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'Mourning Journey' author will discuss, sign books

By Natasha Clark

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM In his book Mourning Journey, Dennis Young tackles a tough, unavoidable part of life that isn't often a topic of conversation until it affects you death.

Young provides the reader with what has been described as "spiritual guidance for facing grief, death and loss."

On Oct. 22 between 1-3 p.m., Pam's Paperback's will host a book signing featuring Young.

Reminder Publications caught up with Young mid-morning last Thursday to discuss Mourning Journey and what he hopes his book will communicate to the reader.

This wasn't something Young rushed to put together. Just into the first few pages of the book you read accounts of other people facing death and grief. Through quotes and retellings of their stories, Young shows that, while many people can go through some of the same emotions, no one's experience is exactly the same. At the opening of the book, Young even shares his own experience.

He told Reminder Publications that sometimes when people go to a bookstore looking for a book on the topic, they can get sidetracked just looking for the book.

"You kind of get stopped by thinking, 'which one is good, what's not. Which one will tell me something I need to know,'" he explained.

He added that some writers advance toward the topic of death and dying more academically or as a practitioner.

"So I tried to pull all of that together with my own experiences, and approach it from a spiritual point-of-view,"Young said. "But obviously everyone's situation is different. People do teach you more about life, at times, than reading a book. Everybody learns to cope a certain way with tragedy. I think that people from more of a spiritual point-of-view may see something bigger than tragedy in front of them. I think it gives us something better to hold on to."

Certified in Thanatology (death, dying and bereavement), the author is also minister of the Springfield Church of Christ and a grief counselor who conducts seminars for churches and community groups, including Baystate Medical Center's bereavement program where he has been a volunteer bereavement facilitator for three years.

Young said he holds the individuals who attend his meetings or others like it in high regard.

"Coming to a group cold, not knowing who is going to be there, it's pretty tough on people. They're pretty courageous people," he said, adding that many people initially can experience fear. "Some people fear that they can't handle this. [Or they think] 'I'm different than everybody else.' Which is not true."

What makes Mourning Journey so unique is that it is not just for the person experiencing grief. Its contents are divided to help those dying, helping the dying, helping the caregiver, those in the period of loss, grief or mourning even dealing with hospitals, wakes, funerals and memorials.

"We do cover a lot of general topics. I was trying to attempt to capture as many things that people will run into. Instead of dealing with just one aspect of loss there's other parts of this story you're going to face. There's all sides to this coin," Young shared.

To offer a well-balanced outlook, Young not only provides the reader with examples, a variety of topics and people sharing their own story, he also adds Bible scripture and a bibliography in the rear of the book to assist the reader should they want to pursue more information on any given topic.

Twenty pages into the book Young writes, "Losing relationships and experiencing the pain that goes along with the loss will change us. It will change our thinking about life and how we live."

If anything, Mourning Journey may offer hope to a person, who at the moment, can't see it on the horizon.

To meet Dennis Young and purchase a copy of Mourning Journey, you can attend his book signing at Pam's Paperbacks, 85 Post Office Park in Wilbraham, on October 22 between 1-3 p.m.