Bus Reads for September

Today is my dad’s birthday, he would have been 63 years old, but sadly I lost him to a sudden heart attack five months ago. Although my grief has settled a bit he is very much on my mind this month so I thought I’d use books as a form of therapy; seeing the commonality of loss and gain a sense of normalcy in something that doesn’t sit so comfortably in one’s reality.

H is for Hawk Find H is for Hawk in the SPL catalogby Helen Macdonald. I wasn’t two pages in before a sense of familiarity crept under my skin. The role of nature in her life, a father’s wisdom of patience, and the overwhelming and selfish sense of loss that causes you to turn in on yourself. I also discovered there was a thirty year difference between her and her father, just like me and mine. Helen and I are in the same club; that was the instant draw for me, but I also got lost in the tale of this woman’s obsession. I found myself forgetting about my own loss pages and pages at a time and began to wander with her in the journey of her and her goshawk. Continue reading “Bus Reads for September”

Finding ways to honor losses at the holidays

angel of grief
Angel of Grief monument in the Hill family plot, Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. Photo by Michael Schaffner.

by Ann G.

The winter holidays are a time of cheer and cozy family times—for many of us, but not all.   More than we realize, many people feel past losses more acutely at this time of year, and even changes from the usual rituals can bring sadness.   Beyond knowing that a bittersweet feeling at holiday times (and anniversaries) is normal, there are resources to turn to for help, and for ideas that will help us cope. Continue reading “Finding ways to honor losses at the holidays”

Finding books to help deal with death

In the last month, four people have died suddenly or tragically who I did not know well but I am close friends with some of their families, friends or co-workers.  And, I’ve just heard about a nephew planning to get married later this year.  So I eerily feel like I’m writing a story called “Four Funerals and a Wedding.”  During this emotional time, knowing that I work in libraries, some friends have asked me for suggestions on what to read maybe now or later.  Here are just a few of the helpful ones found by searching in the catalog.

Moving Beyond Loss: Real Answers to Real Questions from Real People deals with grief following situations that include sudden death and declining health. Experiences are grouped in categories covering the beginning, stages of grief, and unique situations. It’s moving to read the many true and hard stories about what others are going through. Russell Friedman and John W. James have written a few books together on grief.  This one provides many heartfelt responses that help grievers, family and friends Continue reading “Finding books to help deal with death”

The Modern Widower

The neighborhood is alive with gardeners mowing lawns,
                                       and trimming hedges,
                 the mechanized hiss of twirling sprinklers
          and for those just joining us,
           it’s a beautiful day and Hailey is dead and I have nothing to do,
nowhere to be. ~ How to Talk to a Widower

From 1960s TV sitcoms such as the Andy Griffith Show and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father we have seen the widower portrayed, but what about the modern widower’s story? How does one truly handle the loss when the setting isn’t picture perfect Mayberry?

After the death of his wife, Joe Warr, played by Clive Owen, has to step back from his career as a traveling sportwriter and come to terms with not only the tragic loss of his wife, but the raising of their six-year-old son without a mother. When his teenage son from a previous marriage joins the mix, it is an experiment of raising sons without female influence. With his “just say yes” philosophy — which includes water balloon fights indoors, riding on the hood of the car and jumping into bathtubs — the standards of parenting are stretched and altered. In the movie The Boys Are Back, which is based on the memoir The Boys are Back in Town by Joe Carr, life may be Continue reading “The Modern Widower”