When a book stays with you…

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I have always been an avid reader, with a few neighborhood friends but not many school friends once I learned to read and discovered this magical place called the public library that let you borrow books for free I was hooked. I will never forget my excitement every summer as we packed up to go to the cabin we would go to the library, there was always so many I wanted to take out but I was always only aloud two, I think my mom was afraid of them getting lost…  I spent many days of my childhood tucked away in my room reading, then as I became a teen reading into the early mornings. as a young adult I continued my affair with books though not as much as I would have liked, having to work, sleep, deal with life as an adult but also have some sort of a life. Then this magical thing called pregnancy happened and I was allowed to read, all the time again, I added the necessary parenting and child birth books to my repertoire along with my novels. who would have known that that would be the last time I loved to read…

Not right away though, after the birth of my first son, I read to him aloud while he nursed, it is very good for infants to hear their mothers voice as well as a large spread of vocabulary, or so I learnt in one of my previously read baby books. But then they start moving and you don’t get to sit still again…

Soon after the birth of  my second son two years later I realized I hadn’t read a book in a very long time, I was too tired. I was haggard and angry with two little ones that needed all my time. My husband worked long days but also traveled a lot, he saw this change in me I suppose it was the beginning of me losing myself into my children. We went to Mexico after our second turned two, I had not read a full book in almost three years. I was feeling very unhappy. A neighbor at the time who is now a very close friend lent me EAT PRAY LOVE by Liz Gilbert, ‘you have to read this!’ she said. So I reluctantly brought it along knowing I would never get a moment to myself to do so.  I will never forgot the one afternoon, my husband said as the kids napped in the room, I have to answer emails, why don’t you go for a swim or something… I was pleasantly surprised, I grabbed my book and ran out the door, not returning for a few hours, finishing from cover to cover this book that I just had to read. I was changed by the words I read, I connected to Liz’s struggle with her life. I too wanted to be a better me. That book stayed with me for a long time, I re read it over and over for the next few years not wanting to stop the feeling of hope it gave me.

eat pray love          secret         no death no fear

Fast forward  a few years, we fell back in love, our kids became easy little humans no more menacing , time consuming, toddlers. life was good. Life was great! We even finally took a solo trip together to Hawaii – were we conceived…

When we got pregnant again all I could think of was why? not now. everything in our life was so good, why did we go and do something so stupid. I cried and I cried, knowing the hard road another baby would bring. Well not to worry, it was even harder than we could have ever anticipated. The pregnancy was “normal”  but my new baby was not, she was born upside down and backwards, not breathing. She spent her first four weeks of life having surgery and brain scans. She came home for two short weeks and almost died on our living room floor when she stopped breathing, I gave her CPR and she was rushed back to the hospital, where we learned she had an abnormal trachea and would never breathe on her own. She died a week later. Life teaches us so many different things through hardship, if we are willing to see them. But at that moment my life went dark.

After she died I only read books on grief, fiction and non fiction. I needed answers to my thoughts, I wanted understanding to my feelings of hopelessness; my grief, a feeling that was so overwhelming. Article after article, book after book. All on death, grief, bereavement, loss, suicide and coping. The one that I read over and over trying to accept my loss was No death no Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh.

My son said a few years later in a very painful way, you used to laugh when I tickled you.

I also used to read for pleasure too…

Today, five and a half years after my daughters death, I have half read a hundred books, nothing could catch me, nothing mattered, they were all dumb stories.

I did finish a few, for I went back to College wanting a change, a distraction, needing to learn. I read Frankenstein, The Watchmen, Tale of two cities, The Road, The Island of Doctor Moreau to recall a few. All great books by equally great authors. But not until just recently have I noticed I can read with enjoyment again, I think my taste is much more ‘real’ than it was but who knows that would not have happened over time with age.

So I share The Secret  Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton, the first large novel I have read in less than two weeks that I did not want to put down, that I have thought about its contents long after I closed its pages. That I think will stay will me for a long time just like Eat Pray Love did/has.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is about a young family that suffers a tragedy and how they come out on the other side by moving for the summer to a small town where their family is originally from and learning about life, death and the earth. This book touched me in a way that has not happened in a long time. It had yes, my need to examine grief checked off, but it had side stories about different forms of grief, a grief for what was, for what man and greed is doing to the earth, how small southern towns still have a long list of bigotries and prejudices, how society in general still needs to find acceptance. With adventure and truth the family slowly heals, though will be forever changed.

If you are looking for a new read I highly recommend this book.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Birds of Sorrow

birds of sorrow

You cannot prevent birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.

  • Chinese proverb

 

This quote, I found in the book ‘Finding your way’ grieving the death of your child, a book given to me by Canuck Place. http://www.canuckplace.org  This book became my bible in helping me accept my grief and understand what was happening. The book ‘No death No Fear’ By Thich Nhat Hanh taught me that we cannot take blame for what we do not control. We all live we all die, some lives are long some are short all are meaningful.

Namaste,

Sheri

 

Grief and Loss Books

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MY TOP BOOKS ON GRIEF AND LOSS

In the dark hours and days/weeks after someone dies we often lay in the literal dark not able to shut off our minds, only wanting to sleep so the pain is not so physical; literal, as it is mental in those early days. Consumed with anguish, grief and loss. We search endlessly for books, articles, websites to help us understand what we are feeling, to know we are not alone, to help up cope. I have read many, many books on grief in the 5 short years since my daughters death, the ones that helped me cope were actually the fictional stories of parents suffering though a tragedy, in a very morbid way I was comforted. But I also read many books written specifically to help the bereaved and as I, 5 years ago would have loved to have stumbled upon a list of grief books, I didn’t, so I will share the top that helped me then and the ones I have read more recently to this day, when my daughter should be 5.5 years old.

#1 –   “no death, no fear” , (2002)  by Thich Nhat Hanh

#2 – “A Grief Observed”,  (1961) by C.S. Lewis

#3 – “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief”, (1994)by Martha Whitmore Hickman

#4 – “The Bereaved Parent”, (1977) by Harriett S. Schiff

#5 – No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One”,   (1996) by Carla Fine.

#6 – “The Trauma of Everyday Life”,  (2013)  by Mark Epstein

#7 – “Wave”, (2013) by Sonali Deraniyagala

#8 – “Option B”,  (2017) by Sheryl Sandberg

#9 – “A Gift of Hope” (2012) & “His bright Light: The story of Nick Traina” (1998) by Danielle Steele

#10 – “Her”, (2013)  by Christa Parravani

#11 – “A Wind from the East” , (2016)  by Wendy Dartnall

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

5 months after my girl died these were my thoughts….

5 months after Lily died my Nona died, I found this quote or it found me and it really stuck and made sense….

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body,/I am life without boundaries,/I have never been born and I have never died./Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies/All manifests from the basis of consciousness./Since beginning-less time I have always been free./Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out./Birth and death are only a game of hide and seek./So smile to me and take my hand and wave good bye./Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before./We shall always be meeting again at the true source,/Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”

 From the book ‘ no death no fear’  by-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

July 9th, 2012

I wake up every day, wondering what today will hold, will this be a good day and by good I mean not a constant day of reminders that I have lost my little girl, there is no such thing as a good day in this new life, there is still a few good moments, like when I can enjoy my two boys and watch them laugh and play and really see happiness on their face. That is a beautiful moment, one I try to catch before my sadness comes back. I used to hurt, I was in physical pain when I would look at pictures of Lily, however now they make me smile a little because she was just so darn cute, perfect in every- well on the outside perfect in every way. But it still tugs at my chest if I stare too long. What would she look like now? Would she be crawling, she would be 6mths old now if she was alive.

This was supposed to be a whole new year for me, with a little baby girl in tow, but instead I tow around an invisible chain of pain attached to my broken heart. I watch mothers pushing there strollers, carrying their babies on their fronts and backs, nursing them. I look away, the shock of the realization that that was supposed to be me is too much to bare. I wonder if they think I am rude, a part of me wants to scream-‘GET AWAY FROM ME!! DON’T YOU KNOW MY BABY DIED!!’ I know this is irrational, but I don’t care I want them to know how much I am suffering, that it is not fair they have a healthy baby and I didn’t, and now in some sick life I have to live I am forced every day to have new mothers, babies, little girls, toddlers, in my view point constantly? It sucks! It’s confusing and evil.

July 30th 2012

I woke up fairly ok, I could even say someone content- maybe because we (the boys and I slept till 830! wow- I know) but also because I just had 2 amazing weeks with my family- we did so many lovely things together and just were together.

I also saw lots of friends over the last 2 weeks- I am learning that our relationships with each other are all we have. I took the boys to a park by our old house, one we haven’t been to since I was pregnant, it was nice, they played, I watched.

And then a women with 2 little girls- about 1 and 4 was there, watching Hayden watch them hurts, as they were leaving the mom says ‘come on lily, come to mommy’ to the 1 year old- I cried, I walked away so my boys wouldn’t see my tears, I got into the car and the song playing was one that always reminds me of her, I got home and an amazing friend texted me that she was thinking of me today- it dawns on me- what is today? Oh it’s the 30th. My daughter would have been 7 months old. I wrote this poem for her. As though sending it out into the universe, she’ll get it.

7 months ago my heart broke forever
7 months ago my child was brought back to life- only to die 7 weeks later
7 months ago my world came crashing down around me
7 months ago I wished it was me that couldn’t breathe
7 months ago I lost

We need to take time to smell the flowers.  Especially the Lily flowers. We named out daughter Lily after the flower because they are beautiful and fragrant but also it is the flower that Steve brought me on our first date and subsequent anniversaries. But please just don’t send me ones at a funeral or to my house when I’m grieving! Because they die. And I don’t want flowers I want my baby.