Please note, where blue text links to the Amazon website, an order you place via such a link will send a small amount of commission income my way. A great way to both show your support for the Valley Road Rambler and enhance your book collection!
Grief and Recovery
Neil Peart, Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road.Moving chronicle penned by the drummer for the band Rush after suffering a double tragedy. Hard-headed, practical, difficult, and yet hopeful. It doesn’t get any realer than this.
Ted Menten, After Goodbye: How To Begin Again After The Death Of Someone You Love. Also pragmatic and hard-headed, Menten has some choice words for the well-meaning people who tell you to “be strong” or “get over” your loss. A sequel to a book I didn’t read:
Ted Menten, Gentle Closings: How To Say Goodbye To Someone You Love. While the previous book dealt with after your loved one dies, this one addresses how to be with them as they are dying.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Not the famous Kubler-Ross book that started the whole “five stages of loss” meme, this is the final book that she contributed to, herself dying before its publication. The insights here are profound, and the many stories sprinkled throughout the book anchor its conclusions in a relatable foundation.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying. Another very practical book, by all accounts (I have yet to read it), based on extensive interviews with medical professionals and members of families who have lost loved ones.
Stephen Levine, Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart. A poetic book, addressing not only the issue of immediate loss but also the “unattended sorrow” of loss built up throughout one’s life. Very well-written, full of insight from the author steeped in Buddhist tradition but also influenced by other faiths and by medical practice.
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: A Spiritual Classic from One of the Foremost Interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Dense and insightful, a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the Tibetan Buddhist perspective on living and dying well, and what happens to us after we die.
Matt Logelin,Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. A sad, courageous, and ultimately triumphant memoir by a young man whose wife Liz died suddenly just two days after giving birth to their daughter Maddy. Published in 2011, this book has remained on the bestseller list.
Donald Hall, Without: Poems.The American poet Donald Hall said farewell to his wife, poet Jane Kenyon, in 1995. This collection encompasses her stages of dying from leukemia, and his stages of grief. Haunting, poignant, and yet somehow comforting to a person with a similar burden to bear.
Fiction with Loss, Grief, and Recovery as Major Themes
Stephen King, Lisey’s Story: A Novel. Not one of King’s better-known stories, the most remarkable aspect of this book for me is that I started reading it three days before my wife’s sudden, unexpected death, an example of meaningful coincidence I will write about at some point. The story of a widow whose famous husband, a writer, died three years before the main timeframe of the novel. No ghosts or hauntings here, but there is an alternate dimension element to the story that I found enthralling, and in confronting a very real, very human demon, Lisey also comes to terms with her own inner demons and finds solace.
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars. It’s been said that the best contemporary novels are written for young adults, and this novel by Green certainly provides strong evidence for that conclusion. How an adolescent deals with dying and death may sound like a very bleak topic, but in fact there are staccato bursts of hope throughout the novel and ultimately it is a testament to the power of the human spirit to prevail over tragic life circumstances. I can’t recommend it highly enough, and not just for young people.
Blogs and Online Resources
SUDEP Aware www.sudepaware.org: support organization for family members who have lost a loved one to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). Primarily dedicated to raising awareness about SUDEP and ultimately prevention.
matt, liz and madeline www.mattlogelin.com: the blog that led to Matt Logelin’s book, Two Kisses for Maddy (see above). Stories in the life of a young single father and his daughter, with a growing list of helpful resources and similar-themed blogs.
Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation www.sslf.org: peer-based, non-denominational grief support.
Widowed Village widowedvillage.org: a community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation.
Namaste Consulting Inc. publishes a blog on mindfulness, grief, and end-of-life care that I have found very helpful.
www.recover-from-grief.com One of the better resources on the internet with links, testimonials, and many encouraging and creative ideas for recovery from grief.