Grieving Room

Making Space for All the Hard Things after Death and Loss

Grieving Room

Making Space for All the Hard Things after Death and Loss

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When we lose someone we love, we are forever changed. When our person dies, our grief needs room.

People long to reduce the enormity of our grief. "Time heals all wounds," they tell us, or "At least she isn't in pain anymore." Yet no matter how hard others try to stuff our grief into a process or a plan, grief cannot be willed away.

Leanne Friesen thought she knew a lot about bereavement. She had studied it in school and preached at memorial services. But only when her own sister died from cancer did she learn, in her very bones, what grieving people don't need--and what they do. In Grieving Room, Friesen writes with vulnerability, wisdom, and somehow even wit about the stark and sacred lessons learned at deathbeds and funerals. When someone dies, we need room for imperfect goodbyes, she writes, and room for a changing faith. We need room for regret and room to rage at the world. Room for hard holidays and room in our schedules. We need room for redemption and room for resurrection--and we also need room to never "get over it."

In this poignant account of a sister's mourning and a pastor's journey, Friesen pushes back against a world that wants to minimize our sorrow and avoid our despair. She helps those of us walking with the grieving figure out what to say and what not to say, and she offers practical ways to create ample space for every emotion and experience. Reflection questions, practices, and prayers at the end of the book offer guidance and ideas for individuals and groups.

In a world that wants to rush toward closure and healing, Grieving Room gives us permission to let loss linger. When the very worst happens, we can learn to give ourselves and others grieving room.


"A rare and wonderful gift: a story of loss that is both vulnerable and strong, raw and wise. I will be recommending this book for years to come."

Amanda Held Opelt, songwriter and author of A Hole in the World: Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing

"Leanne Friesen is doing inspiring work by normalizing conversation surrounding grief with this honest, firsthand account of how she made space for her own grief. This book is a great gift for a grieving friend or loved one."

TJ Jackson, founder of Dee Dee Jackson Foundation

"A poignant and thoughtful must-read for grievers. This book is a gift for anyone traversing life after loss."

Sally Douglas, author of Good Mourning: Honest Conversations about Grief and Loss

"A rare work that is as emotionally compelling as it is intellectually insightful. All of us will experience grief and will be called upon to help others--which is why I believe everybody reading would benefit greatly by reading Grieving Room."

Greg Boyd, pastor, theologian, and author

"Take your time with these pages; don't rush through them. Your heart will steadily open up and receive healing from the chaotic, complicated combination of both intense pain and joy over having lost someone after loving them so deeply."

Lydia Sohn, writer and United Methodist pastor

"Grieving Room reminds us to take the work of grieving seriously. It is a patient, kind, deeply personal and wise work of spiritual direction through the rooms of grief. Much thanks to Leanne Friesen for this extraordinary gift."

David Fitch, author and B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary

"If you are experiencing the pain of loss, you want a companion who understands what you are going through. With honesty, eloquence, and humor Leanne Friesen tells the story of her own grief journey. As a wise and expert guide, she can help you find your own path to healing."

Mark A. Scandrette, author of Belonging and Becoming and The Ninefold Path of Jesus: Hidden Wisdom of the Beatitudes


"Each page simmers with heartache as Friesen recalls unexpected waves of sadness triggered by songs, first holidays without her sister, and thoughts of milestones that will never happen, lending depth to her insights and practical advice (instead of asking a mourner how they're doing, she suggests: 'Tell me what you are missing about your loved one'). This will go a long way toward reassuring those who are grieving."

Publishers Weekly

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506492377
  • eBook ISBN 9781506492384
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 241
  • Publication Date February 6, 2024