Good(?) Grief

04_24_09.jpgDear Wonderful Widows!

Clients often ask me if I can recommend books - books that will help them understand their grief and help them feel less alone. There are many such books available.

I don't know about you, but when I was a new widow I was unable to concentrate long enough to read much of anything so I needed books that were easy to read and they had to be enormously engaging. Because my brain was mush, (widow’s brain) my preference was for fiction rather than nonfiction. I also came from health care and understood grief from a clinical point of view. I did not need more of that. My favorite book was Good Grief by Lolly Winston.

I love it when I find a book that not only supports my experience of widowhood but also makes me laugh. I so needed to laugh. The main character Sophie shows us that grief and humor are not mutually exclusive. When she showed up at work in bunny slippers and completely sloshed, she made me feel better about all the times I wanted to hide under the covers, cry, and get really fat on Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Sophie gives herself great permission to grieve. And grieve she does. She demonstrates just how messy grief can be and she also helps us laugh at our human-ness.

Lolly Winston is not a widow, (I am pretty sure) but don't let that stop you. There is much truth here. For instance, Sophie talks about the "Unrequited-ness of grief", one of the aspects of widowhood about which I struggled. (As I cried, painfully missing Mike, I always had the feeling that my husband was either not crying back, or even worse, that he was having a ball! I knew that I should have been happy about the fact that he was happy. But the one-sided-ness of it felt enormously unfair and I was mad, mad that I was here suffering and he was there (?) doing God knows what.)

This book is not for everyone, and as usual, timing is everything. I was two years past losing Mike when this book hit my funny bone. So, if you are like me and the timing is right, it is likely that you will laugh and cry with this book.

(That's me in the photo... Mike died before we had a digital camera!)


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