Permission to Mourn by Tom Zuba

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Title: Permission to Mourn: A New Way to Do Grief by Tom Zuba


Tom Zuba experienced the loss of three of his family members, which caused him to seek out a new way to process his grief.  This book is full of Tom’s feelings and observations about his own grief, and a healthier way for anybody to work through their grief.  It’s told in free-flow poetic form and is relatively short.

My thoughts:

I’m on the lookout for a good book on grief that I can recommend to people.  We now live in a place where the crime rate is high, and I know that we’ll be going to more funerals.  Just a fact of life.  Usually I give people a copy of A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, but I wanted to find at least a couple of alternatives.

Tom Zuba has experienced some horrific loss in his life, and I can’t even imagine how that grief threatened to bury him.  I appreciate his open and honest observations about his grief and how he has and continues to work through it.  Many of the feelings he shared resonated with how I felt and still feel about my sister’s death.  It made me cry, but it’s good to cry every now and again to release some of those feelings.

I don’t really agree with Tom’s ideas about what happen to a person after they die, but I’m okay reading the book just to feel like I’ve met and talked to a fellow comrade in the grief journey.  Some people would probably be upset with his ideas though, so I thought I should lay them out.  He believes that we all go to heaven and that you can communicate with your deceased loved one through signs (i.e. a butterfly landing on your hand is your loved one communicating with you from beyond the grave, etc.), and that you should actively seek out and ask for such signs.  For me the question was: Can I read a book by someone who has some profound observations on grief, but whose life views may not match up with my own?  I thought it was worth the read.

I recommend Permission to Mourn to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, whatever stage of the journey you find yourself in right now.  Even if you don’t fully identify with Tom’s beliefs, his emotions are the same as they would be for anyone else.

A favorite quote:

“Grief is not the enemy.

Grief is the teacher.

The powerful


gift-from-God teacher.

But you must be brave enough to enter the pit.

By feeling your feelings.”  (p. 54-55)

Possible Objections:

  • different worldview than your own about what happens after death

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…



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