Sandra Schocket

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My Life Closed Twice:
Surviving a Double Loss

The remarkable story of one woman’s journey after unspeakable loss is told with honesty, poignancy and hope. The author provides both emotional reassurance and practical advice, not just for widows and bereaved parents, but for anyone seeking the courage to explore new territories in life.

Click on the title above to read excerpts and reviews.

PRAISE FOR MY LIFE CLOSED TWICE: Five Stars: A Must Read for All Who Have Experienced Loss. July 2003

One of the most important lessons Schocket has for us is that the heart and psyche have their own timetable for grieving.

As Schocket takes us hour by hour through the first days of her grief – she describes actions and emotions that all of us have gone through. Yet there’s something incredibly comforting in making the journey in one’s armchair.

There are plenty of books on grieving but I know of no other author who narrates in the first person the shock, the ordinary compulsions like needing to have the living room dusted before guests arrive from the cemetery, and the terrible loneliness, as vividly and plainly as Schocket does.

My Life Closed Twice is inspirational, yet grounded in everyday experience; honest, yet compassionate. It speaks to us from the depths of grief but does not leave us there.


Witticism is sprinkled through her writing about everyday life, even in as mundane a tale as sending her husband to pick up tuna at the grocery.

CITY PAPER Toledo, OH Interview with the author.

What is the message of My Life Closed Twice?
“It’s not a sad book. The beginning is sad but if you stick with it, you will find it rewarding. I think it says something new about loss. A woman told me it helped her cope with her divorce. There’s a message in it – you may not be mourning a person, you may have lost your job – and you can learn from this.”

Reader in California

I was so profoundly moved by your book, the way you managed to take me into the epicenter of your grief and despair without either hopelessness or helplessness. Your book touched me because it offered so many practical pieces of advice. In many of the seemingly ordinary aspects of our lives, I suddenly saw the elements I treasure most: my young daughter bounding through the door after school right after I finished your book, moved me to tears. I am currently pursuing a new career. Your book completely reinforced my feelings that even at this stage in life, I can embrace change.

The Compassionate Friends: Rockland County Chapter Newsletter

The author refrains from preaching and tells her story as she experienced it. Many of us will readily identify with the feelings of the early stages of grief, which she expresses with remarkable honesty and insight. Although her methods of coping may not be for everyone, she helps us understand that it is possible for someone with multiple losses to climb out of the abyss of darkness and learn to live again.

M. Seifert, Financial Consultant, Pennsylvania

There is very little in grief literature on double loss. Ms. Schocket's book is an important and essential contribution. It is a "must" read for anyone who seeks a path to a meaningful life without their loved one.

Having lost my own 36 year old son, I felt that someone had taken me by the hand and put a comforting arm around my shoulder after reading "My Life Closed Twice."
Life goes on, albeit differently. Ms. Schocket's book shows us how and somehow puts it all in perspective.

F. Giordano, Former Head Librarian, New York

Over and above the poignant and heart-rending story of her losses and the ongoing challenge of managing grief, the author rendered the social history of her generation (and mine) accurately and engagingly.

Maggie Strong, author of MAINSTAY: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill

Subconsciously, a wife figures her husband may die before her, but hardly in his fifties. A mother expects, and certainly hopes, to die before her child. So what happens to a woman who without warning loses her husband on a Friday and her son the next day? Can she even stand up? Does her heart darken for good? Will she distrust the entire world? Does she want to die? And while we’re at it – where did her husband put the will? All these questions are answered in Sandra Schocket’s stunning – in both senses – memoir My Life Closed Twice . Rapt to the end, I came upon a sentence that continues to resonate in me: “If I live out my statistically granted 78 years, I see my life dividing into three segments that will resemble a bell curve - 23 years single, 34 years married, 21 years widowed.”
This is what it is to be grown up. It is reality. It is grace.

Jan Gifford, former Chapter Leader, The Compassionate Friends
The remarkable story of one woman's journey after unspeakable loss is told with honesty, poignancy and hope. The author provides both emotional reassurance and practical advice, not just for widows and bereaved parents, but for anyone seeking the courage to explore new territories in life.

Hal Hager, President, Hal Hager & Associates
My Life Closed Twice is one of the most moving and most heartening memoirs of grief and recovery that I have read. With scalpel-sharp honesty and granite courage, Sandra Schocket offers us a singular testimony of something more than survival. Her account is one of unimaginable, sudden loss and her slow but steadfast journey through heartbreak and despair––"so huge, so hopeless"––to triumph. We can all learn something from her courageous book . . . especially about our shared capacity for love, remembrance, and renewal.
New Jersey Jewish News – Metrowest
Having lived through almost anyone’s worst nightmare – losing both a husband and grown son with 24 hours, Sandra Schocket turned her grief into a detailed and poignant memoir so that others may gain strength and insight from her tragic experience.

Additional reader comments:

As the mother of a daughter who died at 21, and a wife whose marriage ended not by death but by divorce, I found a lot of comfort and hope in this book. There are no easy answers and we all are different but the author shows us what everybody finds out in time: that we do not know our inner strengths until they are tested and then we surprise even ourselves.

Sandra Schocket's memoir brings the reader to the heart of a devastating grief. The people in her life are very well-drawn, and we come to know them and appreciate them, and ultimately grieve her loss. Yet her story is one of resilience. A very moving and well-written book.

My Life Closed Twice:
Surviving a Double Loss

An inspirational story of one woman’s journey following the sudden deaths of her husband and son.

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