Wisdom of Grief


“An absolute must for anyone who has suffered significant losses in their life. I was mesmerized by this book. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. I’ve gone back to it many times and find new takeaways each time. The vulnerability with which it is written is so compelling and appreciated. I aspire to face the losses in my life with the same grace and positivity as Leslie.” Sarah H

“A book of enduring impact and insight. A brave, beautiful, poignant, engrossing guide. Palumbo has written a book of enduring impact and given her readers the gift of insight. There is bravery, poetry, humor and true wisdom in her tenderly wrought pages. Thank you.” SB

“I really enjoyed reading this book. I’ve had many losses in my life. Just recently I lost my brother to suicide and still feeling the devastation of his loss. Leslie’s words touched my heart greatly and I am thankful to her for sharing her story about her mom. She gave me hope that I can get through my loss! I would highly recommend this book if you have had any kind of loss or know someone who is grieving.” Mary M

“This book is about excavating the positive aspects of grieving. It is based on the premise that the pain of grief is always accompanied by gifts that put us in touch with the best and most profound aspects of our humanity. Through the author’s unflinchingly honest but uplifting ability to gain perspective on her own deep suffering in the wake of her mother’s suicide, we are compassionately guided to apply mindful practices to our own lives and losses.” RP


A hybrid memoir/self-help book that aims to contextualize grief as a valuable learning experience.

One crisp autumn day, Palumbo’s mother walked out of her house to the end of the dock and shot herself. Through a graceful navigation of this violent loss, Palumbo, a social worker, finds that the grieving process has provided her several “gifts,” from feeling connected to the present moment to being grateful for her own life. “Think of this as a spiritual self-help book for the bereaved,” she writes. Well-versed in meditation and mindfulness, Palumbo sets up each chapter to share her experience, explain the gift this phase of her grief provided, and offer an exercise in “contemplation.” The journey of her grieving process following her mother’s suicide is rooted in beautiful imagery and generous epiphanies. Looking at the last photo taken of her mother, Palumbo focuses on the bright color she’s wearing despite her depression: “The fuschia (sic) shirt seems like her last bold effort to fly in the face of the blackness she felt inside.” This compassion informs Palumbo’s stunning exploration of how loss can open us to new perspectives. The gift interpreted for each experience may be a little hard to swallow for readers freshly grieving. Bolded and precise, these gifts include connecting to nature, bonding to humanity and allowing one to contemplate the mystery of death. Though a unique interpretation of grief, this method could be a leap for readers not in the same place as Palumbo—i.e., spiritually sound, clinically trained and supported by a loving family. The wisdom of grief might be more present in the exceptional grace and honesty of Palumbo’s personal story, and readers may wish for more memoir and less self-help, although Palumbo’s epiphanies do carry over into the explanations of grief’s relevant gifts. The book’s conclusion offers a list of those gifts as well as “Ten Ways to Honor Grief,” both of which seem more easily digested in this abbreviated form. The meditation exercises are varied but always accessible, even for those with no experience with meditation. In particular, readers who have lost a loved one to suicide may find Palumbo’s nuanced story helpful.

A fascinating case study of grief and mindfulness.

~ Kirkus Review