Books to help cope with death and loss
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:10AM
OAK PARK — If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, these books available at the library may offer some support.
For many, personal stories offer the greatest comfort. Award-winning writer Roger Rosenblatt offers self refection and a personal meditation on loss in Kayak Morning: Reflections of Love, Grief and Small Boats. A kayak journey, two years after the death of his adult daughter, provides a metaphor for his grief and healing process. Floating from one idea to another, he works through the stages of his grief and emerges stronger due to the restorative power of love.
Jai Pausch, widow of the best-selling author of The Last Lecture, shares her journey from wife to caregiver to single mother in Dream New Dreams: Reimagining My Life After Loss. This moving story chronicles her husband’s death from pancreatic cancer and the aftermath of rebuilding her life and a life for their children. Engaging and readable, this narrative offers advice for anyone moving through loss, healing and renewal.
The Long Goodbye: A Memoir by poet Meghan O’Rourke is a beautifully written personal account of caring for her dying mother and then discovering nothing had prepared her for the loss. O’Rourke writes with candor about her family and her feelings. Her prose captures the pain of her mother’s illness, the consolation of continuity and the strength of family resilience. This elegant book is frank, direct and critical of our society’s attitude toward grief.
In No One Has To Die Alone: Preparing for a Meaningful Death, Lani Leary helps readers deal with fears of illness, death and bereavement. Addressing caregivers of the terminally ill, she emphasizes that how we die matters and offers steps to help loved ones avoid isolation and loneliness at life’s end. This compassionate book focuses on the process and uniqueness of grief for all of us. It includes a chapter dealing with the fact children grieve differently than adults.
For a fresh perspective on grieving, try The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss by Ruth Davis Konigsberg. This fascinating social history challenges Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s widely accepted theory of five stages — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Konigsberg‘s research and analysis are thorough and thought-provoking.
John Katz, author of the popular Bedlam Farm books, has written Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die. The importance of companion animals in many people’s lives is discussed and the book offers personal experiences and stories to help readers deal with the loss of a beloved pet. Katz discusses the different ways people grieve and offers advice to help with making decisions, saying goodbye and moving on to healing.