talk at me and give me answers, but simply listen to me and walk with me.’ The grief walk.

Grieving and loss are universal experiences, but how you experience grief is unique to you. In his ministry, Alister has found that models of the stages of grief are unhelpful, as is the idea of closure. Instead, he gives you permission to work through your grief in the ways, and at the times, that are helpful to you.

Alister explores disenfranchised grief that occurs when we are denied the right to grieve and our loss isn’t recognised.

Our lives are marked by countless losses and we all carry grief about many losses in our life. If we embrace our grief, we can journey on to something new and find fresh hope.

Praise for The Grief Walk

“The Grief Walk has a freshness and honesty about grief, beginning with its imaginative title and sustained until the final affirmation of hope.

We all experience loss and grief in our lives. But, as Hendery writes, until we name and acknowledge a loss and recognise that we have a right to grieve, we are unable to come to terms with it.

He emphasises that grief doesn’t follow a predetermined path and nor can we close it off like a tap. He describes a perceived end process of “closure” as psychobabble. While grief may not be permanently disabling, we learn to encompass it. This is not the same as closure.

Grief may find expression in different physical and emotional symptoms and we can’t expect religious faith to provide a magical answer. Finding someone who listens and understands, who in a sense personifies the presence of God, can help us with the grief journey.

The Grief Walk confronts the idea that grief is momentary or experienced in clearly-defined stages and points to a hope. This book is a gift for all who grieve or who walk with those who grieve.” John Meredith in Tui Motu Magazine. Issue 253 October 2020: 27

“…Far too often, people present grieving as a one-way process with well-defined stages, concluding with something they call “closure”. I strongly reject such an extremely unhelpful model. Alister does also; he is clear that your grieving is unique to you…” Rev’d Bosco Peters on

“This book will read you as you are reading it. It is a book you will pick up and put down and pick up and put down as you find yourself walking again through parts of your life, maybe unexpectedly rediscovering boggy patches you had forgotten, or not realised are still painful… There is ancient wisdom here alongside modern psychology. There is gentleness, and there is a reality faced that grief is universal, painful, and not always an easy walk…
But beware. As I read Alister’s words I found myself thinking, lamenting, crying, and laughing… I surprised myself with the depth of some of what rose to the surface for me. Ancient griefs, recent disappointments, and the ambivalent feelings that came, like fish to breathe the air again.” From the Foreword by The Rev’d Rob Ferguson

About the Author

Alister Hendery is an Anglican priest in Aotearoa New Zealand. Loss and grief have been a special focus of his ministry for the past 40 years. He has served as a parish priest, educator, counsellor, and funeral celebrant.

These days, as well as exploring with others what loss and grief can mean for us, he ministers with faith communities in times of change.

He is the author of Earthed in Hope: Dying, Death and Funerals, also from Philip Garside Publishing Ltd.
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  • PDF (6MB)

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