Getting to the Other Side of Grief

Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse

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It's something no married person wants to imagine. Yet each year, eight hundred thousand individuals mourn the passing of a husband or wife.

Coming alongside the grieving spouse, psychologist Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge and pastor/professor Robert De Vries provide much-needed support from a unique perspective--empathy. They each suffered the loss of their spouse at a relatively young age. Throughout Getting to the Other Side of Grief, the authors share their stories as living proof that if worked through properly, grief will lead the way to a fresh new life.

Beginning with the premise that a full resolution to grief is possible, the authors extend this lifeline to readers: Complete healing doesn't happen without intentional effort (time alone doesn't heal), and this intentional effort, for complete success, must combine Christian faith and sound mental health practices. In offering these interwoven disciplines, the authors give readers the benefit of both the male and female perspective.

Readers will find getting to the other side of grief less lonely and more promising in the empathetic company of these two authors. Those who assist grieving persons on their journeys--pastors, counselors, family members, friends--will find this a useful supplement to the support they offer. 


"So deep, so simple, so true, so practical, so honest, and so wise that it will surely be of much help to anyone who is hobbling painfully through the valley of loss."
--Lewis B. Smedes, professor emeritus of theology and ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Universal understanding coupled with compelling practical advice. All will benefit from the authors' valuable insights and guidance in the agonizing challenge of spousal loss."
--Rabbi Dr. Earl A. Grollman, author of Living When a Loved One Has Died

"Professionally sound psychological and theological analysis of the subject of grief. The authors' personal self-disclosure regarding their own grief experiences brings flesh and blood reality to the abstract process of grieving. . . . Both authors challenge readers to work out their grief without avoidance and with the assurance that God is a partner in this painful journey of healing."
--Arthur E. Jongsma Jr., psychologist, Psychological Consultants

The Authors

  1. Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge R.N., Ed.D

    Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge R.N., Ed.D

    Susan J. Zonnebelt-SmeengeRN, EdD, is a licensed clinical psychologist now in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. She worked at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for over 20 years. She speaks...

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  2. Robert C. De Vries

    Robert C. De Vries

    Robert C. De Vries, DMin, PhD, is professor emeritus of church education at Calvin Theological Seminary and an ordained pastor. He speaks nationally to churches, community groups, and professional organizations and facilitates a variety of...

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"[The authors] offer empathy, valuable psychological insights, biblical observations, and male and female perspectives to help readers experience grief in a healthy, complete way."
--The Banner

"An excellent resource. ... The book's wide range of topics and its clinical and pastoral perspectives make this a great addition to a church's or pastor's library."--Linda Hardin, The Communicator (February 1999)

"This sensitive and worthwhile book looks unblinkingly at the process of grieving, and offers a 'roadmap' for the journey through grief that all bereaved spouses must take."--Good Times (February 1999)

"While men and women go through the grieving process differently, they all need the help that a book like this one can give. ... This is a readable, practical, and biblically oriented book that should be in all church libraries."
--Peter J. Dyck, Provident Book Finder (March-May 1999)

"Like any good counselor each author has allowed the reader his/her space while continuing to gently nudge them on to new chapters in their lives. Having been widowed myself two years ago, I have subsequently read a number of books on this topic. I would rank this as one of the best, if not the best."--Robert Vander Schaaf, Reformed Review (Winter 1999-2000)

"This book is specifically written with young widows and widowers in mind. Yet, it would be beneficial reading to anyone who has lost a spouse through death. Readers will sense that the authors are walking along side of them as they journey through their own grief and find comfort and support in their pain and loneliness. Counselors, pastors, and friends who assist their grieving will find this volume a useful addition to the support they offer."--American Journal of Pastoral Counseling

"I cannot think of a better book for the recently bereaved. I would go out of my way to give this book to someone whose spouse has died. This book is simple, true, practical, honest and wise. It avoids nothing and covers everything."--Presbyterian Record (April 2000)