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The Alphabet of Grief

Words to Help in Times of Sorrow: Affirmations and Meditations

Andrea Raynor

About The Alphabet of Grief

Find spiritual companionship in these brief but powerful thoughts on the sacred journey of grief—from a Ground Zero first responder featured in Spike Lee’s upcoming HBO documentary NYC Epicenters 9/11-> 2021½.

Chaplain and spiritual counselor Andrea Raynor knows that when the funeral service is over, the friends leave, and the house grows quiet, grief can be overwhelming. As a chaplain at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she understands the heartbreak and devastation of losing a loved one—and wants to offer encouragement, comfort, and a reminder that you are not alone in your sorrow.
In The Alphabet of Grief, Raynor uses the letters of the alphabet as starting points for simple reflections on loss and hope. Each chapter concludes with a meditation and an affirmation—something to do and something to believe. Whether you are currently grieving or are supporting a loved one struggling with bereavement, The Alphabet of Grief is the perfect resource to remind you that there is beauty in the midst of suffering, and that love, no matter how painful, is always worth it. 

“I chose each word in this book based on the countless hours I have spent with grieving people. Not only have they have shared with me the pain of loss but they have taught me about the daunting and sometimes mysterious journey of living.”
—Andrea Raynor in The Alphabet of Grief


“Reading Andrea Raynor’s Alphabet of Grief is like sitting down for a cup of coffee with a wise and gentle friend. Raynor understands what it means to grieve, and she reminds us of the larger wisdom of our faith and the story of our lives. After a loved one dies, my patients’ families sometimes wish there was a chaplain in the community they could call for guidance and comfort after the hospice team says goodbye. Now I can give them this book. It is wise, luminous, down to earth, and enormously comforting.”
—Kerry Egan, author of On Living and Fumbling

“There are no perfect words when someone grieves, which is why The Alphabet of Grief provides a wonderful way to move through the process with bite-sized wisdoms. Raynor’s personal, alphabetical blueprint allows us to take sorrow and loss at our own pace to come out on the other side.”
—Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author

“Compassionate and inspiring, The Alphabet of Grief provides a framework to process the multifaceted emotions surrounding the loss of a loved one. Raynor empathically caresses our bleeding hearts and gives practical suggestions to soothe our pain. This book is a blessing to anyone who has ever lost a loved one. For those who have been spared such a loss, Raynor’s words will reaffirm the commitment to love with abandon.”
—Theresa Joseph, coauthor of Everyday Mystic: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

“Andrea gently guides the reader through the ins and outs of grief. This book teaches what you may experience in grief and how to help someone navigate through it. Knowing profound grief myself, I found comfort in the words living on as a way to honor my son Chase.”
—Rebecca Kowalski, mother of seven-year-old Chase who lost his life in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy

“In this compelling and comforting book, Andrea Raynor uses her finely honed wisdom from years of ministering to the grieving to accompany us down a path of exploration and healing. You will nod in recognition of the truth being shared and shed healing tears of gratitude for the profundity in these pages.”
—Father Edward L. Beck, CP, CNN religion commentator and author of God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest

“Each short essay in The Alphabet of Grief is profoundly moving and insightful. For example, Andrea’s piece on ‘Dinner’ becomes nearly luminous as she narrates how death redefines our ordinary. We linger with her in such vivid detail that the helpful meditations and affirmations at the end of each section arrive almost as an afterthought. As a health-care chaplain, Andrea has a wealth of experiences to draw upon, but she doesn’t hold back personally, bravely processing her own grief for her father. You and I are the recipients of this treasure.”
—Rt. Rev. George E. Packard, retired bishop for the armed services and federal ministries, the Episcopal Church

“A beautifully written self-care guide to live by when a loved one has died, this book offers practical wisdom I will use on a daily basis when counseling hospice families in anticipation of the death of a beloved. Andrea’s inspirational stories will help the grieving make sense of their personal expression of emotions during this sacred and vulnerable time.”
—Mary Landberg, hospice RN, MPH, and CHPN and author of Enduring Love: Inspiring Stories of Love and Wisdom at the End of Life

“Andrea Raynor’s thoughts and words lead the reader to understand death and love in a new way—the way that leads to healing. I commend this book to those who are grieving, to those who help others going through that journey, and to professionals who may use it as a resource.”
—Rev. Dr. Bill Shillady, executive director of the United Methodist City Society

“Andrea Raynor writes about grief with such compassion that you’ll feel as if she has wrapped you in a warm blanket. Her alphabet touches on all aspects of grief. In acknowledging the breadth and depth, Raynor shows us that we will get through it, each at our own pace. Everyone who has suffered a loss should read this book.”
—Annabel Monaghan, author of Does This Volvo Make My Butt Look Big?

"This little jewel of a book provides comfort and light for a time when both are most needed. Andrea Raynor’s gift for the lyrical as well as the spiritual allows her to, with wisdom and compassion, gently guide readers to a place in their grief where they can stand and not be overwhelmed by the darkness. A perfectly rendered and necessary work."
—Sophfronia Scott, author of This Child of Faith and Love’s Long Line

About Andrea Raynor

Andrea Raynor, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, is a United Methodist minister, a chaplain, and a spiritual and bereavement counselor. She served as a hospice chaplain for over twenty years, has worked with the homeless in New York City and Boston, and has pastored churches in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, she served as a chaplain to the morgue at Ground Zero. She has lectured throughout the country and has appeared as a guest on numerous television and radio programs. Raynor lives with her family in Rye, New York, where she is chaplain to the Rye Fire Department.

Product Details

160 pages | Published by WaterBrook

On Sale Date: Sep 5, 2017

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