Book Review: A Mother Loss Workbook: Healing Exercises for Daughters

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

By Diane Hambrook CSW, MSW, and Gail Eisenberg with Herma M. Rosenthal

Review By April L. Ratcliffe, LSW


When Diane Hambrook was a student in her bereavement counseling class, she was strongly impacted by the profound words of her instructor, Dr. Patrick DelZoppo. “Mourners need to tell their story and have someone bear witness to their experience,” DelZoppo said. Hambrook found this to be true when she attended motherless daughter support groups. Women who grew up without moms talked about feeling unloved, unimportant, angry, empty, confused and profoundly sad from never having known their mothers. 

These experiences planted the seed for Hambook’s 1997 book, A Mother Loss Workbook: Healing Exercises for Daughters. Hambrook and her co-authors broke down the book into four parts:
1) Remembering the past/Life without mother and family
2) Touched by loss/The circumstances and ramifications of her death
3) Who am I now/Who are you as a result of the loss
4) Who will I be/Approaching a place of healing, integrating the loss and taking charge of your future.

The authors share multiple types of activities, open-ended questions and thought-provoking topics for journaling. They encourage you to be specific, thorough and include details. They also recommend that you do not censor your thoughts, but rather listen to yourself and let go.

A Mother Loss Workbook also includes stories of other motherless women ranging in age from late teens to their mid-seventies, placed to inspire and reinforce the fact that you are not alone. 

A Mother Loss Workbook was created so you can tell your story. It is a wonderful supplement to professional therapy or support groups, or on its own if you are not ready to talk about your loss with others. It is a tool: a safe space to assist women who  are grieving and are defined by a loss; a space where you can work at your pace, in your own time, at any stage of the grief process; a space where no one will judge you.

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