Augusta minister releases 'Guide for Grief'

The author of

The author of "Guide for Grief," Roger Murchison, has conducted more than 500 funerals over his 20-plus years. (WRDW-TV / Sept. 23, 2011)

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- An Augusta pastor has come out with a new book on a subject that eventually touches us all. Rodger Murchison
has just released his first book, "Guide for Grief."

As an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Augusta, Murchison has conducted more than 500 funerals over his 20-plus years. He had two more just last week. He also conducts Grief Ministry Workshops twice a year.

"Grief is like breathing air and drinking water," he said. "If you live, you grieve. If you don't deal with grief, grief will deal with you. So the book tries to say how do you handle, how do you deal with loss and grief in life."

Murchison says grief is very personal and differs from person to person. It typically comes in stages that include shock and denial, anger, depression and an effort to bargain with God before finally accepting it.

"That doesn't mean its over, but you accept the fact you're grieving," he said. "Accept the fact that life is not like it was and I've got to decide how do I re-orient life? How do I re-frame life and move on?"

The book itself is framed around 10 questions people have asked the First Baptist minister over the years. Predictable questions like: Why did my loved one die? Where are they? How long will I grieve? What about children who mourn and mourning children? Can any good come from all this loss?

In his "Guide for Grief," Murchison took 10 basic questions and tried to answer them through scripture and prayer. He says the book is aimed primarily at two groups: the survivors and the caregivers.

Caregivers would include those who are trying to help people who are grieving.

"Ministers, funeral home directors, chaplains, hospital professionals or anyone who is walking beside others who are grieving," he said. "This book has techniques and ideas and suggestions to help you in the grief process."

But even after years and years of experience, the book itself is less than 100 pages. Some of the chapters are less than four pages long. That's by design.

"People who are grieving, one of the issues they have is concentration. They can't think a long time with one thought," Murchison said. "So the book is saying, 'Think with me for three or four pages about this issue and then put it down. And then pick it up again when you're stronger.'"

There's no set time on how long you should grieve. Sometimes you have time to prepare, sometimes you don't. It can last for years.

"Timing is very important," he said. "I quote Ecclesiastes. There's a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die, a time to dance and a time to mourn and each person does that in their own way."

In the end, grief is something that eventually affects us all.

"Grief is not the enemy. We grieve every day, usually for something -- either a mini grief or many griefs," he said. "We grieve all the time. The issue isn't how do you get rid of grief -- the issue is how do you deal with it, because if you don't deal with grief, grief will deal with you."

The "Guide for Grief" also deals with the different kinds of grief that come with different kinds of death. You can order a copy on Amazon or buy one directly from First Baptist Church of Augusta.

You can hear the author talk about the book today on News 12 First at 5 and News 12 at 6 o'clock.


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