Praise for Riding Through Grief . . .

“Barbara Manger has written a moving, poetic story of a mother’s efforts to come to terms with an unimaginable loss and the sorrow it brings. A “how to” book of the highest order, Riding Through Grief documents Manger’s journey, in which she is upheld by her love for her son. The book offers a portrait of a family that although shaken by grief is also inspired by a son’s joy in living, and ultimately finds a way to move forward.”

—Jane Mandel, PhD, JD

Riding Through Grief chronicles the universal emotions families experience when forced to deal with tragedy. The ability of Barbara Manger to reach into herself and examine the intense love she had for her son, and the guilt, sadness, and emptiness she experienced following his loss, is inspiring. The memories she shares in this wonderful tribute are incredibly powerful, and it is clear they have helped sustain her. Perhaps this is a book we should each try to write, at least in our minds, about those we love and admire, even if we don’t have Ms. Manger’s poetic skills or charm. Such a process could be of particular benefit to those who have had to deal with the loss of a child, but could also serve to help us all better appreciate the loved ones we are fortunate enough to still have in our lives.”

—Kenneth I. Robbins, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Riding Through Grief is a sorrowful yet joyful celebration of a young man’s life. Having lost our daughter in a tragic accident, I know firsthand that Barbara tells it like it is. Her story is inspirational!”

—Mardi James, bereaved mother

“Riding Through Grief offers hope and helpful insight to others trying to find their way through the loss of a loved one. It will be a valuable resource for family members and friends who accompany these individuals on their journeys, as well as for mental health and other health care professionals seeking more effective ways to help people experiencing such a loss. . . . It is an important contribution to the available literature dealing with the parental loss of a child.”

—From the Foreword by Julia Hinkle Penn, MD

“Barbara Manger’s Riding Through Grief is an exceptional book that tells the poignant story of a family’s descent into deep grief and its determined journey toward a new and healing life. Manger’s narrative chronicles the life of her son Matt—an athlete, a gifted professional chef, a husband—who dies in a Chicago bicycle race at the age of twenty-nine. It encompasses and embraces all those little, everyday moments that make family life so touching and meaningful, so funny and frustrating. It also chronicles a family’s slow, grudging transformation of a tragedy into a catalyst for living a meaningful life. It is, perhaps, a story only a mother could tell. Finally, Riding Through Grief is not only a healing guide into an unexpected, unanticipated future, but also a confirmation that any of us can get there—should we ultimately need to.”

—Ephraim Frankel, PhD, Marriage & Family Therapist

“Barbara Manger enjoys riding her bike on country roads, and riding with her twenty-nine-year-old son, Matt, was special. Sadly, her life changed forever as she faced the heartbreaking news that Matt had been struck down by an SUV while riding in a Chicago bike race. In the aftermath of this devastating time in Barbara’s life, and amidst her grief and mourning, she has been remarkably creative and brave as she continues to face the challenges of daily life. And now, whether she is sad or happy, she still continues to ride her bike whenever she can. Barbara’s story is one that will appeal to many people young and old.”

—Lee Raffel, MSW, LCSW, LMFT, Author, I Hate Conflict! Seven Steps to Resolving Differences with Anyone in Your Life

“I highly recommend Riding Through Grief for all seeking a path out of the throes of grief. Painfully honest, Barbara Manger spares us little as we experience the deep hurt in her heart. But we also share in the glimmers of hope and even happiness that gradually seep back into her life.”

—Kathleen Huston Raab, Former City Librarian, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Most of us do not talk freely about overwhelming grief. We find ourselves without the vocabulary necessary to adequately describe it and its powerful hold over us. Yet, in Riding Through Grief, Barbara Manger speaks out bravely about how her family found a way to not only respect the power of grief, but also begin life again. Barbara’s book is a painting in prose that everyone should read.”

—Janice Rhodes, JD

“In Riding through Grief Barbara Manger takes us on her very personal journey through every parent’s worst nightmare—the loss of a child. The fact that Manger is smart, talented, loved, and surrounded by friends cannot dissolve the pain of losing Matt, her sunny, kind, creative, twenty-nine-year-old son.  Manger’s ability to tell stories gives us picture after picture of her warmest memories of Matt, the aftermath of his terrible accident, and her creative efforts to memorialize him for herself and others. Slowly, Barbara moves forward; as she shares her incremental return to life, she gives us inspiration in the face of events bigger than we are, and a lesson in empathizing with those around us.”

—Lynne Miller, MA, MEd, Cambridge, Massachusetts

“It is unusual for a book to elicit an emotional response from me, but Barbara Manger’s Riding Through Grief certainly did. I found myself in four worlds: experiencing the actual events, “getting to know” Matt, trying to relate to Manger’s emotional crisis, and reflecting on the deaths of loved ones in my past and the frightening reality that what happened to Matt could happen to someone near and dear to me. One positive—though perhaps not intended—result of the book is that it may help those who will someday undergo an experience such as Manger’s deal with their loss.”

—Doug Welker, North Country Trail worker and supporter, Pelkie, Michigan