Book Review, The Alchemy of Grief

Working through grief is one of the toughest challenges one can endure during a lifetime. One of my primary goals with my blog is to provide grief resources for my readers along the way in addition to other practical information related to organizing an estate.

I love to read books and often categorize them into two broad categories- those books I read only once and can be borrowed from the town library and ones I like to purchase as a resource to read over and over again. The Alchemy of Grief by Nancy Loeffler falls into the latter category. The book emerged from the loss of her own daughter Leah, who died tragically in a car accident at the age of 17. The author recounts her own grief journey in the wake of this loss.

Mortality is one common connection we all share as humans and nearly everyone I meet in my work is grieving the loss of someone close to them. Yet The Alchemy of Grief moves beyond the role of grief in response to death to other losses we may experience. Examples include death of a pet, job loss, divorce, loss of a personal dream. Everyone can benefit from learning how to respond to grief in ways that do not prolong, intensify, or dismiss the pain. The book serves as a universal balm in helping us heal from all different forms of loss.

The book is divided into several chapters starting with a personal entry from Loeffler’s journal, a chapter topic, personal exercises, and a journal prompt. Using this format, the reader receives a great tool for personal growth to predict patterns of personal and behavioral reactions when confronted with any form of loss. The ideas presented in this thin, readable book are fascinating and they function as a powerful tool with which to understand one’s own personal reactions and to cultivate a more meaningful life.

I experienced more insights while reading this book than I have had in a very long time. I am sure future readers will as well.

To learn more about Nancy Loeffler, visit her website at To buy The Alchemy of Grief, visit Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh or purchase through Amazon.