Yesterday was Peggy’s Birthday. My kind mother-in-law died over two years ago. She was many things, but in the truck yesterday, our kids remembered how fun it was to fish with her, and how much she loved them. We loved her. We still do.
And yet I found myself thankful yesterday as saying memories made me smile a little more and hurt a little less than a year ago. Yes it hurts, but she really was a gem. She let the kids blow bubbles in the kitchen, and she had the very best smile. I miss her.
A friend reached out to me recently asking for book ideas as her family grieves. Pam Dineen, the founder of Mourning Hope, helped me find books, so I thought it might help someone to pass these titles along here on the blog. Today, on this Veterans Day, I am thinking of veterans (they fill my gratitude list and post tomorrow), but I am also thinking of folks who grieve: the ones who are angry, the ones who are sad, the ones who can’t feel much today, the ones who are confused, and the ones who find themselves–in moments of time-grown grace–saying thanks.
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is a woman’s memoir of a year of grief and how she moved through a day at a time.
- The ABC’s of Healthy Grieving by Harold Ivan Smith is an easy and sensible read.
- A Decembered Grief: Living the Loss While Others are Celebrating also by Harold Ivan Smith (he’s a pastor) focuses on the holidays. This could be a great gift for this time of year.
- The Wilderness of Grief, Finding Your Way by Alan Wolfelt is an easy read with good foundational pieces on grief.
- Grief One Day at a Time: 365 Meditations has a short reading for each day.
- Healing After Loss by Martha Wittmore Hickman also has daily meditations for working through grief. Lots of people have told my friend Pam, “This one has really helped me.”
- The Memory Box, A book about grief by Joanna Roland is religious and pretty new. Pam noted that most all kids books on grief are great. Some of the adult ones aren’t always.
- Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie could be for all different ages. SO beautiful.
- The Invisible String Book by Patrice Karst is not really about death, but the larger connection among people no matter where they are–just a beautiful book for anybody and everybody.
- The Empty Place: A Child’s Guide Through Grief by Roberta Temes is quite simple as it follows a boy who loses his sister and all the things he experiences as he finds ways to cope.
For Older Kids
- When Someone Very Special Dies by Marge Heegaard is a consumable (draw and write in it) book that processes them through. Pam described it as, “An oldie, but a goodie.”
My last recommendation isn’t a book, but an app. The Calm App, along with yoga, have been helpful to me. It costs 59.99 annually, but is free for teachers. Doing a 10-minute meditation/centering prayer with this app has helped me to notice and to be less scared to feel.
One other shout out is to Mourning Hope itself, Pam’s organization in Lincoln. They have grief groups, one starting in January and another in March, once a week for 10 weeks for school-aged kids and their caregivers. They also have 8-week groups just for adults, and it’s all totally free.
All of these books are linked-up through Amazon, but I know Indigo Bridge, Francie and Finch, and A Novel Idea Bookstore in Lincoln are great local resources. Plus, The Centering Corporation out of Omaha ships books fast.