4 out of 4 stars
Review by AbbyC
Title: I Didn’t Know What To Say
Author: David Knapp
In I Didn’t Know What To Say, David Knapp offers real life experience to friends of grievers. Suggestions on what should and should not be said coupled with ideas to actually help those hurting are all shown through real life examples. The loss of a job is a serious thing for those who have dedicated their life to their work and should not be taken lightly. To a couple who have never had children or a small girl who’s best friend is her dog, the loss of a pet can be devastating. The loss of a spouse or child are both traumatizing and friends shouldn’t expect the mourner to ‘just get over it’ anytime soon.
As the author points out often in his book, everyone losses something precious to them at some point in their lives which means that everyone knows someone who has experienced loss. Whether it was a child, spouse, job or even a pet; there are levels of grieving that everyone goes through. How you as a friend react to this process is a key instrument in helping them through it.
When I was younger I lost a distant relative who I wasn’t very close to. I was very close with another member of the immediate family though and it was so hard not knowing what to do or say to help them. Reading this book showed me what I did right, what I did wrong, and where I could have done more. I wish I had had it back then.
The author doesn’t simply offer advice from his own experience and perspective but years accumulation of suggestions and advice from men and woman who had experienced deep loss in some way. He covers the different types of emotional responses that can be expected and emphasizes everyone’s right to grieve in their own way. Also, while the author comes from a distinctly Christian perspective, he talks about being sensitive and accepting of others religious (or non-religious) beliefs during the grieving process.
This is a great book for anyone to read, whether you know someone who is grieving at the moment or not. Everything is to the point, makes sense and is easy to understand. I highly suggest it just for the sake of having this know-how for the next time you friend wants to talk about his lost job or the neighbor next door loses her precious cat. I give I Didn’t Know What To Say 4 out of 4 stars for being almost completely unique in it’s advice for the friend of grievers, and for it’s usefulness to nearly everyone in this modern day and age where we are so disconnected and really just don’t know what to say.