One Girl and Her Books

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. ~Mark Twain

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dealing with Death the Bibliophile's Way

Well, it's been the worst year of my life - without a doubt. In May my Dad was taken ill - apart from three days in June he remained in hospital until his death on August 25th 2010. Apart from 5 days, I was at his bedside for up to 10 hours a day. He was in various stages of conciousness throughout but for the last five weeks he was in a coma. I am going to write about my feelings on my other blog. I was reading almost a book a day during these months - and how many can I remember??? About ten! I will have to look through my bookshelves. I knew there were some that really helped me escape the reality of my situation for a few hours. They helped me cope.

However during the days immediately after Dad's death I turned to books of another kind. The few that helped me the most were ....

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief'You'll Get Over It': The Rage of BereavementIf The Spirit Moves You: Love and Life After Death
There is actually another one - from a Christian perspective, written by an American Pastor but I cannot find it at the moment. I will have a hunt and add it on tomorrow. Virgina Ironside's was wonderful - it was written on the death of her father so it really resonated with me. Apart from helping me with my grief it also comforted me to know I was not the only person to start stuttering badly and to have the most violent dreams ever (nothing to do with Dad but crazy nasty things) after the death of a loved one. I really really recommend it! The Daily Meditations was combined by a lady whose daughter had died in her teens - it includes passages/poems from literature and The Bible and from Hickman herself. I would pick it up randomly and flick though big chunks of it, not stopping until I found something that comforted me BIGTIME.

I have loved all of Justine Picardie's books - I think "Daphne" and "My Mother's Wedding Dress" are both blogged about here. I didn't buy this initially as I just saw the book cover and thought it would be just her journey in dealing with grief after the death of her younger sister Ruth. I thought it would be a different type of grief to mine. But I picked it up last week and read it over two nights. I can totally understand why Justine attempted to contact Ruth. I have been begging Dad to give me a sign that he is okay for the last three months. :-( Justine met some fascinating people - none of them were sinister sounding despite basically being involved in the occult. Justine's grief just hits you in the face and when she tries to email Ruth .... I had big tears plopping on the page as I had thought of something similar. The helplessness and total sorrow really struck a chord with me. It really comforted me.

One book that I initially thought would be the best in bringing peace to my hurting heart .... wasn't. I have really enjoyed C S Lewis' Narnia Chronicles (at least 4 times) and I have also read a number of his Christian writings. However ... "A Grief Observed" written on the death of his wife, Joy, had me crying so hard I was sick. I had had an image of Dad being greeted in heaven by his parents, brother and sister and indeed of me seeing him again! That was the one thing that gave me comfort. Alas, C S Lewis wrote of how that was the stuff that bad hymns were made of and there was nothing in the Bible to substantiate it. I tried to pick it up again but I couldn't. He is one of the best scholars this world has ever known and he was a devout Christian ... so I should value his words but in this case, I can't!

Well, that's it. I've just these last few days ventured back into the blogging world and have already added about 20 books to my wishlist from catching up on the reviews.

If anyone can recommend anymore books on grief then I would be thrilled.

Happy Reading!

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