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Throughout life we undergo many changes in our circumstances, beginnings and endings of relationships, gains and losses. This book highlights the emotional turmoil which, to a greater or lesser extent, accompanies these changes. It considers the nature of the anxieties aroused by a new situation and the ending of a previous state at various stages in life. Endings and beginnings are shown to be closely related, for every new situation entered into, more often than not, involves having to let go of some of the advantages of the previous one as well as losing what is familiar and facing fear of the unknown. The author shows how all these aspects of change evoke primitive anxieties, stemming from our earliest experiences of coming into this world. While beginning life outside holds the promise of a wider, more enriching existence it involves the loss of the known, relative safety of life inside mother's body. Moreover, the human newborn is at first utterly helpless, totally dependent on others to keep him alive. It leaves him terrified of being abandoned and left to die. The loss of what is familiar, the fear of the unknown as well as the fear of being unable to manage on our own remain in the depth of our psyche throughout life and are re-evoked at times of life-changing events and to some extent by any ending and beginning. The book stresses the importance of examining the way these anxieties are dealt with by different individuals and those who look after them and what promotes or undermines mental, emotional and spiritual growth.Freud, as well as stressing the importance of the "work of mourning" when someone we love and/or depend on dies, drew attention to the fact that mourning occurs in other situations, such as losing one's country, or an ideal. The author describes how bereavement affects young children, adolescents, young and old people. She also looks at all the ordinary endings in life such as the separation from mother when the child begins to go to nursery, leaving home to go to college, losing one's place of work at retirement, losing one's youth. She stresses how important it is to prepare and work through these and other losses for it is only if we continue to value and internalise the good aspects of the experiences we have had - rather than remain angry about what we have lost - that we are able to internalise and carry them within our heart and mind to sustain us through life, and remain open to appreciate the preciousness of living in the present.