Top 50 Amazon Reviewer, Yoga Teacher, and Clinical Psychologist
I am a clinical psychologist working with college students–surprisingly, a population that faces a great number of losses, whether it is the catastrophic death of a parent, the unexpected sudden loss of a sibling or peer, or even the more commonplace passings of grandparents and pets. In my work with these clients, we frequently discuss responses to triggers, both known and unknown. Milestones–anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions–generally fall into the former category. Author and mourner Kathleen Fraser has devoted this book to helping the reader navigate those milestones, providing a roadmap through the tangled jungle of grief.
The short length of this book (102 pp total) is actually an added bonus, as it is not likely to too overwhelming for those in mourning. As is said in the yogic tradition, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” A widow and grief survivor herself, Kathleen Fraser is keenly aware that she cannot eliminate the pain, but through this book, she has provided a means to ease suffering. Highly recommended!
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Indie Book Reviews
“Mourning and Milestones” from Kathleen Fraser isn’t exactly my typical reading fare to say the least, as I generally gravitate toward lighthearted romantic comedies. However, I realize what an important subject this is now more than ever as this is the first holiday season I’ll be facing without both my sister and my grandmother. While not the level of romantic love that the author is facing after losing her husband Jack, still a loss nonetheless and there are some wonderfully touching stories here as well as great advice for coping, handling the stress and depression, and how to deal and move on. I was touched by much of what she shares with us here not only of their relationship but her life since his passing. So relatable on so many levels, even if not exactly what I’ve gone though. Still very wise and helpful. I thoroughly commend the author on writing this candid book and sharing her experiences with the rest of us. It was like a friend telling me a story from the bottom of her heart, and it touched me in mine. It’s engaging and emotional without being melodramatic. Highly recommended. 5 Stars
>Okay, so be prepared to feel the feels with this one. In fact, just keep a box of tissues nearby the whole time because believe me you will need them. Obviously from the title and description we know this is going to be a heavy book… and it is, but in a strangely uplifting and even inspiring way. Yes, it’s sad… very much so. But Kathleen Fraser’s writing and the memories/ stories she shares as well as her personal experiences dealing with grief (specifically the ‘milestones’ of personal days and holidays) are absolutely wonderful and so touching and real.It is a bit surprising to me that sure there are plenty of books on dealing with grief, but few (if any) that all really interactive and insightful about the special challenges and hardships a grieving spouse endures during the ‘extra hard’ times of holidays and personal milestones. This book is helpful for anyone who will be facing these tough times, and I’d like to thank the author for sharing her experience with us — for reminding us that we are strong and not alone. 5 Stars.
Counselor, Educator and Bereavement Group Facilitator
To read Mourning and Milestones is to experience whole-hearted living. When one encounters profound loss there is an equal measure of grace that appears as a blessed surprise. Kathleen shows us how to stay present – awake, alive, alert, fully conscious – especially when it hurts.
Everyone talks about being present, but who can bear it? Especially, when there is overwhelming loss and grief? To let our hearts be broken open again and again is a task no one signs up for. It hurts.
And yet, Kathleen shows us how it’s done. She courageously meets this moment, this situation, this unexpected turn with eyes and heart open, refusing to let her loss diminish her connection to family, self or, her beloved Jack. Her writing is passionate, practical, articulate, and illuminating.
Writer, Producer of Stories Roc! and Instructor at the Writers and Books Literary Center
This is a beautifully written, brave and honest book about loss.
In exploring the special “milestone” days, Kathleen Fraser creates a roadmap to help surviving spouses navigate their conflicted feelings and needs in the months and first years after a loss.
Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays can trigger unfinished grief and can overwhelm many mourners. Kathleen is able to show so clearly how this affects not just the spouse, but the whole family. Her simple but detailed, concrete “hints” can “ease the burden of invention” families face, whether creating new traditions, ceremonies or even in the process of scattering ashes.
Those who grieve will also appreciate the courage she finds to tackle the trauma of sudden loss in our modern world and how critical it is to share those emotions with someone safe.
Kathleen has experienced the challenging balance between “honoring loss” and living in the present, between wanting support from others and needing to be alone, between acknowledging the hard pain and seeking out her own joy and strengths.
I look forward to sharing the many comforting passages in this valuable book with anyone who is grieving.
The Reverend Deborah Fae Swift
South Presbyterian Church
In twenty-five years of professional ministry, I have waited for a resource like this. Dr. Fraser’s personal account provides a sensitive, compassionate yet unvarnished roadmap for those times when the grief process can seem overwhelming and without direction. Not only perfect for professionals, this book provides hope for all who have survived the death of a loved one. A great read: compassionate, loving, humorous… honest!
Stephen L. Fielding, Ph.D.
Kathleen Fraser captures the essence of the varied experiences of losing one’s spouse. Mourning and Milestones shows the slow process of building a new life and reveals some of the most intimate details of her life with her husband Jack. I was both riveted by Fraser’s story and drawn to reflecting on my own experience. Her accounts of other widows/widowers and the additional resources section add dimension to her own story.
Communication Coach, Adjunct Instructor of Speech Communication at Monroe Community College
Grief, mourning, intense feelings of sadness, overwhelm, and leave us vulnerable. We live in a society that tends to push aside these all-too-human experiences associated with the natural process of grieving a loss. We are told we will “get over it”, “it’s not so bad,” “at least you have…”, and other pithy advice suggesting that we are weak, frail, or flawed for having these feelings, especially as time goes by and we are asked, “Aren’t you over it yet?”
This book does none of those things. Instead, in these pages, Kathleen Fraser shows us the very human reality of her agonizing personal experience in the days, weeks, months, and years following the sudden death of her beloved husband, allowing us a vivid glimpse into the everyday moments that make up the lived experience of grief. In a narrative beautifully crafted with mindfulness and tenderness, this book explores the ways that milestones, anniversaries, trigger points, and even seemingly innocuous daily events can catapult a grieving person into the chaos of emotions that make up the experience of loss. Fraser’s story will resonate with anyone who has been through the trials of grief, loss, or transformation. For anyone traveling the road of grief and mourning, this book would be a treasured companion on the journey.