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Violent Death: Resilience and Intervention Beyond the Crisis edited by Edward K. Rynearson, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2006

Most of the families who come to the grief support groups at the Center for Good Mourning are dealing with an unanticipated death and often a violent death by accident, suicide or homicide (in that order). Violent deaths rock our world in deep and wide ways, partially because of the death with its grief and partially with the violence and its trauma. Rynearson and colleagues have lived and worked in the world of violent death and have insightful offerings which are both theoretical and practical. Broad in its approach, chapters deal with a variety of topics including spirituality, narrative approaches, parent and child concerns and suggested interventions for different populations. Of particular interest are the concluding chapters which offer perspectives and lessons from communities affected by violence: military communities, Oklahoma City, 9/11 survivors and Palestinian families. Throughout the book are themes of resilience and restorative storytelling. If one's job is to meet people in the dark places left by violent death, this book would be a significant and helpful resource.

Old Pig by Margaret Wild, pictures by Ron Brooks, Allen & Unwin, Australia,, 1995.

Granddaughter Pig and Old Pig had lived together for a long time, sharing everything including meals and chores. Old Pig experiences the weariness that can come when life is coming to an end and Granddaughter is worries. With a quiet confidence, Old Pig does not worry but prepares. Part of her preparation is a long slow walk around town where she feasts on the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that have and do make life good. In the evening after her tiring and satisfying walk, Old Pig is exhausted and goes straight to bed. Granddaughter Pig stays with her as Old Pig had done for Granddaughter Pig when she was little and scared and for the very last time they hold each other tight until morning.

Old Pig comes from two of Australia's popular picture-book makers and the creators tell this poignant story with sensitivity and light humor. The pen and watercolor illustrations are expressive, warm and comforting. The final pages are illustration-only with no words and no words are needed. Old Pig treads lightly and surely on the tender territory of anticipated death at the end of a good life. It makes for a good read and is a treat for the eyes.

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