Online Bereaved Parents Book Club

Friday, May 31, 2013

Over the years, I have been in three different book clubs.  I have always looked forward to meeting with the ladies, gabbing about whatever book we've read, drinking wine and gossiping.  My most recent book club was made up of mostly high school girlfriends but also a few additions who I love and who fit in perfectly from the start.  I stopped going to book club when Maxie died.  Sometimes I think I might want to get back into it, but I am not ready for it anytime real soon.  I love love love love these women - but I don't think I am ready for it for a whole host of reasons.

In the meantime, I fell asleep last night thinking about how much I would love to have a new book club.  It would be a group consisting of other bereaved parents (or grievers in general - but they'd have to be the REALLY devastated kind - not just semi-sad).  We would pick a new book each month about grief, losing a child or loved one, or something spiritual and uplifting.  Our non-book conversation would be of a different variety than what goes on in a regular book club - not about whether or not it is "fabulous" to be turning 40 (because this is the one thing about my life that DOESN'T keep me up at night).  Our conversation would be about rainbow babies, the power of meditation, god, mediums and therapists.  We would share stories about the children and loved ones we've lost and find new ways of parenting and honoring them together.

I don't think this book group is going to happen - especially considering I only have one bereaved mother friend in LA.  It's also kind of hard to be part of a book club when you don't like leaving your living child.  So, that's another hurdle.  Maybe I need to start an online Bereaved Parents Book Club.  Members would need to be open to reading with an open mind but, like regular book club, they could skip or not participate if they just couldn't get into the book or it didn't resonate from the get go.  I'm about 20% of the way through AT LEAST 20 books and there has been more than one that went directly into the trash or got hurled across the room.  But there have been amazing, life-altering, beautifully written books as well - books that have struck the exact right chord and connected to me exactly where it hurts most.

Books have saved my life.  I have been reading and reading and reading since I lost Max and I just can't stop.  So, at the very least....below is a list of my most favorite books for bereaved parents (and grievers in general). I think I am going to have to write a little more about some of these in the future.....a one woman online bereaved parents book club.

The Knitting Circle - Ann Hood (The author lost her school aged daughter.  This is a fictional account of her loss)
Comfort - Ann Hood (Same author - memoir of her loss)
Resilience - Elizabeth Edward
Two Kisses for Maddy - Matthew Logelin (A local "LA" dad who lost his wife soon after she gave birth to their daughter, Maddy.  It is grief from a man's perspective and it is very moving.)
An exact replica of a figment of my imagination - Elizabeth McCracken (The author's own story of losing her child at birth.  I cannot say enough about how much this book resonated with me.  I want to find Ms. McCracken and make her my new best friend.  Every word I read could have come straight from my own mouth)
When things fall Apart - Pema Chodron (I suggest reading it over and over again whenever you encounter any difficult life circumstance - brilliant)
A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle (same as above)
A Grace Disguised - Jerry Sitter
The Bereaved Parent - Harriet Sarnoff Schiff (It was the first book I read after my Maxie died.  It was brought to me during shiva by my one local bereaved mother friend.  I don't remember one thing about it, except that it comforted me somehow in the very early days of my loss)
When Bad Things Happen to Good People -  Harold S. Kushner
Soul Shift: Finding Where the Dead Go - Mark Ireland (The very best book I've read about seeking answers and connections to our loved ones who've passed - I keep intending to devote a whole post to it but I cannot seem to find my copy.)
Against the Dying of the Light - Leonard Fein 

Please post additional recommendations!  I know that there must be others who are looking for book therapy.  Maybe we can start our own online grievers book club.......





7 comments:

m said...

I found "On Grief and Grieving" by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to be comforting...

I have been reading a ton as well after losing my son--I wish that we could make this book club a reality.

Em said...

My two favourites are Heaven is For Real by Todd and Colton Burpo. It may have been the timing of when I read it too (the week between Eva's death and her funeral). There is a kids picture book available too and my kids have greatly benefitted from that as well.
The other really great book for me is Holding onto Hope by Nancy Guthrie. It's a bit of an older book and hard to find but it has so much that really helped me.

I think an online reading group would be a great idea and if you build it they will come...I will anyway. I love love love reading and it has held me together in the 21 and a half months since Eva's death. I read fewer grief books now but would totally join in a group like this. I wish there really was an IRL group like this.

Melissa Miles McCarter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I like many lives, many masters by brain weiss. I found it comforting to know my precious little girl can be reborn and live many lives.

GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

In addition to the books mentioned so far, here are some that I've read and would recommend:
Lament for a Son by Wolterstorff, Paula by Allende, Wave by Deraniyagala, The Worst Loss by Rosof, When the Bough Breaks by Bernstein, The Grieving Garden by Redfern, Beyond Tears by Mitchell, Losing Jonathan by Waxler, Love Lives On by LaGrand, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by Livingston (read chapter 22 "Love is never lost, not even in death"), The Lively Shadow by Murray, Griefland by Bacon and Miller, With and Without her by Foltz-Gray, Year One by Tittensor, After the Death of a Child by Finkbeiner, Unattended Sorrow by Levine, and The Still Point of the Turning World by Rapp.

Auntie Mip said...

Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert

Anonymous said...

What Remains by Carole Radziwill (I know she's on Real Housewives of New York so you may be thinking, "are you kidding?" but it is a truly amazing book. She was losing her husband to cancer when JFK Jr. and his wife - who were her good friends - died in the plane crash). Also, Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by
Don & Susie Van Ryn. The way the family dealt with their grief was truly amazing.

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