Joan Didion Book

The Bookshelf , 10 December 2018

Books About Grief

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Among all the merriment of Christmas, loss can feel intensified. There’s something about the contrast of seeing others looking like they’re having a jolly old time seemingly without a care in the world and the raw, gnawing agony of missing someone that makes grief feel more pronounced, slice more deeply.

If that is you, I empathise. I have been there. Sometimes still am (grief isn’t linear and I still find an unexpected pocket of it bubbles to the surface at the most inopportune moments). It’s enormously hard to bear.

I posted a shot of two books I’ve found really moving and helpful on my instagram this weekend and wanted to share them, along with some of the recommendations I received in response, here. If you have more suggestions, please do leave them below //

C.S. Lewis A Grief Observed / This is Lewis’s diary after his wife’s death from cancer. Much of it resonated with me. Here are two passages from pages I folded back to return to:

– ‘At first I was very afraid of going to places where H. and I had been happy – our favourite pub, our favourite wood… Unexpectedly, it makes no difference. Her absence is no more emphatic in those places than anywhere else. It’s not local at all. I suppose that if one were forbidden all salt one wouldn’t notice it much more in any one food than in another. Eating in general would be different, every days t every meal. It is like that The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.’

– ‘One never meets just Cancer, or War, or Unhappiness (or Happiness). One only meets each hour or moment that comes. All manner of ups and downs. Many bad spots in our best times, many good ones in our worst. One never hets the total impact of what we call ‘the thing itself.’

Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking / Many of you messaged to say this book written by Didion in the wake of her daughter falling ill and husband dying had offered you much comfort.

Nick Cave on the loss of his son / This is another one that seemed to strike a collective chord and is doing the rounds online at the moment. I especially like this line: ‘These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be.’

Hope Edelman Motherless Daughters / A few of you said that this was helpful in the wake of losing a mother.

When The Waves Come blog / Skincare brand founder Jessica lost her mum n 2015, and blogs about the feelings surrounding it on this blog – and some of the more practical elements like how to helps someone else who’s grieving and how to begin to find joy again.

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