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7 Books to Help Navigate Grief

nerky book club widow Oct 15, 2019

Originally Published on 1/4/19

When Jason first died, well-meaning people gave me books about grief and religion. I wasn’t interested in them at all. I could barely function as a human, much less wrap my mind around the thought of even trying to understand why Jason was gone, where he went and what that meant for my life and our family. Over time, distraction became my crutch to move forward. About 2-3 months after he died, I started to read some of the books that were given to me, and then I began to seek out more books. Some I read fully, some I couldn’t get on board with and some I’m still working through.

It’s hard for me to do anything Jason-y, if that makes sense. It takes a lot of effort and energy and then I’m completely drained. That said, I am slowly working through some of these books, with other self-help style books sprinkled in. You may say I’m a bit of a self-help junkie these days, and I won’t argue with you. I had to pull myself up out of deep darkness to be able to function for myself and my son’s sake, and this is how I did it. I’ll post my favorite self-help books in another post – I got you, fam.

Widows Wear Stilettos by Carole Brody Fleet and Syd Harriet, Ph.D, Psy.D

This one was gifted to me, and I appreciate that. It’s is meant for a young widow, which is fitting in my case. I’m 32 and I have eleventy billion pairs of stilettos, so it seems like this book should be perfect for someone like me, but honestly it didn’t resonate. I read about half of it before I realized it wasn’t helping me and moved on.

If you or someone you know feels like you could use this book – check out the “look inside” feature on Amazon to read a little bit of it – I’ll mail you my copy for free. Leave a comment and I’ll get in touch. Obviously I only have one, so it will go to the first person with a reasonable story.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

This isn’t necessarily about grief, but was given to me to help figure out what to believe and where Jason went. I’m not religious, but I do believe in a higher power. I’m not 100% sold on Jesus, but I like the positive and powerful messages that can be learned in church. Does that make sense? I don’t fall under any religion, but I believe in something, and I don’t have any qualms about church or going to church. I feel there are many paths to the same ending. That said, this book was only okay for me, but I did find it interesting. If you look past the traditional religion aspect and absorb the lessons, reminders and quotes, it’s good for someone like me who falls through the cracks of conventional religion.

I would also venture to say that this book would resonate well for Christians. Just a hunch.

Do Dead People Watch You Shower? And Other Questions You’ve Been All But Dying to Ask a Medium by Concetta Bertoldi

Y’all, I don’t even know how I stumbled upon Concetta Bertoldi. Happenstance? Divine intervention? Facebook listening to my conversations? I don’t know. I didn’t know who she was before Jason died and I’m a skeptic at best about psychics and mediums. Truthfully, I’m a skeptic about most things. That said, this book was funny and calming for me. I read the whole thing in just a few days. I laughed and cried and I can honestly say the lighthearted and straight-forward nature of it helped me. I already gave my copy away to a friend who lost her sister suddenly last year, and this will be the book I give to friends and family in the event they are faced with the death of a loved one. If nothing else, it put a smile on my friend’s face for just a minute thinking about whether her sister was watching her shower, just like it did for me thinking about whether Jason was watching me shower from wherever he is now. I liked this book so much that I went out and bought her other two books Inside the Other Side which is about where souls go after they leave the body, aka “The Other Side” and Do Dead People Walk Their Dogs?. I’m about half way through Inside the Other Side, and it’s not quite as easy of a read or as entertaining, but I still go back to it every so often and plan to finish it. I haven’t started the other one yet.

I feel obligated to say that Concetta Bertoldi is a Christian and references God a lot in her books. Just throwing that out there for what it’s worth, knowing that she’s a psychic medium. Those two things are sometimes considered mutually exclusive, but it’s not the case here. A lot of the time skeptics (like me, and maybe even like you) just need to go full force into believing in something to make it real, if for nothing else than to heal ourselves so we can propel forward to live the life we were meant to live.

Where Did You Go?: A Life Changing Journey to Connect with Those We’ve Lost by Christina Rasmussen

This is a pretty recent release and I bought it and read the first 3 chapters in one evening – about a quarter of the book. I would have read more, but she gave a homework assignment to do before continuing. This is a good book for those who believe that a soul moves on once it leaves the body. It’s about finding your person where they are, essentially going to where they are without actually dying. I would guess this is similar to how mediums connect with the dead. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it yet, probably because being a skeptic is hardcore ingrained in me, but I would recommend this book. Again, if for no other reason than to try something new to heal yourself. There’s also a private Facebook group the author created that you can join to read about other people’s journeys and what they saw along the way, which can feel either comforting or frustrating depending on your own experience.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

I have only read bits and pieces of this one, but I’m excited to actually get into it. It was recommended to me by a lot of people. There are a lot of pages available on Amazon’s “look inside” feature, so you can check out a lot of it that way.

Sometimes reading is just about connecting with someone who has gone through the same thing you have and made it out alive, so to speak. Sometimes it’s a search for answers. Sometimes it’s to escape your reality for a little while. In any of these cases, these books helped me in one way or another. Each one is linked so you can check it out on Amazon.

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