I am at a stage in my grieving and mourning process where I want to read all the books. From day one, I have found comfort in knowing that others have survived loss like this. Everyone is careful to say that every loss and every process is different, but still, every loss is loss and grieving is grieving though it is intensely personal and unique to each person.
Nothing is worse than someone telling you they understand, because they have gone through loss before. NO THEY DON’T! But then nothing is better than knowing someone has gone through a loss and learned to live again, while they are pointing out that your loss is different and no two losses are the same.
Let the mourner be the one to decide to take encouragement from your personal loss, don’t try to force that on them. You do not know their pain. You truly don’t I don’t pretend to know the pain of losing a baby, or an adult child, or a spouse when you did not have children, or a spouse of 30 years. I only know my own loss and just the beginning stages of it.
But that was a bit of a rabbit trail from what I sat down to write.
Back to reading.
One of the most important anyone told me in law school was this. “If you are reading a case, and it just doesn’t make sense, consider that you may be misreading it, but also consider that the judge may not be making sense. Possibly the judge is a bad writer, maybe the judge is just plain wrong. Do not always assume that just because you do not agree or do not understand, that you are the one in the wrong.”
I think this is very important while reading all books by fallible men. Read critically.
When it comes to grief books, remember that each experience is unique. What someone else struggles with may never cross your mind and where others find great strength you may find meaningless.
I am currently reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. I think he is a wonderful writer and I have learned so much from him. But I am not grieving like he did. I am grieving my own way. He has said a few things that I so strongly relate to. I totally understand feeling completely exhausted and lazy. I understand not wanting to be alone, but not really being able to listen to others talk. But there are other parts I either do not relate to, or just disagree with, completely.
Since I’ve switched back to real paper books, rather than pure audiobooks, since I started reading these books after Shah’s death, I’ve also started underlining and writing in the margins. I’ve written “disagree” in the margins more than once.
It is a very good book. Many should read it. But only if you are not tempted to read it like it is the infallible word of God.
This is true for all books. Take the good and try not to be injured by the bad.