I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye by Brook Noel & Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D.

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Title: I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping & Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One by Brook Noel & Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D.


This book is meant to be a reference aid for those who have experienced the sudden loss of a loved one.  It features personal stories, guidelines for coping and healing, grief recovery exercises, information about the grieving process, additional resources, and more.

My thoughts:

This is the most recent book I read in my quest to find quality books which cover the topic of grief.  The title jumped out at me because of my sister’s sudden death.  I haven’t found many books that deal with sudden death, in particular.


Personally, this was a very cathartic read for me.  I came away with a sense of affirmation and understanding, and the acceptance of being okay with my current progress in my grief journey.  The authors really emphasize the fact that grief is a journey, not a destination, and that there is no prescribed method or timeline for it.  For someone who is feeling out of control, like they are regressing, or like they’ll never “get better,” this is a very helpful thing to hear.  I agree with the authors that each person should make their way along the path of grief using the methods which suit them, and according to their own timetable.


There were some after-life views which I didn’t agree with, but the authors presented them as different modes of belief, not necessarily their own.  They neither endorsed nor discounted the different after-life beliefs, but left it open so that the book could be helpful for people of all different faiths (or no faith at all).


One criticism, if you can even call it that, is that I wish there were more examples of sudden deaths in which the family has to forgive the person who was responsible for their loved one’s death (i.e. murder).  It was lightly touched on, but not given a lot of discussion, probably because of the authors’ lack of experience with that kind of death.  Since it’s outside of their scope, I can’t really complain that they weren’t able to relate to those particular feelings.  I just wish I could learn about some ways to recover from a situation where your family member died a more violent death and you have to accept the fact that their killer gets a second chance at life.  Perhaps I’ll find a book like that one of these days.


Aside from that, there are a fair number of errors in the text which would have been caught with more careful editing.  It would have also made the book and writing style come across as more professional.


I recommend I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye to those who have experienced the sudden death of a loved one and are looking for healing.  No matter where you are in the healing process, this book should have something of value to offer you.  It’s quite helpful as a reference book on grief.

A favorite quote:“Laws of nature do not make exceptions for nice people.  A bullet has no conscience; neither does a malignant tumor or an automobile gone out of control.  That is why good people get sick and hurt as much as anyone.”  (p. 70, Rabbi Kushner)

“‘Relationships with a brother or sister help children know who they are and how they fit in the family.  The bonds between siblings are woven into the fabric of each one’s life.’  When we lose a sibling, we lose a piece of ourselves, a piece of our family, and a reflection of ourselves.”  (p. 160)

Possible Objections:

  • You may not agree with all of the after-life beliefs which are presented

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…



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