Losing someone you shared a special bond with, can take a huge toll on you. It doesn’t matter who you lose; a family member, a friend, the love of your life or even, a pet, when you lose someone that you loved with all your heart, it leaves your breathless.
The first emotion that hits you after losing a loved one is the unbelief. You feel like you need to confirm and reconfirm what you just heard because that’s how unbelievable it is. Slowly and then suddenly, grief sets in. You start thinking about the person you lost, the love and the beautiful memories you had with that person.
Eventually, anger starts to set in. You will start hating yourself for not doing enough and you will be angry at your loved one for leaving. All these emotions are also going to leave you confused. You’ll feel like you are drowning in this quicksand known as grief. You’ll have a lot of questions about a lot of things and not enough answers.
I know all this because I’ve gone through it, multiple times. The first time I lost a loved one, I tried a lot of things to overcome my grief and get on with my life, but you know what actually helped; a list of books on loss and grief.
The names of the books were shared with me by the great people working at Eastern Memorials, a granite gravestone makers in Manassas. I have learned how to manage grief, I want to help others overcome their grief too. So, here are some of the greatest books ever written on loss and grief:
A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis
After Lewis lost the love of his life; his wife, he wrote a series of letters that were turned into one of the most expressive books on grief. In this book, Lewis talks about everything that comes with grief; from the overpowering feeling of unbelief to all the doubts and confusion. The book works even better if you’re religious like Lewis was.
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
One of the best writers the US has ever produced, Joan Didion, lost a loved one too. And, just like all of us, she struggled too. Being a writer, Joan started writing about her grief and her fight against it. In this book, she talks about losing her husband and seeing her daughter fall gravely ill. The almost magical way that she talks about grief and all the doubts that it brings, this book is sure to help anyone who reads it.
Option B – Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Apart from being a best-selling author, the COO of the social networking giant Facebook and a mother, Sheryl Sandberg was a loving wife too. Sheryl was married to a Silicon Valley executive, Dave Goldberg.
While on a vacation in Mexico, Dave, who was only in his 40’s, unexpectedly passed away. In Option B, Sheryl talks about managing her children and her demanding job while she copes with the fact that the love of her life is no longer with her. The book is co-authored by the book expert, Adam Grant.
Resilient Grieving – Lucy Hone
They say a person can learn to cope with all kinds of losses but the one that really crushes your spirit is when you lose a child. Psychology professor Lucy Hone lost her 12-year-old daughter in a car accident. And because it was so unexpected, one can only imagine her pain. In this book, Lucy Hone combines her research with optimism and teaches us how we can learn to cope with any kind of loss.
The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
Although memoirs can be really helpful, if there is one fictional story about loss that is sure to help its readers, it’s this one. This story is about the scared, unsure and naïve 17-year-old Lennie Walker, who has been living her life under the guidance of her older sister. When her sister suddenly passes away, Lennie has trouble coping with the grief all the while having to deal with life without her sister’s guidance and protection.
I Wasn’t Ready To Say Goodbye – Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair
Written by two doctorates, this book mainly focuses on having to deal with a sudden loss. This book describes the sadness and all its forms, it tells its readers that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and there is no time range after which the depression suddenly fades away. This is a book that is happy to talk about all sides of grieving.
Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
Mitch Albom, a budding writer, had the opportunity to be with his college professor and mentor, Mr. Morrie Schwartz, during the last few days of Mr. Schwartz’s life. This is a book that discusses a wide range of topics. It is filled with wisdom and knowledge regarding a lot of topics, including death and loss. This is a book that will provide you guidance no matter what you’re going through.
A Widow’s Story – Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce was married to the love of her life for more than forty-six years. When she lost her husband, it completely changed her. In this book, she talks about the rawness of loss and how grief can completely destroy your life if you let it. This book details what it takes to get through the pain of losing someone you loved with all your heart, and then losing them after forty-six years of living together.
Please Be Patient, I’m Grieving – Gary Roe
Who could know and understand grief and loss better than a hospice chaplain? Above that, Gary has been a grief counselor for a long pretty long time as well. Needless to say, this is one of the best books you could read if you are trying to embrace your grief and find a way through it.
This book is like having a support group right in the palm of your hand. You tell them about all the big and small hardships you are going through after the loss, and they give you priceless tips on how to handle them.
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