BIG Ian Donaghy is not usually short on words. A singer, a show host, a charity champion, now working his magic in the bewildering world of dementia, he is a man of action, but like the rest of us, he needs quiet moments of reflection.

And like the rest of us too, he can be floored by a death, or the prospect of a death, and finding the words to deal with it, to cope, to move on, to face the world when we hit the barrier grief.

I began reading The Missing Peace before Christmas; within weeks, I was in a Harrogate church attending a joint funeral for my aunt and uncle, who had died within days of each other in such freakish circumstances. Two coffins were brought in to two separate pieces of music, but side by side you knew they were inseparable now forever.

Gazette & Herald:

Stephen Peacock and Chelsea Harrison of Peacock's Hair, in Market Square, Heslington, with Ian Donaghy's book The Missing Peace. "People often go to hairdressers to talk, and it's so much more than asking if you are going out tonight or have you been on your holidays," says Donaghy. "They are the high street's listeners and counsellors who just happen to do your hair."
The Missing Peace is also available at Innovations, Boroughbridge Road, and Cube, on Goodramgate, York.

Faith can play a part in trying to make sense of it all, and so can Ian's book, with its multitude of stories of loss and grief and the next step. What began as five months' research turned into 30, but well worth it, because the resulting 200 pages are full of resonance, contemplation, comfort, counsel, warmth, even humour, as Donaghy addresses the complexities of family, funerals, excluding children from the grieving process and the use of social media.

"It’s not a morose bereavement book. It won’t tell you how you should be feeling. It is a book about how to be a better friend when your friends lose someone," says Donaghy.

Experience usually helps you to deal with matters when they happen over and again, but death doesn't work like that; we can feel ill prepared time after time. Fearful of saying the wrong thing, we can't find the right phrase, but this is where The Missing Peace can play a role with its acts of kindness, unexpected suggestions and clear thinking that make it a book to give to a friend as well as read yourself.

Gazette & Herald:

One of the illustrations in The Missing Peace

Compact, illustrated with pen and ink drawings, and divided into chapters with songs titles for headings, each book comes with a yellow highlighter pen with the message "It's not just me then...".

Donaghy invites the reader to mark the passages that hit home, that make a connection, that tell your story too, and he closes the book with six blank pages for your thoughts, under the title My Way "because there is no right or wrong way through this, only right for you," says Donaghy. A noted conversationalist himself, his book aims to start conversations among family and friends.

Priced at £9.99, The Missing Peace is already on its second print run, available on Amazon and at Browns department store in York, and maybe at a friend's house by now too.