I love to read. In fact, I’m such an uber-nerd that when I was a kid, I would be grounded from reading, and rightfully so. I would be reading a book when I should be doing things like cleaning my room.
When this widowhood journey began, I had so many books flung at me; I didn’t know what to do with myself. And I couldn’t read. I was so underwater, I would read the same lines over and over again, the words finding no place to settle. I would dutifully try, reading was a place that I had found refuge my whole life, but I would pick up the book the next night and re-read what I had read the night before, because nothing had found a home in my brain, and I couldn’t remember that I had already read it. Finally, I gave myself the grace to quit reading anything for a while, for “business or pleasure,” meaning, I didn’t read any grief books or novels.
I was given several copies of several books, all from sweet, sweet friends. I have a shelf full of C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed” and also several copies of Sittser’s “A Grace Disguised.” These had been helpful to others when they were grieving, and not knowing what to do with a widow, they gave books. Not knowing what to do with myself, I received them and put them on my shelf. I tried to read them several times, but I have found that they are just not helpful to me. I find that I really appreciate quotes of C.S. Lewis’, and that they can be extremely helpful, in small doses, when added in a note, but if I try to extract them myself from the page it just doesn’t happen. As I read his stuff I find that it makes me sadder, that I don’t relate so much as take on his grief. So I’ve put it down once again.
But, recently it was suggested that I read an Anne Lamott book that I somehow hadn’t already read (bizarre, because she is one of my favorites and I have read this particular book’s sequel). It’s supposed to be about faith, but really, several of the stories are about her losing her best friend, Pammy. I’m only halfway through the book, but in her delightful, hilarious, uncouth way, she’s helping me put words to things that I have been struggling to communicate. She said, “Grief is a lot like narcolepsy.” Which hasn’t necessarily been true for me, but made me laugh. And “I felt very lonely. I thought maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad if I didn’t have such big pieces of Pammy still inside me, but then I thought, I want those pieces in me for the rest of my life, whatever it costs me.” And that is more true about me than anything else. I want those Sawan pieces in me. The painful part is the hollowing out around them to make room for the new stuff in my life.