In the months following my husband’s death I began actively seeking books to read to give me comfort, empathy, and advice. Some were very helpful, some so-so, some too full of platitudes, and some, though not fantastic, contained some great nuggets. I want to share some of my findings in the hope that others might find them useful. After each book I will include a quote that was helpful to me.
- A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sitser – Sittser lost his wife, mother, and young daughter all in the same car accident, leaving him to raise his other three children as a single dad.
“The pain of loss is severe because the pleasure of life is so great; it demonstrates the supreme value of what is lost.”
- The Undistracted Widow by Carol Cornish. This book is from a Christian perspective, and It has some good nuggets in it. Carol lost her husband of 38 years to lung cancer.
“I need new routines even for ordinary days.”
- Leaving Darkland by Ed Wallen. I knew Ed, but I met him years after he lost his daughter in an accident. Then, last year, just a few months after I lost my husband, he also died. His wife and I have become close, now being in this widowhood/sisterhood together. Ed was a very devout Christian and this book is written from that perspective.
“Friends can play a vital part in the recovery process. Life is not meant to be lived as solo, but as a chorus.”
- A Widow’s Journey by Gayle Roper. I found this one to be one of the most helpful and it is one I have not passed on as I will probably reread it. She lost her husband, also named Chuck, and so much of what she says I could have written.
“I sometimes thought how much I’d love to do what I wanted when I wanted. Now there’s no one to build my life around. I set my own schedule, and it’s scary to have the freedom I thought I wanted.”
- Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle. This book is a little different. I am a huge fan of Madeleine L’Engle and have read many of her books. This one goes back and forth between the story of her marriage and the last days of her husband’s life.
“Music, too, tends to pluck at the chords of emotion. Tears are healing. I do not want to cry when I am not alone, but by myself I don’t try to hold the tears back. In a sense this solitary weeping is a form of prayer.” –
- The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John James Angell. Angell was a clergyman and writer who in his lifetime lost two children, a wife, and then remarried a widow. Written in 1841, the truths here are still pertinent today.
“And oh! the sense of loss that presses like a dead weight upon your spirit, and converts this whole busy world around you, into one vast wilderness.”
- A Time to Grieve by Carol Staudacher . This one, a collection of writings by different people who have experienced grief, contained some good nuggets
“But when we are grieving, it is our personal stories… that become so important. If we tell the story of our loved one’s death twice a day, three times a day, or more, and we still have the urge to tell it, then that is what we must do.”
- A Path Through Suffering by Elizabeth Elliot. Elizabeth was a woman who knew what it was like to lose a husband; twice in fact. Her first husband was speared to death as a missionary in Ecuador.
“…we need to be shown again and again that humble, ordinary things can be very holy and very full of God.”