Well this is a different kind of post for me, but it’s a post that I feel I need to do.
For many years, since my late teens (I’m 27 now) reading has been important to me. I’ve loved it. All thanks to ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd. That book
was is my first love.
But last year, my wonderful, caring, loving, strong Mother passed away. It was sudden. It shocked me to my core. It broke my heart. It still is broken. It will always be.
For months after I couldn’t read, I just couldn’t. Reading brings me too much joy, and joy was something I couldn’t handle back then. I didn’t think I ever could again. It’s still a struggle to now.
But after a few months. I did start to read again. Then I felt like I needed something positive in my life, so I started a Bookstagram, which led to this blog. I truly believe all these things saved my life. They allowed me to let light in my life again. It gave me a sense of purpose. I didn’t feel so lost.
So now, I’m going to talk about some books that helped me through that time, some books that I think speak about grief in personal, true way.
So first up is:
‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed
I was a fan of this book before my mother died, but after it’s become other worldly to me. It’s my bible. It’s all about the loss of Cheryl’s mother. Cheryl grief is so raw, it floors me. I understand this book and it understands me. If often find myself just holding this book. I’m truly grateful ‘Wild’ exists.
‘Her death had obliterated that. It had obliterated me. It had cut me short at the very height of my youthful arrogance… my life both ended and begun in that premature place where she’d left off. She was my mother, but I was motherless. I was trapped by her, but utterly alone. She would always be the empty bowl that no one could fill.’
‘Brave Enough’ by Cheryl Strayed
This one is actually a book of Cheryl’s quotes. But there’s one quote in there that my mother found comforting when she lost her mother, now it’s become a comfort for me. I try to remember this on the hard days.
‘Grief if tremendous, but love is bigger. You are grieving because you loved truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of death. Allowing this into your consciousness will not keep you from your suffering, but it will help you survive the next day.’
‘Dear Lily’ by Drew Davies.
I read this book recently, and was left sobbing. This book says things that could’ve been my own thoughts. They still are my own thoughts. I had to process this book, sit with it for a while. It was amazing to see grief represented this way.
Why wasn’t there enough time? Mum had our future all mapped out. I had it all mapped out too. You ruined them, Lil. You went and left, and it’s so unfair of you, because there was so much more.’
‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama.
This is obviously a book about Michelle’s life, but she does touch on her own grief and I think she got is so right.
‘It hurts to live after someone has died. It just does. It can hurt to walk down a hallway or open a fridge. It hurts to put on a pair of socks, to brush your teeth. Food tastes like nothing. Colors go flat. Music hurts, and so do memories. You look as something you’d otherwise find beautiful – a purple sky at sunset or a playground full of kids -and it only somehow deepens the loss. Grief is so lonely this way.
‘History is All You Left Me’ by Adam Silvera.
This book is about romantic love, therefore romantic grief. But grief is grief right? This shows how grief affects your decisions. How you cope.
‘The pain you’ve left isn’t pain I can see myself having the strength to face again’
‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd.
This book will always mean a lot to me, now even more so. They lose their sister. It’s so beautifully dealt with in this novel. This book feels like home.
‘It was the oldest sound there was. Souls flying away.’
‘Wishful Drinking’ by Carrie Fisher.
Now this may seem like a strange one, but Carrie died a short while before my Mother and I found great comfort in Carrie as a person. Some of her thoughts expressed my own. How grief encompassed itself in my soul. I was grateful to have her words in this time.
‘That’s what can take simple sadness and turn it into sadness squared. It’s what revs up the motor of misery, guns the engine of an unpleasant experience, filling it with rocket fuel and blasting into a place in the stratosphere that is oh-so-near to something like a suicidal tendency – a place where the wish to continue living in this painful place is all but completely absent.’
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Brown
Now this one may seem like a strange also, but it’s the first book I read after. The first book I was brave enough to pick up. It reminded me that Joy in something you love is ok.
‘Autoboygraphy’ by Christina Lauren.
This book is on the list because it’s the first book I bought on my Kindle. Which was my Mothers. I know use it. I get to think of her every time I do. I thought it would be strange, but this book was so good I found myself loving both the book and my Kindle.
So there it is. My reason why my love for reading is so strong. I hope reading has helped some of you like this. Let me know if there’s any books out there that I’ve missed, that speak about grief.
Until the next review