eleanor oliphant join us on facebook
Search our site
Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell Read the opening extract of the brand new Bernard Cornwell book before its publication on 19/10/2017

An Adventure in Grief by Catherine De Courcy

An Adventure in Grief

RRP £3.99

Notify me
when in stock

As soon as this book is back in stock we will send you an email.


An Adventure in Grief by Catherine De Courcy

AN ADVENTURE IN GRIEF: THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF ONE WOMAN'S JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF FOLLOWING HER HUSBAND'S SUICIDE. 'I was making dinner when John went out to the barn to shoot himself'. John Johnson was a Vietnam veteran devoured by post-traumatic stress. Eventually he found it impossible to go on living. Following his violent suicide his wife Catherine was faced with an overwhelming grief. Having bravely attempted to battle grief before after the death of her much-loved brother, this time Catherine decided she was going to take it on headfirst. Giving herself a two-year period to deal with the incredible and traumatic effects of her beloved's death she deliberately faced up to grief and allowed it to run its course. Using a variety of therapies, alternative healing, lots of old movies and a sacrosanct permission to deeply feel everything she was undergoing she fought her way through the darkest spell of her life and safely out the other side. Catherine and John had been together for fifteen years when John, suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the effects of his time fighting during the Vietnam War, took his own life. John was a larger-than-life figure, an English runaway from a brutal childhood of poverty and alcoholism and an Australian Army Officer. John and Catherine were living in the wilds of the Australian Outback when the suicide took place. After this heartbreaking event Catherine was faced with overwhelming grief and left emotionally battered. Having dodged grief once before, she chose to confront her anguish and everything it threw at her, head on. Using tools such as good food, healing therapies and professional counsellors Catherine treated recovery as a tough adventure which brought her into the depths of sadness and loneliness. In time the darkness and despair turned to light as she came to experience extraordinary peace of mind and the joys of living despite the cruel death of the man she loved. Unflinchingly honest and without self-pity, Catherine looks at the hidden aspects of grief and how to manage the strange and unsettling challenges the loss of a loved one provokes. She also portrays with sympathy and candour the devastating impact of post-traumatic stress on a Vietnam veteran long after the war. This is a deeply moving and inspiring story of one person's journey through grief. This powerful memoir and unflinchingly frank account of the process of recovery through grief is both inspiring and enlightening. The book also examines in detail John's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the horrific manifestations of it at the heart of his decision to end his own life, and how his wife managed to come through the darkest time possible and re-emerge into the world stronger than ever.


'The story of [Catherine's] adventure in grief is inspiring in its honesty, determination and most of all its deep love and acceptance of the man she married - and lost'
The Irish Times

About the Author

Catherine de Courcy grew up in Dublin and graduated in history from UCD in 1979. She became a professional librarian and worked in libraries in Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Australia. She travelled the Australian outback with her husband, John, and wrote several guide books. When working in the library of the National Gallery of Ireland in the early 1980s, Catherine began a project to archive and document the early history of the Gallery. Contributing to the Gallery's active publishing programme at the time convinced her that writing was something she was keen to pursue. In 1985, her book Foundation of the National Gallery of Ireland was published and that same year another project, also commissioned by the Gallery was issued, Fifty views of Ireland. In 1985 she travelled to Papua New Guinea and worked in the University of Papua New Guinea Library, working on the special New Guinea library collection. In 1987 she moved to Australia where she continued to work in the library profession in the National Gallery library, a College library and then the State Library in Melbourne. Catherine continued writing throughout her time in Australia, publishing a range of travel books. In the nineties she became involved in writing about zoos and published Zoos of Australia (commissioned by the Australia Post) , The Zoo Story: The Animals, The History, The People (Penguin) and Zoological Gardens of Australia (commissioned by CRC Press for an international history of zoos). She developed a reputation as one of the foremost experts on Australian zoological history and continued to publish in that area over the next decade. Her passion for these subjects, Zoological History and the Australian Outback, became a way for Catherine to further integrate herself into her new homeland and the country and familiarize herself with the incredible landscapes she was surrounded by. Catherine met her husband John, a Vietnam War Veteran, in 1986 and together they wrote Australian travel guides including Desert Tracks: Exploring Australia's Deserts by Car and River Tracks: Exploring Australia's Rivers by Car. In 2000 Catherine's husband John, who had been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for many years following the Vietnam War, took his own life and life as she knew it stopped entirely for her. However, faced with this overwhelming grief Catherine took on the greatest challenge of her life, to face this tragedy head on and come through it and out the other side. Eventually she arrived at a deeper sense of self, which has reinforced the joys of living despite the tragic death of the man she loved. After leaving the library profession in 2003, several years after John's death, Catherine returned to Ireland. Here research and writing became the focus of her professional life and she now writes full-time. Catherine is currently writing a history of Dublin Zoo, scheduled for publication in September 2009 by The Collins Press.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

31st January 2009


Catherine De Courcy

More books by Catherine De Courcy
Author 'Like for Like'


The Collins Press


200 pages


Coping with death & bereavement



Their sending me my first book to review 18 months ago re-awakened my fondness for reading, since then I have purchased some real gems.

Barry Griffiths

Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

Insightful reader reviews and unbiased recommendations. I don't know how I chose books before Lovereading! An essential for all book lovers.

Sarah Harper

It's information about new books so, for a book lover like me, what's not to like!

Joan Hill

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis