Grief: A Dark, Sacred Time

Published 2019: Flying Horse Books

From the cover:

Grief doesn’t discriminate. It will touch all of us at some point; an uninvited guest that can’t be shown the door, that takes over our lives and changes us forever. In this gut-wrenchingly beautiful book, Darrelyn shows us how knowing the shape of grief and its consequences over time give edges and boundaries to this dark pathway, revealing that through the prickly branches and the mist, life awaits us at the edge of the forest, dressed in cloths of gold and sustained with love and warmth. 

Helping ourselves first means we gain the wisdom that grief gives us to help others on their unique journey to encounter a changed future with focus, determination, and understanding when grief comes to call. To allow someone in grief to give voice to their experiences is not just being kind. It is saving their life.

This book is a combination of the theories of grief and real life experiences that Gunzburg’s  courageous clients were wiling to share with her.

Book cover photograph: David Krasnostein.

Grief, A Dark, Sacred Time

"In the West, we still find it difficult to talk about death. This powerful and much-needed book confronts the many faces of loss head-on, and will help to initiate the deep, intelligent and nurturing conversations we need to heal and move through grief – everyone should read this."
Stephen Gawtry, Managing Editor, Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine


In this video interview with Alex Trenoweth we discuss various aspects of grief covered in the book.  


Full review by Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

‘Grief: A Dark, Sacred Time’ by Darrelyn Gunzburg discusses surviving loss and finding strength and meaning in the dire moments when we traverse the dark waters of grief. No matter our status in life, we do get hit by grief when we lose a loved one and this author looks at the nature of grief as it visits children and adults and explores its different faces and how it impacts our lives. The book answers some of the challenging questions we face: Can we deal with the loss? Can we grow through it? Can the void we feel in our hearts be filled again and how? But how do we deal with the debilitating sense of loss that haunts us when someone dies?

In language that is clear and in a compassionate tone, Darrelyn Gunzburg provides practical and astonishing answers to these questions and shows readers how they can grieve for loved ones without losing their sanity and their grip on life. I have had my share of losses in life: a father dying in an untimely way, losing my youngest brother in an accident, and losing some of the people who have been very important in my life and I felt lost during the long periods of grieving that followed the losses. I wish I had read this book at that time because it gives the reader perspective and tools to deal with the pain. ‘Grief: A Dark, Sacred Time’ is a beautiful book and it clearly shows a reader that losing someone dear isn’t the end of life but that it can open a new door for them to appreciate life in an even deeper way. Written in a confident and engaging voice, it is filled with insight and compassion; a book we should read and revisit, even before losing someone dear to us.

Snippets from Amazon:

This book brings me to my knees and I am impacted such that I am a better person and better at being with the dying and much better at living my own life to the fullest. Thank you Darrelyn Gunzburg. This is one of the best ever written and ‘I don’t say that to all the girls’.
This isn’t a book that is easily categorized. All sources are carefully cited and the definitions very clear, but this is far from being just an academic work. I found it readily accessible. The quality of the writing transcends a mere self-help manual and avoids usual platitudes.

Darrelyn Gunzburg uses myth and legend to help us discover the truth behind our hopes and fears surrounding death. This clever use of metaphor illustrates beautifully how we can learn and grow in our understanding of ourselves, our lives and inevitable mortality.


Gunzburg, Darrelyn. ‘Grief: A Dark, Sacred Time.’ Watkins Mind Body Spirit 59, no. Autumn (2019): 34-35.

This article appears in Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine.

Mind Body Spirit cover
Grief article

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