Saturday, November 10, 2018

Books for the Journey of Grief

Yesterday was a busy day which did not allow time for blogging. My 3x per week noon workout in the community pool, a dental visit which confirmed the need for a root canal, then Girls' Night Out at church (sold out) with 200 women enjoying dinner and a movie: God's Compass.

It was a sweet, tender story. The main character had just retired, and her husband had recently passed away. She sought to help a stranger who had helped her pregnant daughter in law to the hospital and had a hidden connection to her family. Grief and loss are part of the movie and it stimulated some thinking about how one may turn to  pragmatic tasks or sacrificial service during and after bereavement as a means of honoring the one who died by making a difference in someone else's life.

It's approaching six years since I was first widowed. During that time there were several books that helped me, and I asked a few friends to add to that list by recommending books that helped them as well. If you are a reader, this is a resource list you'll want to explore. It will equip you for comforting the grieving, and if you are grieving, these books will simply comfort you.

It is my prayer that one or more of these recommendations will make a difference in your life, perhaps even serve as a compass to point to your true north in the aftermath of bereavement.

Mourning Into Dancing by Walter Wangerin Jr.
Wangerin is one of today’s most gifted and award-winning writers on issues of faith and spirituality. I worked through this book around the time of my mother's death in 1996. It was transformative for me. In a captivating narrative woven with stories and comfort, this book defines the stages of grief, defines the types of relationships and the losses we experience in those areas, shows how to help the grief-stricken, gives a new vision of Christ’s sacrifice, and shows how a loving God shares our grief.

Seven Choices by Elizabeth Harper Neeld
A highly original and meaningful approach to the grieving process with sound advice on how to adjust to change and form new life patterns and human bonds.

Roses in December by Marilyn Willett Heavilin
Having lost three sons, Marilyn knows the tremendous sorrows and struggles that come with the death of loved ones. Yet she shares how, even in the winters of our lives, God provides roses―special occasions, special people, and special memories―to give us strength and draw close to Him. My fourth brother Jim and his wife found this book particularly meaningful after the loss of their 21 year old son in a collision.

Through a Season of Grief by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard
A place to turn for daily comfort and help packed with tools to move forward. This is a 365-day devotional designed to support and uplift you in the first, most difficult year of bereavement. More than thirty respected Christian professionals share their insights on how to walk through the devastation of grief toward wholeness and hope. You will also hear from people like you who have lost a loved one and have found God's healing presence in the midst of despair. This unique devotional is based on GriefShare®, a national grief recovery support group program that has helped more than 100,000 families.

Lovely Traces of Hope by Kathy Burrus
By a college classmate of mine who lost her teenage daughter to an accident. It was her daughter's unfinished book that penetrated deep into the torn and broken heart of her mother and pointed her, in the midst of her grief, to the lovely traces God reveals about himself in random and unexpected ways.

Journeying Through Grief by Stephen Ministries

This is a set of four short booklets that offer words of comfort and hope designed to be sent to grieving people at specific, crucial times during that first year after a loved one dies. Each book focuses on what the person is likely to be experiencing at that time and provides care, assurance, encouragement, and hope. I was grateful to be a recipient of these each quarter from a dear friend who understood what it meant to be widowed and delivered them personally with a handwritten note of encouragement.

I Will Carry You by Angie Smith
The powerful story of a mother who carried a child deemed "incompatible with life," and the eternal insights gained from a baby who lived less than three hours.

What books have you found comforting or helpful in the midst of your grieving?

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