Vivid Publishing - Book Publishers Australia

The Gallery of Loss

Valerie G. Derry

Self-help options for people in grief

For those who lose loved ones to diseases like cancer or to accidents and other sudden bereavement, there is a need for self-help and deep thought. We may not always have access to others for support – it’s wonderful if you do, but even the closest family members or health professionals can’t be available to you twenty-four seven.

Dealing with death is a frustrating and exhausting experience. In January 2018, my sons lost their father to cirrhosis of the liver. A year later, my younger son was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) which took his life and another year on, my eldest sister is battling stage IV breast cancer. I can safely say that I am familiar with the face of death.

This is a personal account of things that can happen, things that might happen and things that will happen in the fight for life that you undertake on behalf of a loved one who can’t battle for themselves. It is not aimed at helping people who lose someone suddenly – that terrible shock is an experience possibly needing some different tactics to these – but some of the processes here might be of help. I hope that in reading this self-help guide, the personal accounts here can help some of you who are struggling with events and people that may seem surreal. Writing down our experiences is therapy in itself and even if you don’t like expressing your feelings in words, doing so can bring healing and a measure of peace.


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This special ebook edition is offered by the author at no cost to the reader. Click on the options to the right to download to your favourite ebook platform.


About the Author


V.G. Derry is a retired English teacher who has published a variety of poems in Australian magazines since the nineteen nineties and joined the Fellowship of Australian Writers two years ago. She spent forty years teaching in comprehensive schools in Sydney and now lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales. The death of her younger son from cancer in 2019 prompted her to write about that experience from a personal but pragmatic perspective. The author does not identify with a specific religion, and often draws on a wide spectrum of philosophical and cultural insights as well as some modern technological concepts.


Book Reviews

“I am impressed by the way the author weaves practical advice with personal experience. I can easily imagine these chapters—as well as the poems and images—being a comfort to readers. The author has handled this challenging material with clarity and sensitivity…So often writing that deals with big topics (grief, heartbreak, mental illness, love) is vague and therefore not very useful in the end. These chapters are useful. I genuinely looked forward to spending time with this compelling, important manuscript.”
Erica, Black Lawrence Press

"This book was written from the heart by an author who states that she is “well acquainted with death.” She opens by suggesting the reader consider three options: Viewing each day as a lifetime. That of planning steps like a landscape gardener, or letting it happen all by itself. She gives an example of guided meditation as beneficial to both the one who is doing the caring and the one being cared for and discusses their need to feel loved.
The author does not shy away from religious belief which gives solace to some but not all. For those whose spiritual needs are not met by religion, she gives some alternatives to lighten dark days. The book is illustrated throughout with the author’s pixel-pen drawings and poems. It is free to all and may be useful to those whose life journey requires them to walk awhile with a loved one who is dying."
– Mei-Ling Venning (Fellowship of Australian writers Wyong branch)

"I was warned not to try and read “Gallery of Loss" in one sitting. It was too heart breaking, too realistic. I knew the author. We had both been English teachers in the school system and we both wrote poetry, both attended the same writing group. So I sat with my cup of tea and tissues at the ready, and finished this 45 page booklet in about an hour, in one sitting, re reading certain sections. 
What a pleasant surprise to find “Gallery of Loss” is uplifting while simultaneously full of practical advice for those caught in the nightmare of watching a loved-one die in hospital. Simple tips like look for the humour in the long hospital day, were put in gentle, clear language. Has a young doctor been confounded by a bed pan or is an elderly patient singing a love song to a nurse. Practice mindfulness and meditation, says the author, and get simple enjoyment wherever it can be found and it is there even in the sombre hospital ward.
Don’t be afraid to question professionals looking after your loved one, even pointing out their mistakes, if you think one has been made. This is your loved one, after all, not a character in a piece of fiction and we are all human and prone to error.
My favourite part of the booklet is the lovely poem written after her son's death. Titled “Even in winter,” it describes the distraught mother forgetting to put shoes on her son in his coffin but the son, looking down from heaven, is happy to be bare footed as he runs through the meadows and fields in the sunny afterlife."
– Gabrielle Worrall O.A.M.








The Gallery of Loss by Valerie G. Derry
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ISBN: 978-1-922788-27-6
Format:ebook & audio narrated edition
Extent: 64 pages
Publisher: Vivid Publishing
Category: Self Help - Grief & Bereavement
Distribution: Contact Vivid