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Monday, May 16, 2011

Richard Mabry's Tender Scar

I was given an excellent resource for people who have lost their spouse, one that I intend to keep on hand in my counseling office. I would encourage you to pick this book up at Amazon, either in print or Kindle format, if you have experienced this heartbreak or get it for someone you know who has.

Dr. Mabry was kind enough to autograph this copy for my mother-in-law, who lost her spouse of just over 25 years in March. I'm eagerly sending it her way, as I think it will really speak to the mental and emotional state she is in right now.

Tender Scar is autobiographical. Dr. Mabry lost his spouse after 40 wonderful years together. He grieved, and in that process, wrote emails to his children, family members, and ministers that he later made into conversational topics for each chapter.

The chapters are heart-wrenching. I've never lost a spouse, but it was all too easy to imagine these feelings Dr. Mabry is so forthcoming and candid about. I cried several times through this book, finding myself grateful that the chapters were short, two or three pages at most, and that I could absorb the concepts being discussed in short spurts.

I think this book is in a really grief-friendly format. My mother-in-law is being pulled in so many directions at this time, and her thoughts and emotions are all over the map. I don't think she'd be capable of sitting down and reading an emotionally intense book page after page after page. With Tender Scar, she'll be able to read a chapter here or there, and even skip to a chapter that she thinks might pertain to what she's dealing with in the moment, given the descriptive nature of the chapter titles.

The biggest change for grieving spouses is truly mental. In one chapter Dr. Mabry talks about changing the way you think, which is cognitive therapy in a nutshell. For so many years, you're part of a couple. You don't do much without thinking of how your partner will be affected. Once that partner is no longer living, you have to fundamentally change the way you interact with the world, and think of how things will affect you alone instead of you together.

This book might be little, but it packs a powerful punch. Dr. Mabry ends each chapter with a prayer for guidance and wisdom for the reader as they experience their own grief journey. This is truly a great resource for counselors, ministers, and lay people alike.

Thanks, Dr. Mabry, for your generous spirit, in both sharing this book with the world and specifically with me and my family.

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Katie Ganshert said...

I also have this book on my shelf. Not because I've lost anyone close to me, but because I wrote about a character who lost her husband and wanted to portray her grief in a realistic way. His book was an amazing resource.

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

What a great resource. I only wish it had been around when I lost two husbands within a three year period. Both deaths were untimely and unexpected, and although I did read a few books on grieving, they did not really address how I felt. But of course I survived. However, it is not to late to recomend the book to others, friends who have recently been widowed. Thank you for sharing.

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