Sunday, October 16, 2016

Writer Found Grief Books Helpful With Personal Loss

I  found that when my daughter died, I didn’t want to go to bereavement groups and listen to everyone who sat in a circle, crying and telling their story. It was very sad seeing and listening to those people, and I wanted to do something to lift myself up, not dig a deeper hole that I could crawl into and feel safe. I turned to books also, grief books that had ideas and passages I could identify with. Not all books were helpful, but as I read everything I could get my hands on at the time (and there wasn’t that much in 1994) I could say, “yes, I feel that way too” or “no, I don’t agree with that.”

Everyone has his own way of facing the grief that comes with losing someone you love. Writer Alex Weiss found that books helped him deal with personal loss in eight important ways.

Here are Weiss’ eight ways books helped him heal from loss. I agree with most of what he says. See if you can relate also. Remember, this is a summary of his thoughts only.

Books reminded me I wasn’t alone. I could find similarities in characters who dealt with death who felt lost and confused. It helped me feel less lonely and made me realize just how many possible realities are out there, how many people deal with what I’m going through, and that I’m certainly not alone in how I feel.

Books showed me there are so many things worth living for. When you lose someone you love, it can seem as if the entire idea of living worthless. But it didn’t take long for books to show me how many beautiful things exist in the world and the millions of paths one can take. Even though positive outcomes are hard to imagine during loss, books showed me there will always be something worth living for.

Books didn’t bullsh*t the hard stuff. Guidance counselors, therapists and friends all try so hard to make things better when you lose someone. The human instinct is to reassure a person in pain that it will get better. But when every part of you hurts, that isn’t exactly what you need to hear. What you do need is for someone to tell you the truth of how sucky this is, and that’s exactly what some authors and characters showed me.

Books showed me how to process emotions in a healthy way.  Books helped me realize how important it is to focus on each emotion – heartache, anxiety, inspiration, growth—ort through them and really try to understand why I’m feeling the way I am. And that in itself is a life lesson worth learning whether you’ve experienced personal loss or not.

Books taught me that a short life isn’t a bad life. One of the things I struggled with most is that this person close to me hadn’t been able to live out the amazing life she/he deserved. It took a few books that dealt with death and the loss o young lives that made me realize it doesn’t matter how many years you have, it matters most in how you live them.

Books inspired me to learn and grow from loss. Books gave me a reason to actively search for good in the world, and ever since, I’ve been committed to taking time out of every day to stop, look and find something to smile or be grateful about. Experiencing death takes a different toll on everyone, and while the lessons may not appear right away like they do in books, you will grow and take something positive away.

Books have never made me feel bad for feeling bad. This is probably the most powerful and important lesson I got out of reading a lot during my stages of grief. When years started to pass but I still felt the pain of loss just as strongly, if not worse, my friends and family around me didn’t feel as approachable. I started to feel bad for feeling bad, as if there’s something wrong with me and I should just move on already. The thing is, books never told me there was a time limit. They told me it was okay to feel bad, that it was okay to feel happy, that it was okay to move on when it felt right to me, and not to move on when it wasn’t. Books empowered me then, and they continue to do so every time I pick one up—and I can’t imagine my life without them.

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