There are books about where balloons go when they float away. Books about how to feel. How not to feel. Books that dissect grief spiritually, clinically and humorously. Books about the death of husbands. Books about the death of wives. Books about death from disease and death from trauma. Books about losing a military spouse. Books about hospice. Books about losing a child. Books about coping with the loss of a pet. Books about heaven. Books about dinosaurs dying. 37 books to help me heal.
If you are the next person to give me a book, make sure it has 37 matches.
Even fiction that has landed on my nightstand is centered on losing something or someone. Jen Lancaster loses her job and spectacularly spirals downward before regaining better altitude in her cheeky memoirs. Dorothy Koomson’s heroine relives the loss of her past as she comes to grips with the loss of her child. A woman survives the death of her lover by angrily refusing to leave the scene of her carnage and in The Shack grace, forgiveness and peace triumph over loss.
I read “The Shack” weeks after my husband died – I might be the only person on the planet that hated it.
Reliant on friends, family and good behavior for time away from the misery of our house, flimsy red envelopes became my salvation. For months, movies that he had pre-loaded into our delivery queue arrived. I did not laugh at the comedies and shed no tears over doomed romances. I was bored by action-packed thrillers. Academy-award winners fell flat in my living room and spouses died again and again as Halle picked through the ashes, love letters brought Hillary back to life, John found his way again after Grace was gone and Clive brought the boys back.
At each turn, I was reminded of the simple fact that the life we had – and the dreams we still hadn’t realized – had evaporated quickly and painfully like dry brush in the path of vicious summer flames. Death was a bully, taunting me on the playground of our former life. I am still here. And no amount of wine is going to make me go away.
You’re right. No amount of time with my merry friends has made you disappear. And it’s not like we haven’t tried. But I’ve never been afraid of schoolyard bullies. So even if you do insist on haunting every corner and crevice, there’s something you should know.
You do not have a starring role in the next chapter in the book of me.