Death, Value and Meaning Series, John D. Morgan, Series Editor
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"This book is a gift. It
reconstructs the realities of death and grief in such a way that we are lifted
up. With conceptual sophistication, clarity of voice, and an ear for good
stories, the authors teach us about the importance of narrative in keeping those
who have passed on alive and well in our daily lives. An inspiring
—Ken Gergen, Ph.D., author, An
Invitation to Social Construction
conceptually sophisticated, Re-membering Lives transcends
the constraints of traditional grief theories with their emphasis on ‘letting
go,’ offering instead conversational practices for ‘holding on’ to those
we have loved and lost. I recommend this book highly both to the bereaved and to
those professionals who wish to assist them in cultivating continued connection
to the sustaining relationships that give life its meaning. "Animated by a
narrative emphasis on the storied nature of human life, Hedtke and Winslade open
new vistas for continuing the life stories of those we love beyond their deaths.
This practical and compassionate volume has a place on the shelf of every
counselor and therapist who wants to help the dying and bereaved affirm their
continuing bonds in the face of life’s ultimate transitions.
"By clearly articulating
the healing power of remembering practices, and anchoring their recommendations
in evocative case vignettes, Hedtke and Winslade provide a new perspective on
the challenges and possibilities of bereavement that is both revolutionary and
readable. This book draws inspiration from the narrative and meaning-making
approaches that are transforming the filed of grief therapy, while at the same
time sharpening its practical implications. "Compact and compassionate,
this book will help both the bereaved and the secular or spiritual counselors
they consult affirm sustaining attachments even in the face of death. The
conversational practices offered by these authors extend the life legacies of
those we have loved and lost, and have a place in the work of every grief
—Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. Editor, Death Studies author,
Meaning Reconstruction and the
Experience of Loss
"This volume in the Death, Value and Meaning Series offers an "out of the box"
philosophy for healthcare professionals in the end-of-life care provision. Based
upon the concepts of remembering and constructive conversations, this book provides
an alternative, sometimes radical, departure from the traditional grief and
Through a series of stories and vignettes, the book engages the reader, while
providing interactive opportunities to contribute stories of their own to this
ongoing research. The book is innovative and disturbing at this same time—interesting
Mental health clinicians, family therapists, caseworkers, social workers,
psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, nurses, bereavement counselors,
hospice and palliative care professionals—all will find this an excellent
resource for alternative grief therapies."
—Becky Stepp, BBA, MEd, BS, M(Seton Medical Center), Doody Enterprises Online Review
". . . for me this is a good book to be re-reading, to return to, and to
continue gaining from, as I apply its wisdom in my practice. The ideas here lead on
to further thought and discussion too in many areas, such as the application of
narrative methods to non-death griefs, and to relationship endings in all their
I think this book is a valuable addition to the written and spoken material on grief,
and it would have appeal and application for many of those of us who either grieve,
or support those who grieve. It sits well alongside any professional practice
modalities which are concerned with: person-centered work, meaning making,
strengths-based work, reframing, empowering, honoring lives and relationships,
and much more. Overall its message provides a remarkably positive and hopeful
approach to grief work in all its aspects."
—Anne Horrill, New Zealand Association of Counsellors Newsletter, September, 2004
"Hedtke and Winslade emphasize the importance of remembering our dead by speaking of them ften and so allowing them to live on, rather than to remain silently hidden away within the grieving individual. This book proposes linking rather then severing, connecting rather than disconnecting, and that this can and should be done before we die. It shows how we can embrace the dying and the bereaved in the membership club of the living. The book is critical of any grief therapy and bereavement counseling that suggests 'letting go of the dead' and 'getting on with life', where this means forgetting the dead or discouraging continuing bonds with the dead."
—Josefine Speyer, Natural Death Centre News & Views Autumn/Winter 2004
"This clearly written book will be invaluable for any bereavement counselor who would like to promote positive ways in which the dead can live on in a client's life."
—Tony Walter, University of Reading, Cruse Bereavement Care, Volume 24, Number 1
"This work by Hedtke and Winslade is a must for the bookshelf of anyone working with the dying and/or the bereaved. It offers effective ways to assist the patient or client in their coping process. The concept of re-membering is another step in the on-going stucy of coping with death-related loss."
—Dennis Kelly, Director, Bereavement Resource Center of New York, The Thanatology Newsletter, Volume 9, Number 4
"Let me say at once that despite some reservations, I think this is the best book I have read on grief counseling. Its stance-argued with intellectual rigor and humane, personal touches-/offers creative, original and (paradoxically) life-enhancing
ways of working with people whose loved ones have died or are facing death. It also offers a great deal to counselors working with the dying. I cannot imagine any therapist reading this text without a sense of potential enrichment to their
This is an exceptional and inspiring book, which I wholeheartedly recommend."
-Martin Payne, Counselor in Primary Care and Private Practice, Norwich,
British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, Vol. 32, No. 4, November 2004
ABOUT THE BOOK
Grief is frequently thought of as an ordeal we must simply survive. This book
offers a fresh approach to the negotiation of death and grief. It is founded in
principles of constructive conversation that focus on "remembering"
lives, in contrast to processes of forgetting or dismembering those who have
died. Re-membering is about a comforting, life enhancing, and sustaining
approach to death that does not dwell on the pain of loss and is much more
than wistful reminiscing. It is about the deliberate construction of stories
that continue to include the dead in the membership of our lives. The book
specifically rejects common assumptions about the need to seek closure, complete
unfinished business, work through stages, or say final
goodbyes. Re-membering also rejects the idea that relationships end when
biological life ends. Lorraine Hedtke and John Winslade offer this innovative
approach by weaving inspiring stories with accessible practices that can be used
by professionals and others to ease the transitions that death brings. The book
demonstrates and illustrates the practical implications of recent and radically
divergent thinking in the field of death and grief. It is a book that has the
potential to startle and at the same time to bring fresh hope and comfort to
many who walk in the valley of the shadow of death.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Lorraine Hedtke, MSW, ACSW, CISW, has been in private practice since 1986
and is on the faculty of The Institute for Creative Change, in Phoenix, Arizona,
a professional think tank and learning community that fosters social
constructionist thinking. She teaches nationally and internationally about
narrative therapy and death, dying, and bereavement. Her professional articles
have appeared in many journals and newspapers. Ms. Hedtke has been interested in
the innovative thought of narrative therapy and social constructionism since her
graduate studies in 1985 and has combined this interest
with her knowledge of death and grief.
John Winslade, PhD
is a senior lecturer and Director of the Counseling Program at the University of
Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has a particular interest in the
possibilities that narrative and social constructionist ideas offer for
enhancing the resourcefulness of people and of communities. Dr. Winslade is the
co-author of three books on narrative therapy and narrative mediation, as well
as many articles and book chapters. He has conducted workshops and made
conference presentations on narrative therapy in the USA, Canada, Australia, the
UK, and New Zealand.