Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart

Stephen Levine

Rodale,  February 2005

What does unattended sorrow look like? It is like a low-grade fever; it troubles our sleep and drains away our days; it scatters intuition and creates an underlying anxiety; it sours the eye and leaves a distaste in the mouth; it's the vague uncertainty that permeates every thought before every action; it's the heart working as hard as it can.

It's what most of us carry with us from day to day.

And it's what renowned grief counselor Stephen Levine, author of Who Dies? and A Gradual Awakening, focuses on here. He writes that long after the initial loss has passed and the "period of grieving" has ended, an unattended sorrow lingers, accounting for a host of physical, emotional, and spiritual maladies. It's not uncommon, then, for those with unresolved grief to lean towards addictions or dangerous behaviors or other forms of self-destruction.

Levine addresses the grief from fresh loss but also attends to the pain and troubles caused by the unresolved anguish, sadness, and delayed stress that can accumulate over a lifetime--whether it's angst caused by death, the loss of self-identity, childhood abuse, illness, divorce, or even just being alive in today's world.

Levine notes that though we may never wholly overcome the sorrows we've endured, we can confront them with mercy and self-acceptance that smoothes the path to healing the heart.

hardcover | ISBN: 9781594860652 | Publication Date: February 2005

"Stephen's work is magic. His work with the grieving and dying is amongst the most skillful and compassionate that I am aware of."
--Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.

"My heart lifted and my spirits rejoiced on reading this divinely inspired book. Unattended Sorrow is going to be so important in the literature of moving forward after loss."
--Judy Collins

"There is no one better to turn to in times of loss than Stephen Levine. This book is an invaluable tool for anyone recovering from any type of major loss. A must, must read."
--Richard Carlson, Ph.D., author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff and What About the Big Stuff?

"Awareness is the first step in healing. In this magnificent book, Stephen Levine shines a bright light in the dark places in our souls. He brings to awareness the many ways in which we accumulate sadness, anger, and grief that keep us from living life as joyfully and fully as an open heart can bring. At a time when the world seems to full of sadness and fear, this book, so beautifully written, is a major force for healing."
--Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Love & Survival, founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

"Your heart and soul can be made whole again, be rejuvenated, and best of all, you can now overcome sorrow. All this is thanks to the gentle, insightful, user-friendly wisdom of my friend, Stephen Levine."
--Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator, #1 New York Times best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul®, co-author, The One Minute Millionaire