As a social worker at the Coroners Courts, Sydney, I see a great need for primary material that details the emotional journey of grief which follows sudden death, but also how individuals and families deal with the multi facets of a death and how this reverberates around a family.

People facing these new situations are hungry to know how others have coped. They have little understanding of the length of time it takes to reorganise one’s inner and outer world with the loss of a key family member, and the vulnerable and often irrational state of mind which is “normal” during this adjustment. There is also a great need to enhance the general community understanding of this process.

Most people avidly read the newspaper stories of tragic accidents and sudden unexpected deaths, but there is rarely any in depth follow up about how families cope with this.

This book provides answers, “how ordinary people break down the grief into manageable pieces and live through what has happened”.

The effect of reading about this is to be heartened and encouraged by the resilience of the human spirit. It is valuable to all those who are touched by the circles of reaction to these sort of deaths. How the central persons feel, what do they need, how does one react appropriately. This book tells that. It is a vital story of one family’s survival.

Division of Forensic Medicine,
Coroners Courts, Glebe, Sydney.