Sunday, September 1, 2013

Reading Grief Books

I've often been asked, "What were the first few books you read after the death of your child?" I don't mind at all answering that question because I still feel now, as I did back almost 20 years ago, when there wasn't much around to read, that I was fortunate to find and be given books I felt were very helpful to my situation, a tragic auto accident that killed my daughter. This week I will discuss one of my favorites; next week another one.

The first one I received that continues to be one of my favorites is "No Time For Goodbyes" by Janice Harris Lord. As one bereaved mother said in reviewing the book, "You've managed to put together a knowledgeable, compassionate and factual book to help those of us who have been suddenly thrust into the unwilling role of victims...I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your lifeline." I started reading the book and found myself underlining and starring what words, phrases and sentences I believed related to me and expressed my true feelings. There were many. I also enjoyed reading brief excerpts from stories that were told to the author. A few that struck me I've never forgotten that may also be of help to you are:

"You will never forget what happened. If you are afraid to get better because you think you might forget your loved one, stop worrying. You will never time you will remember the happy memories more easily than the painful ones which fill your mind now."

"...People may have commented on how 'strong' you were.  One of the saddest parts of trauma is that people assume you are strong when you really are in shock. You may appear strong, but you feel like a mechanical robot. When the shock wears off and you desperately need your friends, they have resumed life as usual, believing that you are doing fine."

"...many find it helpful to write down six to ten especially wonderful memories. Get them out and read them often so as not to feel yourself slipping into pain again."

"You may be disappointed in family and friends for their lack of sensitivity and understanding. It can make you frustrated and angry. However, you will have to decide for yourself when it is right to give more of your attention to living."

"Try to delay major decisions for at least a year or more. Moving, remarrying, deciding to have a baby, changing jobs, no matter how positive they seem, will create additional stress."

"Feel your feelings---whether they be sadness, rage, vengeance or others. Find a way to express them, perhaps through writing or sharing them with others who understand or through physical activity."

"Be patient with others who say inept things to you. Very rarely are such comments made to hurt you. While most people desperately want to help you, they may not know what to say or do. Try to be grateful for their attempt, if not the end result."

The book also covers the criminal justice system, death of a brother, sister, spouse, parent as well as suicide, spirituality and professional counseling. Not all parts were of interest to me, but I can say that the ones that were I marked and read over and over. In the back of the book is a list of resources of both other books and organizations that might help.