Transforming the Valley of Grief by Thomas O. Mason
Losing a loved one is always difficult, but so many find the grief devastatingly unbearable during the Christmas season. In his new book Transforming the Valley of Grief, author Tom Mason shares his journey of grief after the loss of his wife. This slim volume is a manual for anyone who is coping with grief and offers practical insight and suggestions to those in “the valley of grief” this Christmas.
Transforming the Valley of Grief follows Mason’s own journey from the moment the tsunami of grief crashed into his life, through the peaceful, solitary moments meeting God in the wilderness, in the times where unexpected memories triggered flash floods of emotion and to the moment when the valley opened up and he was able to fully embrace his changed life. The book includes many specific, practical tips for both grieving men and those who love them and want to support them through the valley. Each chapter concludes with a “notes to self” section with positive suggestions for men to try at different points in their journey of grief and a “notes to others” section. At the back of the book there is a collection of discussion questions perfect for use in a grief support group.
This slim volume is the perfect gift for the friend or loved one who is coping with loss, and it is essential reading for anyone who wants to support a grieving man but doesn’t know what to do or say. Mason offers beautiful spiritual insights, often drawing from the comforting words of the psalmist. But perhaps more important are his detailed directions for surviving single life—everything from how to plan an effective mini-sabbatical and how to find your way as a “pre-married” in the church singles group to what you should do with the leftovers your wife would have made creative use of (toss them and forgive yourself). The loss of a loved one always brings change, and Mason helps readers think through the various decisions they will face as a result (i.e., Should I stay here or move away? Do I want to remarry someday?).
Mason shows readers that, though the journey of grief begins in the darkness of the valley, God will reveal new light, joy and purpose as you “do the work” of grieving and He transforms the valley. “There is hope, even if you can’t believe it right now! There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Mason says. “There is an end to your dark valley, and this book is about getting there and the various steps and stages along the way.”
Tom’s journey of grief is the topic of his book, Transforming the Valley of Grief, a new manual for grieving men which documents his healing process and contains many practical suggestions for others who find themselves (or their friends) dealing with the loss of a loved one. He was compelled to write the book after searching in vain for a book on grief written from the male perspective to guide him through his own journey.
“I am absolutely convinced that men and women process grief differently. Women are from Venus, and men are from Mars, after all,” Mason says. “Women process grief verbally; men retreat to their caves to grieve in isolation, or at least, they are expected to do so.” Tom has written this book so that no man must travel the valley alone.
Xulon Press September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60791-616-1/131 pages/softcover/$14.99