A new book, Grief is a Mess, is a short illustrated book for those

  • who don’t know much about grief even if they think they do; and those
  • who are in the middle of learning more about it than they ever wanted to know.

The book is particularly valuable considering what I have gleaned from my clients after years of grief counseling. Allow me to explain.


I am good at offering condolences when your 95 year old parent dies, but when a young parent, spouse, sibling or child dies, I often head for the sidelines—after I write a note of condolence, attend the service and drop off some food.

Why do I do this?

The truth: “I forget to remember you because I don’t know what to do with you!”

Actually I don’t forget or when I see you I wouldn’t hide behind a rack of clothes in Macy’s, move to another grocery aisle at Whole Foods, or pretend I don’t see you when in a crowd. “You have to understand, I just can’t say ‘I haven’t called or emailed because I don’t know what to do with you.’”


I am in the thick of the worst experiences of my life, and I seldom realize:

  • I want your attention, but I don’t want your attention;
  • I often complain about what you say or do and what you don’t say or do;
  • I want you to invite me to your party/dinner/whatever, but I don’t want to come; and if I do come I focus on when I can leave without offending you;
  • I want you to ask how I am, but I am irritated if you do—because you should know;
  • I hate pretending “I am fine” to make you feel better, so when I see you I hide behind a rack of clothes at Macy’s, move to another grocery aisle at Whole Foods or pretend I don’t see you when in a crowd;
  • Considering the above I want you to know that I welcome humor, and I love a bit of whimsy to break up my exhausting job of grieving.

The above may sound crazy but we ARE crazy depending upon what is at hand, aren’t we?

Jackie Schuld educates and offers relief with her new illustrated book, GRIEF IS A MESS

Jackie Schuld’s mother recently died at a young age. Jackie’s grief propelled her to write and illustrate a book that educates those of us who know little about grief; and validates the feelings of us whose world has fallen apart.

The book is particularly appropriate as a gift book because it is illustrated. Why should that matter? Fresh grief blasts a person’s ability to focus on the text-heavy gift books about how to survive a significant loss.

Grief is a Mess doesn’t offer advice, and it can be read in one sitting. Its charming gentle-on-the-eyes-and-mind drawings land squarely on the truth: grief IS a mess—but for a few minutes it can seem tolerable.

This is also the first book that I have read that qualifies for all ages—adults as well as children—regardless of the circumstances of death.

A high-five to you Jackie!

>Available on Amazon.com