The Books I Hold Close

Over the past year, I have read several books on grief. Many of which I would skim over briefly and set aside. They just didn’t speak to me. I had all kinds of emotions some polar opposites coming at me all at once. I found myself angry and tangled in a ball of worry, fear, loneliness, guilt and a profound sense of loss. The single book that has helped me cope with waves of grief has been Thich Nhat Hahn’s book titled, “How to Live When a Loved One Dies.”  I have been following and practicing the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn for over a decade and one day, when I was searching online for more books on the topic of grief, It occurred to me to see if Thich Nhat Hahn wrote on the subject. Sure enough, I found this beautiful little book.

The title could not be more straight forward. It truly is a  “How to Cope” book.  It is small in size and large in content.  I often take this book with me when I’m out and about – just in case something inside of me needs a little guidance, I can easily reference it and put the suggestions into practice.

It took me about four months after my husband’s passing before I was able to go into my studio and begin to create again. I had an overwhelming sense of survivors guilt and I struggled with allowing myself to engage with my art practice again. I still struggle with the fact that my husband left behind years and years of poetry and journals all stacked in bins floor to ceiling in a closet at the moment. I am still not ready to engage with most of it. It may take my lifetime to unravel. I have learned to be super kind to myself on this journey.

Self-Care Seeing Your Loved One Within You

“When someone we love passes away, we may suddenly feel abandoned or alone and believe that we have lost them forever. We may experience anguish and feel disconnected from them. However, when we reconnect with ourselves, we reconnect with our loved one, with our ancestors, and with the whole stream of life. When we come home to ourselves, we touch our loved one within us.”

Thich Nhat Hahn,  How to Live When a Loved One Dies Parallax Press, Berkley CA pg 51.

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