Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief, A Review
While still in the early haze of my grief, my two English teacher buddies came to stay for awhile. Knowing me so well, they brought a stack of well-researched books. This one was on top.
This book has been such a gift. I was in such a frantic state that I started reading through the selections at the beginning, "January 1st," even though it was the beginning of summer. Once I realized what I'd done, I just kept chugging away. A few of the seasonal references were a bit off, but in the dead of winter, it was refreshing to read about the warmth, newness, and promise of resurrection that comes with Spring. With that said, you can start reading the book at any point! If you need to be reminded of the heat of summer or the color of Fall leaves, just start there.
Each daily meditation begins with a quote. I love a good quote. I could curl up and read Bartlett's Familiar Quotations the way some people immerse themselves in Austen. Hickman chooses insightful, poignant, and inspirational quotes.
Hickman then writes a daily reflection. She lost her sixteen year-old daughter, so the brief meditations are personal. She frequently cites examples of the loss of a spouse or parent, so this book is not exclusively for those of us who've lost children.
Each day then closes with an italicized encouragement, charge, or challenge. I am Type-A practical, so I loved leaving the one-page daily readings with something to do. You feel so lost in the first months of grief. You forget how to complete basic tasks. You lose track of everything. These simple daily thoughts gave me courage to take another step forward.
I highly recommend Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. It's a wonderful companion through the first year of grief. If nothing else, it reminds you that grief is work. It's long, arduous work. If you're into your 2nd or 10th year of grief, and you never did the work at the beginning of your journey, this book could help you process your loss in three paragraphs a day. It's never too late to start.
If you are highly sensitive to non-Christian texts, this is not the book for you. Some of the quotes are from other religious texts, and she talks about the afterlife and "god" in very, very vague terms. I have a certainty about seeing my son again, so Whitman's few politically correct./New Age-sounding references were distracting but not upsetting.