When the Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter
Judith R. Bernstein
Bernstein argues that parents don't recover from the death of a child so much as they adapt to it,
forever altering the way they think and act--often with negative consequences. To provide some understanding
of this complex situation, she interviewed 55 parents whose children had died. This research, plus her own
experiences (Bernstein's son died when he was 25), allows her to examine the various stages of grief, the
mourning process, the effects on family and social relationships, and the emotional differences between
facing a sudden death (such as a murder) and an anticipated death (such as a terminal illness). She also
probes the different ways men and women tend to mourn. This can cause problems, especially when a husband's
comparative reticence makes a wife believe that he's relatively unaffected by the death of their child.
Compassionate and revealing, it should aid both mental-health professionals and parents dealing with
this kind of devastating loss.