Some ideas for further reading and reflection on the themes of grief and loss

A Grief Observed, C S Lewis, Faber & Faber (£7.99)

A Grief Observed comprises the reflections of the great scholar and Christian on the death of his wife after only a few short years of marriage. Painfully honest in its dissection of his thoughts and feelings, this is a book that details his paralysing grief, bewilderment and sense of loss in simple and moving prose.

Invaluable as an insight into the grieving process just as much as it is as an exploration of religious doubt, A Grief Observed will continue to offer its consoling insights to a huge range of readers, as it has for over fifty years.

 

You’ll get over it, Virginia Ironside, Penguin, (£8.99)

The death of a loved one is the most traumatic experience any of us face. No two people cope with it the same way: some cry while others remain dry-eyed; some discover growth through pain, others find arid wastes; some feel angry, others feel numb. Virginia Ironside deals with this complicated and sensitive issue with great frankness and insight, drawing on other’s people’s accounts as well as her own experiences.

 

Grief is a thing with Feathers, Max Porter, Faber & Faber (£7.99)

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

 

On Death and Dying, Elisabeth Kübler Ross (£11.25)

One of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s famous interdisciplinary seminar on death, life, and transition. In this remarkable book, Dr. Kübler-Ross first explored the now-famous five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations, she gives the reader a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve that patient, and the patient’s family, bringing hope to all who are involved.

 

And some films that might stimulate reflection

The Way

Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to France to collect the remains of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as ‘The Way of Saint James’.  Driven by his profound sadness and desire to understand his lost son, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage himself.

 

A Song for Marion

Song for Marion is a heartwarming comedic drama following shy, grumpy pensioner Arthur as he is reluctantly inspired by his beloved wife Marion to join a highly unconventional local choir. At odds with his son James, it is left to charismatic choir director Elizabeth to try and persuade Arthur that he can learn to embrace life.

 

UP

Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Junior Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life.

 

If you have any other suggestions of books and films that you have found helpful, please feel free to share these in the comments below.

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