The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change (Hardcover)
How do we begin to cope with loss that cannot be resolved?
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of us haunted by feelings of anxiety, despair, and even anger. In this book, pioneering therapist Pauline Boss identifies these vague feelings of distress as caused by ambiguous loss, losses that remain unclear and hard to pin down, and thus have no closure. Collectively the world is grieving as the pandemic continues to change our everyday lives.
With a loss of trust in the world as a safe place, a loss of certainty about health care, education, employment, lingering anxieties plague many of us, even as parts of the world are opening back up again. Yet after so much loss, our search must be for a sense of meaning, and not something as elusive and impossible as "closure."
This book provides many strategies for coping: encouraging us to increase our tolerance of ambiguity and acknowledging our resilience as we express a normal grief, and still look to the future with hope and possibility.
— Kenneth J Doka, PhD, Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America, Professor Emeritus, The College of New Rochelle
From her own professional and personal experience, Boss offers us lessons in dealing with ambiguous loss. She writes beautifully and with great emotion as she tackles one of our most difficult challenges—how to grow through pain and suffering. Boss is a cultural therapist whose work helps us understand ourselves and each other.
— Mary Pipher, psychologist and author of Women Rowing North and Reviving Ophelia
[A]n inspired and much-needed framework for living through the pandemic.... [A] beautiful melding of Boss' 80+ years of personal experience with life and loss with her 40+ years of professional work as a family therapist, professor, clinician, and grief expert.
— Coalition News, a publication of the Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support
Of all the books and articles that Pauline Boss has written devoted to her pioneering work on ambiguous loss, this publication may be her finest. The book is timely and exactly what so many of us desperately need as we try to comprehend, adjust to, and gradually bounce back from the devastating losses that so many of us have experienced as we live amid a global pandemic. I am convinced that this book will provide a much-needed compass to those who feel directionless following the loss of loved ones during the pandemic, and for whom ‘proper closure’ was not humanly possible due to COVID-related constraints. One of the most refreshing and welcomed features of this masterfully written book centers around Boss’s expansion of her previous groundbreaking work on ambiguous loss to include a critical examination of global issues such as climate change and racism. If there were ever a time where a book, with such a sharp focus was needed, one that speaks honestly, authoritatively, and eloquently to where we are as a nation and a world, it is now.
— Kenneth V. Hardy, Ph.D., Clinical and Operations Consultant, The Eikenberg Institute for Relationships
Timely, well written, organized, and presented.... [O]f special value and enduring interest to professionals and non-specialist general readers alike.
— Midwest Book Review
This book is packed with observation and stories, and imbued with understanding, compassion, wisdom and permission to be human. I unreservedly recommend it to anyone who is not quite knowing where they find themselves after the events of the past two years.
— Therapy Today