Reading & Grief

imagesI love to read. I have loved to read ever since I spent a summer ,sitting under a tree, at the lake reading “Gone With The Wind” when I was a young girl. A good non-fiction book will get the same attention as a fiction book. I really love to read.

After my mom died, it took almost a year before I could get back to reading. A book just could not hold my focus. I acknowledged that this was part of grieving for the loss of my mom. One day I picked up a book, and I was off again.

When Jim died I once again found that I could not read. Six months after his death I started to read again. Reading fiction is my book of choice. I have tried several times to read history books, self help books or spiritual books, books I have loved to read in the pass, without success. I have temporarily lost interest.

Fiction novels, now there is a different story. I have been reading and reading and reading. I love going to the library and wandering the stacks. I never know what will catch my eye. Often I will pick up 5 or 6 books. I come home knowing that some of them may never be read. I start them and if they don’t hold my interest, back to the library they go. Sometimes I will really love a book and the writing style of that particular author. I get online and go to my local library and request the rest of that author’s books.

A few days ago I finished a novel titled “Broadchurch”. I loved it. Now I have requested the BBC television series based on this novel. I anxiously await picking up season 1 at the library.

imagesI also discovered the pleasure of audio books this summer. I loved that I could connect with the library on line and download audio books onto my iPad. Some days I got so caught up in the story I was a little disappointed when the driving day ended. A few times I found myself listening to the end of the story while I ate dinner.

My therapist strongly recommended that I do something fun and get out of the house every day. Often I will take my latest book and go to the local coffee house and read for a few hours. It is good to get out and be around people without having to converse with them. I have been going to this particular coffee house enough that they know me by name and know what I usually order (Earl Gray with Vanilla, Steeped). It has certainly become a comfort zone for me. Oh, they also have this wonderful green arm chair there that I love to sit in.

I understand that reading is an escape. It also is such a joy. I feel that if I need to escape into a good book then so be it. I am happy I am reading. Grieving shows up in the most interesting ways in my life. I have not been able to completely grasp why I stopped reading when my mom and Jim died. I believe that grief is so all encompassing that it is hard to get myself focused on something that makes me think and often feel. I believe that reading fiction is easier for me because I don’t have to think as much and I can just get carried away in the fantasy of it all. A pure and wonderful escape.

I have attempted, over the past three years, to understand this process I am going through. So much of it is a mystery. I think I am done with it and then, there it is again. Maybe when I start reading non-fiction again it will mark another passage through grief.

Meanwhile, anyone have any good books to recommend?