GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding
by Phyllis Davies
Widely used, practical day-by-day guidelines combine with a magnetic story, gently leading grievers on a journey into their own feelings and healing. Readers climb with the author along the trail of her walk into peace and new meaning in life after the death of two children, the first as a baby, and later, her 13-year-old son in a commercial mid-air plane crash.
320 pages, 70 illustrations, paperback, four-color cover,
5th edition expanded
$19.95 ISBN 0-941343-39-1
Specialists and readers are saying:
"When my brother was murdered, we used GRIEF, Climb Toward Understanding.
The guidelines and other resources helped us. It gave us memorial
service ideas. Later, the story helped my family as we climbed
through the mountains of anger and grief to a more peaceful place."
- Delia Lancaster
"This beautifully written self-help book and the companion booklets should be available in all libraries."
Coordinator of Resources,
National Center for Death Education
"GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding helped me when my beloved
dog died. Again later, I found it surprisingly helpful during
an unexpected divorce. I once again turned to it when I lost my
- Eve Adamson
"The resources and
guidelines section as well as the healing qualities of this book
have been invaluable tools to my patients, to my students and
to me personally."
- John J. Frey, M.D., Professor
Department of Family Medicine,
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Someone Is Seriously Ill: What You Can Do
by Phyllis Davies
Day-by-day "can-do lists" guide you in ways to be truly supportive
to a friend or loved one.
32 pages, 12 illustrations, paperback, four-color
$8.00 ISBN 0-941343-31-6
What specialists and readers say:
"Wonderful and wise words. A wealth of information for
the recruitment and training of volunteers for hospitals, home
health agencies, hospices, support groups and religious communities."
- The Rev. Richard B. Gilbert, D.Min., BCC
Executive Director, The World Pastoral Care Cente
Someone Dies: What You Can Do (out of stock)
by Phyllis Davies
These lists are day-by-day guidelines for being helpful
to friends or loved ones.
48 pages, 12 illustrations, paperback, four-color
$9.00 ISBN 0-941343-32-4
What specialists say:
"There are many books on grief, and the seriously and terminally
ill, but they generally seem to fall into one of two categories,
books for the professional and then books that are more personal, first-person-oriented, for those on that journey. Rare and special are the
books that bring both groups together in a way that benefits both. Gifted author Phyllis
Davies, from her own integration of 'head and heart,' accomplishes
that noble and needed goal."
- The Rev. Richard B. Gilbert, D.Min., BCC
Executive Director, The World Pastoral Care Center
What Specialists and Readers Are Saying:
"I use GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding, consistently
as I help individuals and families. Its helping continues and the
resource tools improve with each edition."
- Debra Henry, R.N., Hospice Service Coordinator,
"After reading GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding, I
feel as if I've taken a shower and have been washed of much of my fear
and anger, as I begin to live with the reality that my husband will be
- Marjorie Rodriguez
"GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding, by
Phyllis Davies . . . offers a healing mix of memory, and advice
for dealing with the death of a loved one."
- Cathi Hanauer of Madamoiselle Magazine
"Right now your book is a life-line for me. Thank you for
making me feel a little less alone after the sudden and unexpected
death of our son Zachary. How could it be? How could all MY
feelings be on the pages of GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding?
Those were MY feelings, MY emotions, and they were so deep in MY soul — how could you know?
BE SURE TO READ THE LETTERS at the bottom of the
Comforting Someone page.
"Every once in a while a book comes along that breaks all
the rules — it doesn't quite fit in any established category — but
it sells and sells and sells because it fills a real need. GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding, is one of those books."
- David Cole, Founder, San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival
"Like a fire extinguisher for a fire — when a death
occurs, GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding, with its helps and
tools should be at hand in every home, library, church, business and school. I
have found death of loved ones will likely ravage our, or a friend's,
life before you or I will ever have a fire."
- Annie Zumba, Author & Artist
"When Someone Dies: What To Do was incredibly helpful when it was so difficult to even
think and I had those hundreds of decisions to make."
- Bill Anderson
"GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding is a long
overdue resource for clergy,
the medical community, and families."
- Father James, Hospital Chaplain
"Through reading this book, I now understand my own grief
far more clearly."
- Rev. Harry Starbuck
"Every home should have a copy of these three books by
Phyllis Davies on the shelf where they are immediately available when
the need arises. I have used them frequently both professionally and
- Pat Dewees, Psychologist
"This encouraging story is such a beautiful and refreshing
look at recovering from tragedy. I wish I could adequately express how GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding speaks to my innermost
being. It is helping me get in touch with many suppressed feelings. I
am so grateful."
- Alice Smith
"GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding is magnetic. I've
been inspired by this powerful, experiential, free-verse story of
reconnecting with life after tragedy. I've used it many times in myself and with clients, and often give it as a gift to friends and loved ones."
- Linda Levery, Marriage and Family Therapist
"My most cherished Christmas gift was GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding. Their gift told me how very much they care
about us. It is so comforting and helpful. It will be at my bedside
for a long time."
- Nola Blackwell
"This compelling story is intensely personal yet, at the
same time, universal. I emerged, as the author did following her
tragic loss, with a heightened appreciation of the joy of living."
- Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D., Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry
and Neurology, Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
"A gem of hope and help. The deep truths and exquisite
beauty of this book have brought solace in my own grief. This level of
wisdom is rare."
- Dr. John Peters, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
"I find this lovely book more appropriate than flowers
at the time of a death. Every home, psychiatrist, psychologist,
counselor, library, business and church should have a copy on their library shelf where
it is immediately available when the need arises. An
inspirational and practical way to help others who are struggling."
- Ed Davis, Ph.D., Psychologist
"The GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding story goes to one's heart, and heals.
The practical checklists give to dos, consoling words and confirmation that arehelpful in
discovering that peace and purpose are possible again. This beautiful book
also gives 100's of practical ideas to help you find the right words or
action when you don't know how to help yourself or others."
- Marianne Williamson, Minister and Author, The Healing
"Last spring when my husband was going to have surgery, Mrs. Davies,
your unusual and wonderful book called to me with its beautiful cover. I enjoyed reading your vignette story and by the time Bill was in the recovery room, I had explored the amazing and helpful 100-page resource section.
"As he awakened from the anesthetic, I quietly read some of your healing words, especially "My Stream," and others in the chapters Perspective and Refocus, thinking they might help him shift his attitude about the changes in life he was facing.
"Later when he was fully awake, I began reading to him the adventure you relate of your adjustment to loss and the reframing process you share in those powerful short pieces of wisdom. Even in pain, Derek and your story held Bill's attention. "In those first days we reread his favorite sections and talked. He decided living each day as fully as possible was more important than how long one lives. Living with awareness and being loving to those around him began to bring Bill the joy and peacefulness he had searched for and missed in so many ways, much of his life.
"As we watched death come far more quickly than we had expected, I began to really get familiar with the 'To Do' sections. Bill went over all the questions in Important Information (to give and get NOW), Life-Support Systems Instructions, A Letter to My Physician. I checked the www.sunnybank.com internet site and found "My letter to Family and Friends." I hope you'll include it in future editions of your book. He used the idea. Bill enjoyed sharing, and I wrote his words. **
"His life memories in that letter are his last loving gift to me and our children.
"Your book has been a very important tool in my life. But even more important, I believe your precious story gave Bill the life he had missed in all his years of living.
my deepest appreciation,"
Review by the Rev. Richard B. Gilbert
Executive Director, The World Pastoral Care Center
"Connections - Spiritual Links"
When Someone Is Seriously Ill (or Injured): What
You Can Do by Phyllis Davies, Sunnybank Publishers
When Someone Dies: What You Can Do by Phyllis
Sunnybank Publishers. Books can be ordered from the publisher at
P.O. Box 945,
San Luis Obispo, CA.
(805) 544-6889 FAX
There are many books on grief, or the seriously and
terminally ill, but they generally seem to fall into one of two
categories: books for the professional and books that are more personal,
first-person-oriented, for those on that journey. Rare and special are
the books that bring both groups together in a way that benefits both.
In two brief booklets, this gifted author, Phyllis Davies, from her own
integration of "head and heart," accomplishes that
Both books provide "practical information and guidelines"
that offer nurturing, new direction, assessment, insight, and resources. The
guidelines are not tasks, but invitations, handles along the way. We
are given outreach, yet within reasonable boundaries, with information
that helps us, maybe forces us, to look at ourselves and tend to
"When Someone Is Seriously Ill (or Injured): What
You Can Do" evolved from Phyllis's own struggles with the death of
her son Derek, the challenges of her own learning disabilities that
frustrate her efforts to read and write, and her constant presence
with other people on a journey. This book moves from her larger story or
journal "GRIEF: Climb Toward Understanding" to the experience with her friend Beth, and Beth brings
us into the world of the seriously ill.
Some of it may seem elementary for the counselors who read
it, but don't be fooled.
In this day of managed care and other limits
on sessions and access for clients, this book gives good resources and
guidelines that could prove very useful for both counselor and client.
We are always told to listen. Davies comments, "Listen and act
with intuition, heart and ears." Wonderful and wise words, and a
reminder of the wealth of information you have here for the training of volunteers for hospitals, home health
agencies, hospices, support groups and religious communities. It is
practical, much more so than many previous and established programs
that are either too long and costly, or embedded in theory that has lost
its connection to the real world. See, for example, the sections on "Life-Support Systems
Instructions," "Sample Living Will" (remember that they
do vary from state to state), "A Letter to My Physician," and "Comforting Someone When Death May be Near."
"When Someone Dies: What You Can Do" is of
equal value. Now, don't panic. It is really not about "doing,"
but a guide to more effective "being." She
has a clever checklist of things to do at the time of a death
and, with simple symbols, denotes within one list the tasks/opportunities for immediate family, friends or more distant relatives or for the funeral director, with special reminders when children are involved. A
good minister, for example, would extract (with proper credit given)
key items from this list and hand it to the family (along with the
book) at the time of a death. When you have experienced a loss, a
simple checklist can be very salutary.
It was nice to see helpful hints on preparing an obituary,
and, again, the reminder that the funeral director is there to help
you. The only thing missing here was the caution that many newspapers
now charge for obituaries by the word or the line. Many families do
not know that.
For congregations or organizations seeking guidance on how to
mobilize for pastoral care and bereavement presence, this book could
prove very useful, and also correct any misinformation or misconceptions.
I liked the sections, "Comforting Someone Possibly Near
Death," the blank page inviting you to write in "Ideas I
want to remember and questions I want to ask," and "Notes on
Children and Death."
These books are reasonably priced and also available at
reduced rates for quantity purchases. Use them for yourselves, and as
gifts or training for others.
This review was prepared by the Rev. Richard B. Gilbert, D.Min., BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Services
934 Center Street
Elgin, IL 60120
Executive Director of The World Pastoral Care Center and Founding Director
of Connections - Spiritual Links. Himself an accomplished author and
speaker, he offers many programs and consultation services, including
through WPCC, as well as Certified Bereavement Specialist Program training
seminars. For information on any of these programs or resource services
In addition, The World Pastoral
Care Center World Pastoral Care Center website: www.twpcc.org
Centre for Living with Dying
and used at
National Death and Bereavement Education Library