Languages of Loss
Sasha Bates, Tamsin Greig
‘This is the most startlingly honest book about grief I have ever read. Its immediacy hits you on the first page and takes you on an unforgettable journey. No one has set out so clearly the stages we go through as we try to come to terms with facing the enormity of death.’ – Dame Penelope Wilton, DBE
‘Sasha writes exquisitely and honestly, the sheer rawness of what she has gone through and is still going through, sitting in balance with the calm and clear-sighted objectivity of the therapist, who is also her.’ – Hugh Bonneville
One person, two perspectives on grief. Plunged unexpectedly into widowhood at just 49 years old, psychotherapist Sasha Bates describes in searing honesty the agonisingly raw feelings unleashed by the loss of her husband and best friend, Bill. At the same time, she attempts to keep her therapist hat in place and create some perspective from psycho-analytic theory. From the depths of her confusion she gropes for ways to manage and bear the pain – by looking back at all that she has learnt from psychotherapeutic research, and from accepted grief theories, to help her make sense of her altered reality.
Languages of Loss starts a necessary and overdue conversation about death and loss. It breaks down taboos and tries to find humour and light amidst the depressing, bewildering reality. It is an essential companion to help support readers through the agony of those early months, giving permission for all the feelings, and offering various methods of living with them.This book’s overriding message is that everyone’s experience of grief is different, but knowing more about the theory, and learning a new vocabulary, while not necessarily easing the grief, can help you feel less alone, and at some point enable you to reflect back and see how far you have come.
‘This is a useful as well as a moving book. The writing is energetic, down-to-earth and bracingly honest, and many readers will feel consoled and enlightened by Bates’s take on her experience.’ – The Times
‘Bates’s skill as a psychotherapist is married to her deft ability to use language and metaphor to create this vital treatise on loss. As much as Languages of Loss is an essential text on grief, it is also a story of love.’ – Sunday Business Post Review
‘This book will give anyone grieving the death of their partner an insight into their experience, and help those around them understand the difficult and painful process of grief.’ – Julia Samuel, author of This Too Shall Pass and Grief Works
‘A really powerful book. I hadn’t read a book before that melds the professional, as a psychotherapist, and the personal, as someone that lost their partner. Sasha’s book covers the course of one year since she lost her husband Bill, where she describes how she feels and tries to apply what she has learnt as a therapist. She explores the times when that really exposes the shortcomings of grief counselling, and how incapable anything is really at helping you navigate this absence. I’ve never read anything like that, a mixture of the practical and the emotional.’ – Pandora Sykes
This book is about so much more than loss. Sasha's way with words allows the reader to access and connect with the depth of love shared by her and Bill. In doing this, she offers inspiration and hope for us all, highlighting along the way that grief is not 'the price we pay for love' but is indeed love itself. I loved this book with every bit of my own broken, open heart. -- Donna Lancaster, Co-founder of The Bridge Retreat Sasha's generosity in writing this vivid, searing account of the loss of her beloved Bill left me deeply moved, moved by the glory of loving and being loved. Her description of moving through the chaos of grief, fully exposing the unknowable inner world of the griever alongside philosophical, spiritual and therapeutic musings were highly illuminating and provocative. But what I was really left with was an awe, an awe of humanity's fundamental and beautiful capacity for loving connection, with one another and with one's self. I will keep this book close to me, always. -- Ed Simons, Psychotherapist and Chemical Brother This is a book fluent not just in the languages of loss but of compassion, humour, empathy, understanding, revelation and humanity. Even in the depths of her own grief Sasha Bates makes sense of the chaos that envelops all of us and offers not a reductive path to some kind of quasi-redemption but the profound glimpse of a way through. -- Tim Marlow This is a deep and generous book. Sasha Bates offers the reader a compassionate walk alongside her as she weaves her own personal story of loss with her professional understanding. It will be a great support to all who have suffered loss. -- Elizabeth Wilde McCormick, psychotherapist and author Reading this book, I'm in the hands of someone I would want to be by my side for the traumas of life - however small they seem, or big they loom. -- Kirsty Wark A powerful blend of the personal and the professional. -- Mishal Husain This is the most startlingly honest book about grief I have ever read. Its immediacy hits you on the first page and takes you on an unforgettable journey. No one has set out so clearly the stages we go through as we try to come to terms with facing the enormity of death. -- Dame Penelope Wilton, DBE Sasha writes exquisitely and honestly, the sheer rawness of what she has gone through and is still going through, sitting in balance with the calm and clear-sighted objectivity of the therapist, who is also her. That I so vividly recognise the Bill I knew is testimony to her skill at characterisation - but whether one knew the man or not, one recognises love when one reads it and one recognises the chaotic agony of a love lost. Exploring the threads of her bereavement with such candour and wit and lightness of touch is a remarkable achievement. Bursting through the bitter darkness of her personal experience shine truths that will serve as bright points of light for those who have shared, or are perhaps just embarking upon, the confusing journey of grief. -- Hugh Bonneville
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