Sunday, March 14, 2010

Many Grief Books Available

Books offer comfort, and many times the right words, to many who grieve the loss of a child. Until the early 1990’s there was not much available, but recently, many good books have been published. These are a few of the wide variety that are available in addition to my own.

No Time For Goodbyes by Janice Lord was the first book I received and read. This book is about coping with sorrow, anger and injustice after a tragic death. In my case it was a sudden car accident. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recommends this book and since a friend of mine was one of the state directors at the time, she literally rushed it over to me. As I read it, I felt I could identify with many aspects of the book and would underline, star and circle particular passages that I wanted to come back to and resembled my feelings exactly. Most of all, it made me feel not so alone in my grief, just knowing that others felt the same as I did. It became my grief group with its practical information about loss and grief. As one person said, “It puts into words the heartbreak and utter devastation we feel when a loved one has been suddenly taken from us in death.”

The Bereaved Parent by Harriet Schiff finally brought child grief into the spotlight. Hiding your grief under the table was how you dealt with it until then. This break-through book offers guidance to the bereaved and step-by-step suggestions on how to cope with the stages of grief, from the funeral to rebuilding your marriage.

The Worst Loss by Barbara Rosof talks about how families heal from the death of a child. She draws on personal stories and research and delves into explaining about grief and how all family members grieve differently. She has different families speak about all types of deaths and eventually what you can do with the rest of your life.

How To Survive the Loss of a Child by Catherine Sanders talks about rebuilding your life and filling the emptiness with joy again. She also has a chapter about how friends and family members provide the best support. Special cases of miscarriage, stillbirth and induced abortion are also covered. Many case examples are also given.

After the Death of a Child by Ann Finkbeiner discusses living with loss through the years, a book that examines the long-term nature of parental grief through the words of those who suffered through it.

A Broken Heart Still Beats, after your child dies by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel take a look at literature as medicine, stories and poems by authors themselves with each chapter introduced by Anne and Mary’s reflections of their own. This book offers comfort in the voices of other writers, many of them famous authors.

Singing Lessons by singer Judy Collins, is a memoir and moving account of growth and healing, dreams and meditations imbued with the introspection we love in her songs. She shows us the depth to which her soul is shaken when her son commits suicide, how her exterior was shattered and the interior made vulnerable and raw. It is like a wound, she says, that opens up so we can feel and experience the depths and then climb to heights never imagined. Judy emerged on top, keeping her heart open and her life in harmony. She and I spoke of our losses after a brilliant speech I listened to which ended in the singing of one of her trademark songs, “Amazing Grace.”

Saving Graces by Elizabeth Edwards explores Elizabeth’s entire life, but concentrates on the death of her teen son in a car accident and how the “community” of people in her life, friends and strangers, helped her to find solace and strength she never knew she had in order to deal with her son’s death and her own subsequent tragic illness. I was fortunate enough to meet and speak to this lovely woman in 2007, and I know that whatever she says about her life and feelings comes from a strong, courageous heart that I completely admire.

Comfort by author Ann Hood, whose raw emotional experience of how she felt after losing her daughter to an illness is hauntingly reminiscent of my own feelings after my daughter died. There is something very special about an autobiography that allows you into the author’s soul to feel every feeling and know that you understand those feelings because you have been there too. I met this lovely lady in 2008 and listened to her story as she eloquently spoke of her child, Grace.

God Is Bigger Than Your Grief - Author Karen Tripp delves into the mysterious realm of faith and the questions we have in dealing with our heartache over the death of a loved one, partricularly, in our case, a child. Interspersed with personal stories from those who have gone through the bereavement, she believes we can learn new ways to soar as we draw closer to God and realize he has a purpose for everything. She has started a series and her other one I read is God Is Bigger Than Your Cancer, with insightful information and relevant stories, all ending with the belief that God is always with us in both the good and bad times.

Of course, specialty books on one type of death now abound from suicides and SIDS to different types of illnesses and drug related deaths. Most can be found online, very few are mainstreamed in bookstores.

There is now a wealth of information out there to help get us through our grief journey. Take advantage of these literary works.

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