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As one who's been studying attachment and loss and specializing in bereavement counseling most of my professional life, I'd like to tell you how I came to be interested in the subjects of loss, grief and healing, and what qualifies me to speak to you about them in a way that I hope will be meaningful and helpful to you.

Having experienced, struggled with and come to terms with my own particular share of "necessary losses" over the years, I've come to realize that those losses have taught me some of life's most valuable lessons. 

One of my earliest memories was seeing my mother's reaction to the news that her father had died. I was four years old at the time, and my beloved Grandpa had been my only living grandparent. I remember too how heartbroken my parents were when my baby brother was born prematurely and died when I was six. I learned very early on that no matter how much I may have wished it otherwise, death was part of living in this world, and it could happen to the very young as well as the very old.

At the age of five I was diagnosed with progressive curvature of the spine. Just as I was entering my teenage years, I underwent extensive spinal surgery that left me flat on my back in a body cast for eight months, homebound and separated from my eighth-grade classmates. Barely two years later I shattered my knee in a horseback-riding accident and spent three months hospitalized with my leg in traction, once again separated from my classmates and missing the second half of my sophomore year in high school. I've learned some things about loss of body image, loss of relationships and loss of freedom. 

As an adult I've gone through more than a dozen operations to surgically correct or alleviate various problems with my bones and joints. I've learned about aches and pains, loss of physical strength and mobility, and loss of independence.

Since I chose to place the demands of my husband's career ahead of my own, in our 38 years together I've moved many times, each time having to up-root and re-establish myself personally and professionally in several different states. I've learned about the difficulties of leaving comfortable homes and familiar neighborhoods, and the sadness of saying goodbye to family, friends, colleagues and positions I have loved. I've learned about losing the pride and comfort of being known, respected and valued in my work, and the challenges of having to start all over again.

My husband Michael and I were just out of college when we married in 1965. Less than two years later we were mourning the unexpected death of our second son, David, who succumbed to a blood disorder when he was barely three days old. A few months later Walter, one of our nearest and dearest friends suffered a heart attack and died. Two years after we moved our young family to New Jersey in 1976, my physician father Harry collapsed while making a house call in northern Michigan and died of cardiac arrest. Later that same year Michael's sister Delores died, followed by his mother Beatrice. Soon after our move to Arizona in 1992, both Michael's father Ralph and my mother Evelyn died. I've learned about the pain and sorrow of losing loved ones to death.

An animal lover all my life, I've loved and lost— in every way imaginable — every pet I've ever had. But when my very special little dog Muffin died suddenly in 1986, I was absolutely devastated, and totally unprepared for the intensity of my reaction to losing him. I've learned about the important roles that animals play in our lives, how we can become so attached to them, and why it hurts so much when we lose them. I've learned about the pain of losing treasured animal companions.

In my work with bereaved individuals, families and groups, I have witnessed over and over again the triumph of survivors over their deepest sorrow, suffering and pain. I have seen them experience profound moments of healing and growth. I've learned about surviving and transcending grief.

I've learned that losing someone or something we love can remind us not only how fragile and temporary life is, but also how important it is to appreciate what we do have: life, health, family, friends and loved ones. And I've learned that the difficult process of healing through loss can leave us with greater emotional strength and self reliance, and a greater awareness of what really matters in life.

In the drop-down lists that appear below, you'll find a collection of Articles I've written, both on Human Loss and Grieving and on Pet Loss and Grieving. Please take some time to browse through the various topics I've discussed, and read whatever is of interest to you. (See also the Articles by Marty categories on my Human Loss Links and Pet Loss Links pages.)  If you have suggestions or a question you would like me to address, please let me know by writing to me at

Below you'll also find descriptions of the Books I've written, along with outlines and ordering information for each.  My book, Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year (published by Hospice of the Valley in 1999, revised in 2000 and now in its third printing) is my effort to put in writing what I've learned about loss, grief and healing. I've also written a number of articles and books on coping with pet loss, including Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping and The Final Farewell: Preparing for and Mourning the Loss of Your Pet

As a content provider for Self Healing Expressions, I've written three on-line E-mail Courses on Grief: The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey, A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss, and Helping You and Your Children with Pet LossFor course descriptions and ordering information, click on each of the "Enroll Now" buttons that appear below.

My latest booklet, Explaining the Funeral / Memorial Service to Your Children  (published by Hospice of the Valley in June 2005), is now available.  For further information or to request a copy, please contact the Bereavement Office, telephone 602.530.6970, e-mail .

Suggestions for Further Reading, I've listed books by other authors, every one of which I've reviewed myself and would highly recommend.  Included are Books for Adults, Books about Pet Loss, and Books for Children and Those Who Love Them.  Click on the underlined title for a detailed description of each. 

To browse Amazon's most popular selections on grief, loss, transition, and pet loss, click on one of the titles listed in the box that appears below.

Articles by Marty related to Human Loss and Grieving

Articles by Marty related to Pet Loss and Grieving

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Read the description and outline for The Final Farewell

Read the description and reviews of Children and Pet Loss

Read the description and outline for Finding Your Way Trough Grief

The Final Farewell

Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping

Finding Your Way Through Grief: A Guide for the First Year

Click the book images or titles under the books for purchasing information 

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E-Mail Courses by Marty Tousley

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey

Have you lost a loved one?
Do you understand
the nature of grief
and its potential impact
on all aspects of your life: physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual?
Be guided and supported with
The First Year of Grief:
Help for the Journey

Enroll in this e-course now!

A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss

Explore both the myths
and the realities
surrounding the experience
of pet loss,
including why it hurts so much and how it differs
from other losses:

A Different Grief:
Coping with Pet Loss

Enroll in this e-course now!

A Different Grief:  Coping with Pet Loss

Is the loss of a family pet
your child's first encounter
with death? 
Are you wondering how you might turn this sad
and difficult experience
into a valuable life lesson
for your child? 
This is a guide for  

A Different Grief:
Helping You and Your Children with Pet Loss

Enroll in this e-course now!

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Suggestions for Further Reading

It has been said that every grief needs a thousand tellings. When we are stricken with grief over the loss of someone we love, whether that is a special person in our lives or a cherished companion animal, we each will have our own stories to tell, as well as a need to know the stories of others.

Whether written by experts in grief intervention or just ordinary people who've found their own way through grief, nowadays  there are literally dozens of excellent books on bereavement and loss, and they are readily available to all of us.  

To better understand death and dying in general (and pet loss in particular), teachers, helpers, parents and children can also find and read a vast assortment of stories and books written especially for children.

These wonderful sources of hope and healing are as near as the Bereavement section of your local library or neighborhood bookstore, or you can follow the links below and browse through some of the hundreds of titles available over the Internet.   

Please note that the titles I've listed below are those I've read myself, and personally recommend.  For excerpts, reviews and purchasing information, click on the book's title.  To browse Amazon's most popular selections on grief, loss, transition, and pet loss, click on one of the titles listed in the box that appears underneath.


Books for Adults
[To see information about each book listed (including price), hover your mouse over its title.
Afterglow: Signs of Continued Love

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live With Unresolved Grief
And a  Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart: from Despair to Meaning after the Death of a Child

Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and Remembrance
The Art of Condolence : What to Write, What to Say, What to Do at a Time of Loss
Being a Widow
A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies
Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live through the Ending of Yours
Companioning the Bereaved: A Soulful Guide for Caregivers
The Courage to Grieve
Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide
Death without Denial, Grief without Apology: A Guide for Facing Death and Loss
Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide To The Emotional and Spiritual Care Of The Dying Fatherless Women:
How We Change After We Lose Our Dads
FatherLoss : How Sons of All Ages Come to Terms with the Deaths of Their Dads
Final Gifts : Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
Finding your way through grief: A guide for the first year
Five Wishes Document
Forgotten Tears: A Grandmother's Journey Through Grief
The Four Things That Matter Most : A Book About Living
The Funeral: A Chance to Touch, a Chance to Serve, A Chance to Heal
A Garden of Love and Healing: Living Tributes to Those We Have Loved and Lost
Gifts from the Unknown: Using Extraordinary Experiences to Cope with Loss and Change
God's Gift Of Love: After-Death Communications
The Goldfish Went on Vacation: A Memoir of Loss (and Learning to Tell the Truth about It)
A Good Friend for Bad Times: Helping Others Through Grief
Grief Dreams : How They Help Us Heal After the Death of a Loved One
Grief Expressed: When a Mate Dies
Grief's Courageous Journey: A Workbook
Grieving the Death of a Friend
Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness
The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for Lasting Love
Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working through Grief
Healing Ceremonies: Creating Personal Rituals for Spiritual, Emotinal, Physical and Mental Health
The Healing Power of Pets
Helping Grieving People--When Tears Are Not Enough: A Handbook for Care Providers
Hospice Hounds: Animals and Healing at the Borders of Death
How Do We Tell the Children? A Step-by-Step Guide
How to Survive the Loss of a Love
How We Grieve: Relearning the World
Invisible Heroes : Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal
It Must Have Been Moonglow: Reflections of the First Years of Widowhood
Lean on Me: Cancer Through a Carer's Eyes
Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation
Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief
Life After Loss: A Personal Guide Dealing with Death, Divorce, Job Change & Relocation
Life After Loss : Conquering Grief and Finding Hope
Life Is Goodbye, Life Is Hello: Grieving Well Through All Kinds of Loss
Life Touches Life: A Mother's Story of Stillbirth and Healing (Book by Lorraine Ash)
The Lively Shadow: Living With the Death of a Child
The Loss of a Life Partner: Narratives of the Bereaved
The Loss That Is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father
Love Never Dies: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Love
Love You, Mean It: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Friendship
Men and Grief: A Guide for Men Surviving the Death of a Loved One
Men Don't Cry, Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief
Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss
A Mother Loss Workbook: Healing Exercises for Daughters
The Mourning Handbook: A Comprehensive Resource on Coping with Death and Dying

Mourning Has Broken: A Collection of Creative Writing about Grief and Healing
The Needs of the Dying : A Guide For Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life's Final Chapter
On Grief and Grieving : Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
No Time to Say Goodbye : Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One
Past Perfect! Present Tense: Insights from One Woman's Journey As the Wife of a Widower
The Precious Present
Private Lies: Infidelity and Betrayal of Intimacy
Pushing Up the Sky: A Mother's Story
Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends (3rd Edition)
Re-membering Lives: Conversations With the Dying and the Bereaved
A Season of Grief: A Comforting Companion for Difficult Days
Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World
Sheltering Thoughts about Loss and Grief
Sibling Grief: Healing After the Death of a Brother or Sister
Signals: An Inspiring Story of Life after Life
Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide
Surviving the Death of a Sibling : Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies
Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing
Talking with Angel: about Illness, Death and Survival
Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief & How to Make It Meaningful
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss
The Tender Scar: Life After the Death of a Spouse
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
Tough Transitions: Navigating Your Way Through Difficult Times
The Twelve Gifts for Healing
Understanding Your Grief: Support Group Guide
Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones
A Walk Through Grief: Crossing the Bridge Between Worlds
The Way of Transition: Embracing Life's Most Difficult Moments
Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness
What to Do When the Police Leave : A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
When Men Grieve: Why Men Grieve Differently & How You Can Help
Writing as a Way of Healing : How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives
Writing to Heal the Soul: Transforming Grief and Loss through Writing
The Year of Magical Thinking
You Don't Have to Suffer: A Handbook for Moving Beyond Life's Crises

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Books about Pet Loss
[To see information about each book listed (including price), hover your mouse over its title.]
A Little Dog Like You
Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope
Angel Pawprints: Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion
Angel Whiskers: Reflections on Loving and Losing a Feline Companion
Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us about Death, Dying and Beyond
Coping With Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet
The Daisy Sutra
For Every Cat an Angel
For Every Dog an Angel
The Final Farewell: Preparing for and Mourning the Loss of Your Pet
God's Messengers: What Animals Teach Us About the Divine
Grieving the Death of a Pet

The Human-Animal Bond and Grief
Legacies of Love, A Gentle Guide to Healing from the Loss of Your Animal Loved One
The Lost Pet Chronicles: Adventures of a K-9 Cop Turned Pet Detective
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
Maya's First Rose
My Cat Saved My Life
Not Forgotten: A Consolation for the Loss of An Animal Friend
On Angels Wings: Personal Stories About the Passing Away of Beloved Animal Companions
Rainbows And Bridges: An Animal Companion Memorial Kit
Sleeping With Angels: A Veterinarian's Sacred Bond of Animal Companionship
Three Cats, Two Dogs: One Journey through Multiple Pet Loss

When Pets Come Between Partners
When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing

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Books for Children and Those Who Love Them
[To see information about each book listed (including price), hover your mouse over its title.]
The Accident
All God's Creatures Go To Heaven
And God Cried, Too: A Kid's Book of Healing and Hope
Angel Catcher for Kids: A Journal to Help You Remember the Person Who Died
Bereaved Children and Teens : A Support Guide for Parents and Professionals
Butterflies: Talking With Children About Death and Life Eternal
The Best Cat in the World
Children And Grief: Helping Your Child Understand Death
Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages
Freckles: The Mystery of the Little White Dog in the Desert
Goodbye Mousie
Helping Children Cope With the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grownups
How Do We Tell the Children? Step-by-Step Guide for Helping Children Cope When Someone Dies

How Smudge Came
I Miss You: A First Look At Death
It Must Hurt a Lot: A Child's Book About Death
Jasper's Day
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
Lulu's Rose Colored Glasses
Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children's Lives
The Next Place
On Earth As It Is in Heaven
Sad Isn't Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing With Loss
The Saddest Time

Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers
Talking About Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Child
Talking with Angel: about Illness, Death and Survival
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
Timothy Duck
Up in Heaven
What's Heaven?
What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies?
When Children Grieve : For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving & Other Losses
When Dinosaurs Die : A Guide to Understanding Death
When Someone Dies
Where Is Heaven?: Children's Wisdom on Facing Death

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