Review: Tears to Joy

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Tears to Joy: One Man’s Journey Through Grief
Mike Tucker

As well as his role as presenter and director of the “Faith for Today” ministry, Mike Tucker has worked for many years as a pastor and chaplain, often counselling people and teaching classes on grief recovery. But everything he had taught and recommended was put to the most extreme test when Gayle—his ministry partner and wife of 40 years—died in April, 2016, just three months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Tears to Joy is partly the story of his experience of loss, including excerpts from his journal over the course of the year following Gayle’s death. But the book is also a confirmation of his previous understandings of coping with grief: “The things I had taught are true, the methods of dealing with the loss are useful, the philosophies are reliable, and recovery is indeed a possibility.”

While acknowledging that each of our experiences and circumstances of grief are unique, Tears to Joy sets out these road-tested principles and methods in short chapters. Following his own recommendations, Pastor Tucker describes how he practised deep and early grieving as the most effective way of absorbing and healing the worst of the pain.

But Tears to Joy is not only for those in the midst of grief. Most of us carry the lingering burdens of past griefs—and future losses are among life’s inevitabilities. Death and grief also come with serious questions of faith, which we all face. And the book includes a section on helping others who are struggling with grief, making this a book to read and to share.

Honest grief writing explores some of the most difficult experiences of our lives, but Pastor Tucker’s experience and reflections in Tears to Joy also point us to the possibilities of faith and hope, healing and even joy amid the realities of grief.

Tears to Joy is available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand.

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