Books for Grief
On April 11, 2016, I joined a group nobody wants to join. A group you don't get to choose to join. My 11-year old nephew, Nate, was hit by a truck while riding his bike. He didn't survive. When my dad called to tell my sister and I, we were going for a run in downtown Boston, two blocks away from where Martin Richard lost his life in the marathon bombing 3 years earlier. I curled up in a ball on the sidewalk and screamed. Then Jessie and I ran as fast as we could to the car and to the airport.
|The last birthday we celebrated. 11.|
We flew home to be there. Thank god we did.
I knew, obviously that children died, tragically, all the time. Too often. Most times it isn't even in the news. However, I didn't realize how wide spread this group was until it happened to me. I was sent links to support groups, articles for coping, shared stories of loss - the group found me. I thought to myself, "These people have been all around me my whole life and I never knew it."
I was so weighted with grief that I wanted to wear a sign around me at all times. Was I driving too slow? Did you honk at me to move over? Check my sign. I'm grieving and I heard a song on the radio that reminded me of Nate. I forgot how to keep going for a moment.
Sometimes I wanted people to talk to me about it, I needed people to talk to me about it. It was all I thought about anyway.
Sometimes I became paralyzed at the thought of seeing anyone. Especially if it was the first time I'd seen them since Nate died. In the car, on the way to a birthday party for a good friend, I cried and went over a script in my head of what I would say when people asked how I was doing. I was sad when they asked, angry when they avoided asking. There was no middle ground.
Nate's death was written about in the local news websites because it was a tragedy. I read the comments, looking for words of sympathy from strangers and ready to hate the anonymous commenters who asked if he was wearing a helmet. "WHO CARES?" I wanted to scream. He was gone and their meaningless inquiry wouldn't change that.
The one silver lining I tried to take away in those early days was that by being a member of this awful club, I had learned a thing or two about what I could do when other people, inevitably, joined the club. I told myself to pay attention to my thoughts and feelings, to remember them, and to be ready for the next newcomer.
Since then, one of the most frequent requests for books I get is for books for grieving. It's not always as tragic as my situation. Most frequently, as a teacher, it was the loss of a grandparent or pet. A few times it was for tragedy's in which no book could help. So I started to gather resources and books.
My hope is that you are not a member of this club I'm in. But if you are, or if you know someone who is, here are a few books for you. I'm not going to tell you to be strong, or that it will get better, or that you should "smile because you knew them." Those words may or may not hold any meaning for you. I'll share with you what my high school chemistry teacher told me when he came to Nate's funeral. "This f*&^ing sucks."
(Click on the image to purchase these books from my Bookshop store.)
|Can a book about death be funny?|
Yep. This one is. I love this one.
|A child's blocks fall.|
Everyone tries to help.
But the rabbit listens.
|What do you do when something dies?|
A way to say goodbye.
|This girl tries to lock her heart away when it hurts.|
Sometimes this isn't the answer.
|I cried the first 5 times I read this.|
Sometimes you need a book to help you cry.
|Sometimes you just don't know the right|
things to say right away. This book
reminds you to take your time.
There are plenty of other books and I've got those listed on my Bookshop.org page. I'll keep updating the list as I find them.