“It gets better.”
“I know what you’re feeling.”
“You will get over it.”
Well-meaning as these remarks are, it’s quite hard to translate the palpable pain that comes with grief. Sometimes, a hug or a simple remark is better, but it is often difficult to put in words. Finding a way to commiserate can be as hard as finding competent funeral providers when you are an expatriate in Spain. But a service provider can assist you and even give you the time to reflect on your loss.
When you have the time to process the grief, you can find many books that echo the sentiment of losing a loved one. But the following can help you get through the hard parts and lead you to a new phase of your life. These are items you can add to your bookshelf to keep you company in those difficult moments.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
The metaphor for grief is personified by the Crow in this short but bittersweet read. The story is about a grieving widower and his two sons. This beautifully written book encapsulates the whole mayhem, from the chaos of the funeral arrangements to the days of emptiness that follow after the burial. The whole healing process after a loss is outlined here and can help anyone overcome the overwhelming situation of a death in the family.
Where Did You Go?: A Life-Changing Journey to Connect With Those We’ve Lost by Christina Rasmussen
This is a more recent book that caught the interest of people who are suffering from grief. With her tiny community of people who take the journey with her, Rasmussen summarises in this book how she dealt with losing her husband to cancer. The book highlights a different and beautiful perspective on death and the afterlife, and it’s something that can heal and comfort anyone who deals with the painful nights and reminders of never having to see their loved ones again.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang
Sun-Mi Hwang made waves in South Korea with her unorthodox storytelling skills. She uses the simple but brilliant allegory of animals like hens and dogs to craft deeper and profound wisdom about life and loss and the world. The heroic hen who sacrificed a lot and had a meaningful life can be a nod to those loved ones who had left a memorable mark in the lives of those who were left behind to mourn the loss.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Joan Didion is a celebrated modern literary goddess even before she met the tragedy of losing her husband and daughter in less than three years. The very beautiful tapestry of words in this book rendered grief with a more beautiful, albeit heart-breaking garb in this very honest and piercing memoir. Didion has been incredibly candid about her realisations in writing the book, and it also served as her outlet for handling her loss.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
While this book is not just about death, the insights on handling adversity are incredibly powerful and inspiring. Sandberg is more known as one of Facebook’s executives. She has faced controversy with her involvement in projects with Mark Zuckerberg. Her more popular movement Lean In (which was also published as a book) made more waves globally, but this beautifully written book about strength in adversity is also worth the reader’s attention.
There is never an easy way to get over losing someone to death. But deaths are as inevitable as births. It serves as a reminder to make the most of what we have while we are alive. There is tremendous bravery in not crafting shortcuts to grief or hiding the pain underneath a busy life. Like other human feelings and experiences, this grief can instigate a change and start a new phase in a person’s life.