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Love in the Present Tense

Tags: Mental Health, Nursing, Social Work

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Love in the Present Tense

A Bereaved Mum's Story

AUTHOR : By Nina Praske

ISBN : 9781913453534

Edition No : 1

Publication : Nov 19, 2020

Extent : 320 pgs

ISBN : 9781913453541

Edition No : 1

Publication : Nov 19, 2020

Extent : 320 pgs

ISBN : 9781913453558

Edition No : 1

Publication : Nov 19, 2020

Extent : 320 pgs

ISBN : 9781913453565

Edition No : 1

Publication : Nov 19, 2020

Extent : 320 pgs


A celebration of a life, a story of a death, but most importantly an exploration of grief and loss relevant to all those in a position to make that experience more bearable.

This book is essential reading for anyone working or preparing to work with young adults and others facing terminal illness, and their families. It is written by a bereaved mother of a 25 year-old son treated unsuccessfully for cancer. Heartbreakingly honest, Nina draws on relevant theory, research and narrative texts as well as personal reflections. She considers what might have made the hideous journey through treatment, dying and bereavement easier to bear. 


This is a moving and memorable story for all of us, but there are also learning points throughout for medics and medical policy makers specifically and the health and social care professions more generally. Students and experienced nurses, doctors, counsellors, clerics and others will benefit from deepening their understanding in order to work more effectively with people facing the unthinkable.       




  1. Not a Misery Memoir
  2. Reminiscences
  3. Calm Before the Storm
  4. Applied Grief and Bereavement Theory
  5. Denial as a Defence
  6. Treatment: The Skeleton
  7. Not Waving but Drowning
  8. Death
  9. God in the Storm
  10. Our Life Raft
  11. Margaret’s speech
  12. Life After the Flood
  13. Ghost, Dreams and Reminders
  14. Survivors
  15. Avoidance
  16. Getting on with It
  17. An Imagined Life

Appendix 1: Sources of further support

Appendix 2: Critical reflections

Appendix 3: A summary of learning points for professionals



Nina Praske is a Professor at a UK University. Her greatest achievement is being the mother of three fantastic adult children born close together in under two years.  Sadly, one of her sons, James, died of cancer at the age of 25. She continues to love all her children in the present tense and is determined to hang on to her compassion, live a good life and continue to make a decent contribution to the world. With this in mind Nina has written this book to help healthcare professionals and others do the best they possibly can for families facing up to the premature death of a loved one. 

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Your Reviews on this book

"This is not a misery memoir, and it is not a self-help guide. It is a book about keeping going, in the context of the total awfulness of the death of a child. I wish nobody else might need to read it, but I know they will. I am so glad it is now available."

Tom Shakespeare, Professor of Disability Research, LSHTM

“This is a powerful, devastating, funny and kick ass account of the death of a beautiful, beyond loved son and the viscerally intense grief of his mother…. There is no filter here and among the sadness and tears are laugh out loud moments and a cast that includes parakeets, ghosts and an imaginary dog called Frank. Through ‘Love in the Present’ Tense Nina has produced a gift for other families and those who support them. For anyone really who cares.”

Dr Sara Ryan, University of Oxford

“Nina Praske has shared her powerful story to help others learn from her experiences and support a world in which people’s experiences of death, dying and loss help shape the work of professionals involved in it, for the better.”

Jenny Fogarty, Lead for St Christophers CARE

"This remarkable book tells a difficult story with a grace and a hope that is powerful. It also grabs our attention and makes us think. The questions and exploration of ideas pulls us in and makes us think and navigate difficult questions in a way that helps us love and grow. This is a book for so many who are prepared to be challenged and want to live in the now. The style, depth and generous spirit of the book invites us to travel deep… and every bit of that journey is worthwhile; not easy, not simplistic but life in all its fullness."


Bruce Kinsey, Chaplain/Wellbeing and Welfare Officer, Balliol College, Oxford

Writing to make us feel but also to make us think...

Christina Healey Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further and Higher Education
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