Learning to Walk Alone–A Review

Ingrid Trobisch, Learning to Walk Alone, Personal Reflections on a Time of Grief. (Kehl, West Germanyl: Editions Trobisch, 1987) 113 pages.

“Walter and Ingrid Trobisch have been known throughout the world for their pioneering efforts in Christian family counseling. Together they wrote and edited one another’ss books and present family life seminars to thousands of couples.” Back cover.

Their books have helped millions to better their lives.  Their partnership came to an end in 1978 when Walter died of a heart attack at age fifty-five.”Life will never be the same. It was more than an amputation–losing an arm or a leg. I feel as if someone has taken an axe and split me from head to toe.” )25)

Ingrid Trobisch records her grief journey and the resetting of her life as a widow. She drew upon the support of her close friends, her five children, the counsel of pastors who knew her, and her strong faith in Christ. She stated, “A nurturing and supportive social network was absolutely essential for me at this stage of my grief.” (45).

She was glad her doctors viewed grief as therapeutic and did not sedate her. (37) She felt when she offered her emptiness to Christ, he gave himself to her. (55-56)

She felt alone, having lost Walter     “I’ve lost myself? I no longer have an identity as the wife of Walter Trobgrsch, not even as the mother of his children. Who am I?” (64) “I realized that I had no one anymore for whom I was number one. I shared my pain with Katrine. She wisely reminded me that I must again revert to the time of adolescence and learn anew the secret of living with unfulfilled desires” (80)

She stated, “One is unprotected and vulnerable, until a new strength is born, the strength to love and to be vulnerable. It is the strength ‘to be’ and not simply ‘to need.'” (92) She learned “that we don’t honor the dead by dying with them.” (93)

“It is possible to live without sexual activity, but it is not possible to live without affection. Nor is it possible to live without the affirmation of others.” (94) “I wonder if young people know how their parents long for a word of affirmation or even thanks from their children. (105).

The book has value for those who have lost their mate, children who have lost one of their parents, and couples who someday will walk alone. It is well-written and inspiring.

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