When my husband died unexpectedly and suddenly in February 2017 gifts upon gifts were given to us by friends, family, and the community - heck, even strangers - and many of those included books; grief books. And I’d thumb through some of them… actually I thumbed through all of them. And maybe some I’ll pick up later because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for some of them right after Eric passed away… you see, I was in a bad place. I was mad. Angry. But didn’t know it. So it was hard reading some of them about how it was God’s purpose and part of his plan for this to happen. Which, quite frankly, I call bullshit on.
No way did God want Eric to die and leave us behind - leave his two little girls behind without an earthly daddy. I just don’t believe that. But I do believe that bad shit happens and even through the storm, God will be with us and get us through this - even if we reject him for a time…
What I do want to share with you are a few favorite books that I did read - the books that kept me turning the page - that I felt helped me right away.
3 favorite books for me, and one for my children.
I hope that you don’t know anyone who needs these, but it’s inevitable that you probably do. And I hope that this will help you give them something that will help them, especially the children. Perhaps you could include a little dragonfly gift or ornament with the dragonfly book. A keepsake… to help them remember. Just a thought. These are hard times, so, I get it.
(and yes, these are amazon affiliate links… so I’ll probably make around $0.12 per book if you buy one from these links. By law, I have to tell you they’re affiliate links. There. Now it’s done.)
Second Firsts, by Christina Rasmussen
This is by far my favorite book when it comes to re-entering into the world after deep grief. When your spouse dies, much of your identity also dies with him. I wasn’t expecting that. And this book helped me make baby-steps back into the world and rediscover who I was, what I enjoyed, as well as just encouraging me to live again.
Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
Sheryl Sandberg, who works for Facebook lost her husband suddenly while on vacation with him. This book shares research on finding strength through adversity as well as her personal insight and experience. It’s about finding the will within yourself to find joy and having resiliency through what I call “the shitstorm.”
Journeying Through Grief, by Kenneth C. Haugk
These are four short Christian books that my church actually sent me one at a time. They’re the only Christian books that I read right after Eric died - and I say that and I mean in the first year after Eric died. They were easy to digest and I felt like when my church sent them to me (I don’t remember the time frame) I found myself nodding in agreement, relating to the short stories within the books, and putting them down thinking I’m on the right track and having some new ideas of how to deal with Eric’s death.
Water Bugs and Dragonflies, by Doris Stickney
FOR THE KIDS, BUT IT’LL MAKE AN IMPACT ON YOU, TOO!! The link below is actually for the coloring book. Read it first, then color. It was my favorite children story that helped explain death to my kids - and keep in mind, I had older kids! The girls were 8 and 11 when Eric died. In a nutshell, the waterbugs live in the water and something pulls them one by one to the surface, but then they never return… the story is from the perspective of one of the waterbugs. And when he goes to the surface, he gets his wings and becomes a dragonfly… he can see all the waterbugs, loves them from afar, but cannot return to them… as Eric watches over us, with his wings.