The loss of a loved one is not something to be taken lightly and is something that we all must come to terms with. Grief and loss are universal experiences that touch us all in deep ways. The journey of grief is different for everyone, but it doesn't have to be scary. Cry, laugh and remember that you're not alone.
I’d love to hear how these titles speak to you and how they help you move forward.
The Urgent Life: My Story of Love, Loss, and Survival by Bozoma Saint John (2/21) | When Bozoma Saint John's husband, Peter, died of cancer, she made one big decision: to live life urgently. Bozoma was no stranger to adversity, having lost her college boyfriend to suicide, navigated an interracial marriage, grieved a child born prematurely--a process that led to her and Peter's separation--and coparented the daughter who she and Peter shared. When Peter knew his cancer was terminal, he gave Bozoma a short list of things to do: cancel the divorce, and fix the wrongs immediately.
What Looks Like Bravery: An Epic Journey Through Loss to Love by Laurel Braitman (3/14) Simon & Schuster | Laurel Braitman spent her childhood learning how to outfish grown men, keep bees, and fix carburetors from her larger-than-life dad. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, he went to spectacular lengths to teach her the skills she'd need to survive without him. But by her mid-thirties she is a ship about to splinter on the rocks, exhausted by running from her own bad feelings.
This Isn't Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew by Daniel Wallace (4/11) Algonquin Books | In this powerful memoir, the bestselling author of Big Fish tries to come to terms with the life and death of his multi-talented longtime friend and brother-in-law, who had been his biggest hero and inspiration, in a poignant, lyrical, and moving memoir.
So Sorry for Your Loss: How I Learned to Live with Grief, and Other Grave Concerns by Dina Gachman (4/11) Union Square & Co | Since losing her mother to cancer in 2018 and her sister to alcoholism less than three years later, author and journalist Dina Gachman has dedicated herself to understanding what it means to grieve, healing after loss, and the ways we stay connected to those we miss.
One Long Listening: A Memoir of Grief, Friendship, and Spiritual Care by Chenxing Han (4/11) North Atlantic Books | Eddying around three autumns of Han's life, one long listening journeys from a mountaintop monastery in Taiwan to West Coast oncology wards, from oceanside Ireland to riverfront Phnom Penh. Through letters to a dying friend, bedside chaplaincy visits, and memories of a migratory childhood, Han's startling, searching memoir cuts a singular portrait of a spiritual caregiver in training.
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Geometry of Grief: Reflections on Mathematics, Loss, and Life by Michael Frame (5/6) University of Chicago Press | In this profound and hopeful book, a mathematician and celebrated teacher shows how mathematics may help all of us--even the math-averse--to understand and cope with grief.
Everything All at Once: A Memoir by Stephanie Catudal (5/30) Harper One | When Steph Catudal met her husband Rivs, she thought that the love, stability, and warmth she shared with her husband had finally dispelled her pent-up anger and grief over the loss of her father and her faith. But when Rivs became ill and was put into coma at the height of the pandemic, the painful memories of her childhood--watching her father die of cancer--came flooding back.
How to Say Goodbye by Wendy Macnaughton (7/18) Bloomsbury Publishing | As artist-in-residence at the Zen Hospice Project Guest House in San Francisco, Wendy MacNaughton witnessed firsthand how difficult it is to know what to do when we're sharing final moments with a loved one. In this tenderly illustrated guide to saying goodbye, MacNaughton shows how to make sure those moments are meaningful.
Unearthing: A Story of Tangled Love and Family Secrets by Kyo Maclear (8/22) Scribner | Three months after Kyo Maclear's father dies in December 2018, she gets the results of a DNA test showing that she and the father who raised her are not biologically related. Suddenly Maclear becomes a detective in her own life, unravelling a family mystery piece by piece, and assembling the story of her biological father.
When Your Heart Says Go: My Year of Traveling Beyond Loss and Loneliness by Judy Reeves (10/10) She Writes Press | What sort of mad longing besets a woman--nearing fifty and recently widowed--to sell everything she owns, buy an around-the-world airline ticket, pack a single suitcase, and set off alone on a year-long journey without a plan or agenda? When Your Heart Says Go answers that question.
Grief and loss are always difficult subjects, but there is hope. Here’s to finding comfort in the midst of it all.
Did you find any good books to add to your TBR? This is just a small sampling of the nonfiction titles I’ve curated on this topic. Make sure to check out the complete list HERE.
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This is a good list, thank you, but Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant is a notable omission.
Twenty years and many grief books after my first wife's death this book was a breakthrough. It's about the 3Ps: avoiding personalization (“this was my fault”), pervasiveness (“this affects everything”), and permanence (“nothing will ever be the same again”). In no time I'm balling my eyes out, realising that I'm one from three. But it showed me the way forward.
The magic of this book is weaving Adam Grant's psychological wisdom into Sandberg's story. It's an excellent book for showing you the path to growth from tragedy, even when you want to reject your option B.