Posted April 17, 2014 by Amy in Books

Living Without the One You Cannot Live Without (Book) Review


Hope and Healing After Loss

“There is a constant presence of his absence…” What powerful words they are – and for anyone who has ever lost someone close to them, they are the gift of someone finally being able to put into words what it is to lose a part of you. Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D. authors Living Without the One You Cannot Live Without with grace and realism, putting into simple, heart wrenching words the entire process of her grief.

As the book begins, we are with Natasha she and her husband learn that the terrible news that he has cancer. We come along as they wait at the hospital, go through the futile and often dehumanizing treatments. We come along, because Natasha has laid it out for us, sparing no emotional detail. Using a sort of stream of consciousness poetry style, Josefowitz shares the thoughts going through her head as they meet every challenge head on, always with the hope that this is something they can beat – together.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. And so, readers also come along as her husband enters hospice care, and as she loses him even before he is gone to the powerful medications that take away his pain for the terrible price of his consciousness. And then, there is a funeral to be dealt with, his personal effects to be distributed, and all the little details to be taken care of. Like so many others, Josefowitz then had to learn to live without him – arguably the most difficult part of the process.

After thirty-five years as a couple, how does one learn to be an individual once more? After sharing a home, a family, a life, how does one handle suddenly having no one to confide in? After decades of sharing a bed, how does one learn to sleep alone? And when so many loved ones want so badly for you to get better, how does one deal with the fact they are not? With simple and succinct verses, Living Without the One You Cannot Live Without takes readers through two years of the grief process. And it is all the more powerful for the fact that it does it in such a way that readers feel as though they’ve stepped right into the author’s innermost thoughts, exposed as they slowly – ever so slowly – heal.

Living Without the One You Cannot Live Without isn’t a self-help book. It isn’t a promise to “fix” something that truly cannot be fixed. What it is a ticket to ride along with Natasha Josefowitz as she worked through her personal journey of grief, from the startling beginning to the light at the end of the tunnel as life slowly takes on meaning once more. It’s a powerful book, simply because it doesn’t preach or instruct. It’s a great choice for readers looking for understanding and hope in their time of loss.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)