The Empty Chair

It’s been two years since I lost my dad and a year since I lost both my grandmothers.

During that time I didn’t know if I was going to end up whole by the end of it and in a way I guess I didn’t, but I’m still here…

Besides my family, friends, and champion of a husband, who proposed during the midst of all this loss, I’ve sought out something that has always been important to me and that’s stories. Through stories I’m in a world where I’m understood, there’s no judgement, and there’s no being “normal”.  So I pass on my therapy to you all, here are some reads to draw attention to that empty chair inside of us and fill it with stories of struggle, of mutual loss, of hope, and everything in between.

You’re not alone.

The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story by Edwidge Danticat

Drawing upon writers, poets, essayists, and her own journey with death Edwidge gives us the final story as a form therapy, of grieving. Each chapter focuses on some aspect of dying; those that commit suicide, those condemned to die, or those living dyingly, preparing for death, as her mom was with a cancer diagnosis. In a way we are all aware that there will be an end it’s what we do during this journey that will tell our story.


The Glass Eye by Jeannie Vanasco

This was the book that captured my loss so completely. It’s surprisingly hard to find books about fathers who were loved. More often than not there’s conflict between the father and the writer and that’s the bulk of the story. But in The Glass Eye its complete love, madness, and utter grief. I loved it so much I personally wrote the author and was shocked when she wrote back; the therapeutic touch authors give to us and us as readers give in return. Thank you again Jeannie.


Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

Sent to live with his aunt after the death of his mother, 11 year old Marcus turns to what locals call the grief cottage as a sort of comfort. His aunt a painter who has captured the grief cottage over the years, but has never truly known its story, leads Marcus to become an investigator of sorts. As he learns about the cottage he creates connections to neighbors and friends on this small coastal island. I love stories of broken people and this was so beautiful and yet still very real.


Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

A novella of sorts, raw and real, lyrical and filled with a touch of magic. Crow has come to tend to the bereaved family after the loss of a mother who has left behind a husband and two boys.


~ posted by Kara P.

2 thoughts on “The Empty Chair”

  1. Didn’t Joan Didion write a book on the loss of her husband and daughter? I looked it up– its actually two books. Blue Nights and the Year of Magical Thinking. I saw a documentary that mentioned them. Love her voice! Thank you for your recommendations! I also am enjoying your International writers in translation series!

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