Book Review: Permission to Grieve by Shelby Forsythia

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Book Review: Permission to Grieve by Shelby Forsythia

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I was honored to be asked by author Shelby Forsythia to review her book Permission to Grieve: Creating Grace, Space, and Room to Breathe in the Aftermath of Loss. Shelby is an Intuitive Grief Guide and the host of the Coming Back Podcast which are conversations that tell the truth about life after death, divorce, diagnosis, and other important topics.

Shelby’s breaking point was Christmas 2013 when her mom, who she’d seen struggle for a year and a half with breast cancer, suddenly died. Her death was preceded by her dad being in and out of the hospital for two years for major brain surgeries, Shelby’s body battling her mind as she fought binge eating disorder, and what felt like a total loss of home, security, and stability after she came out as pansexual. She affectionately refers to her college years as “the four years of hell.” Losing her mom was the tipping point for Shelby.


Permission to Grieve is a book for people who are tired of covering up and pushing down their pain. It’s a book for people who know that there’s a better, more compassionate way to approach the worst thing that has ever happened to them. It’s a book for people who believe that grief is not an enemy to be vanquished as quickly as possible, but an opportunity to connect more deeply with their human selves. Because even in the midst of loss, Shelby writes, we can create grace, space, and room to breathe.

Drawing on her experience as a grieving person and two years’ worth of interviews with grief experts like Megan Devine, Kerry Egan, and Caleb Wilde, Shelby Forsythia makes the case for radical, self-honoring permission—free from personal judgement and society’s restrictive timelines and rules. Permission to Grieve guides you to call your grief out of hiding and invites you to give it permission through thoughtful writing prompts, easy-to-follow exercises, and clever visual illustrations.


GROUNDBREAKING….Shelby’s thoughtful and groundbreaking approach to grief in Permission to Grieve provides the universal truths to help someone who has experienced loss of any kind, move from surviving to living again.

COMPELLING….Having experienced so many losses in my own life I thought I knew what it takes to move through grief. Once I started reading Permission to Grieve, Shelby’s compelling, thought-provoking, and heartfelt words transported me to back to a place in my heart I thought I would never find again.

TRAILBLAZER….Shelby Forsythia is a true grief trailblazer in her new book, Permission to Grieve. Weaving her personal loss story with grief myth-busters, thought provoking “Pause Buttons” and real world actionable tools, Shelby brings loss out from the abyss of darkness back into the light.

Some of my favorites quotes from Permission to Grieve include: 

– “Whether someone you love has died and you can’t imagine yourself surviving in a world without them…or you’ve just been served divorce papers, wrecking your dream of a long and happy future…or you’ve just received a life-changing diagnosis that takes away your balance, health, and control, the outcome is the same: This is not my life. This doesn’t belong to me. This is not happening.” (Page 29)

– “Getting fired from a job, having a relationship hit the rocks, seeing a parent or grandparent get sick…these are all difficult losses to experience and are grief-triggering life events. But instead of honoring our grief or even taking time to look at it, we’re taught to bypass our feelings, reject the fact that we’ve been hurt by what’s happened, and carry on.” (Page 32)

 – “What if we had permission to share our feelings with others without fear of being a burden? What if we had permission to believe that the life of an animal is just as significant as the life of a human? What if we had permission to carry loss with us even after time has passed? What if we had permission to show weakness, break down, and cry in front of others?” (Page 46)

– “It is normal and human for us to ride the waves in grief. It is incredibly scary at times, especially when our lives up until our loss have been relatively smooth sailing. But we will never fully witness the next emotional wave if we lock up our grief and don’t give it space to move through us. All grief wants is the experience of moving through us.” (Page 60)

“Don’t ask your losses to stay small so that you can feel safe. The moment loss happens, we no longer fit into our old lives. Post-loss, we know more. We’ve seen more. And we’ve grieved more. Allowing grief space to permeate your life “before” and influence your life “after” is a powerful piece of permission, one that honors your role as an active participant in the world. And when your world changes, so do you.” (Page 77)


– “Hold this book close to your heart. It won’t take away the hurt, but it will give you a roadmap for how to carry it forward.” Stephanie Zamora

“This book is relatable on so many levels to anyone dealing with death, diagnosis and the other various struggles we incur during this lifetime.
You will be finding yourself saying “that’s me” and “I feel the exact same way” allowing you to feel as if you’re not alone in this journey that you probably have never ever prepared yourself for. Comforting and written with heart and soul. A must read!”
Amazon Review


Permission to Grieve is available September 4th 2019 on Amazon and on Amazon Kindle.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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