“So Now What?” by Alexandra McGroarty

So Now What?

Alexandra McGroarty
Atmosphere Press (2023)
Reviewed by Stephanie Elizabeth Long for Reader Views (05/23)

Grief is inevitable. At some point in our lives—often unexpectantly—it will come knocking at our door. For the author Alexandra McGroarty, it didn’t tap lightly. She was completely blindsided by the death of her beloved husband, who was only thirty-nine when he passed. Though she is candid about nearly being leveled by the experience, Alexandra found a way to persevere. Through her lived experience, she created a guidebook to help individuals navigate the foggy, often solitary journey through grief.

While there is no tangible checklist or magic number of months/years that you may experience grief, the author has provided a framework to aid you through the various stages of grief, including addressing the death-denying culture of our Western world, embracing guilt and anger, how to support a grieving child, finding connection with the deceased, and so much more.

“So Now What? Harnessing Grief After Life’s Major Losses” by Alexandra McGroarty is a book that everyone needs to read. Whether you’re in the throes of bereavement or trying to support someone through that journey, Alexandra has offered helpful lessons to take away. Thanks to her candid approach, I never felt like the author was preaching; she was down in the trenches with me as I worked through each chapter. Moreover, the information provided differed from the broad content I’ve read in other books about grieving; it got granular, offering specific, easy-to-implement examples. This is a game-changer for distraught readers who often deal with brain fog and low concentration.

The content was an eye-opener for me. As someone who fears death and has unwittingly swept grief under the rug more times than I can count, Alexandra’s candor was a much-needed awakening. She encourages the reader to embrace the stages of grief, teaching me that running away from it will only prolong the process. Instead, we need to feel that loss, outwardly express our sorrow, and forgo the notion that grief is linear or has some arbitrary timeline. I loved her chapter on rituals to honor the deceased, which feels like a necessary component of embracing grief. Celebrating their memory by writing them a letter or visiting one of their favorite spots is a great way to foster a continued connection.

If you are lost or feeling stagnant in your healing, I recommend this book as a starting point. The author wants you to know that you’re not alone, but at the same time, acknowledges that dealing with loss is unique to every individual. Alexandra offers this invaluable gift by highlighting her real-life experience and applying concepts that aided in getting through the stages of grief. Take it; you won’t regret it.

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