Title: Beyond Tears, living after losing a child (revised ed.)
Author: Ellen Mitchell
Summary: This book tells the story of 9 women (and their children) and their experience of losing their children. They are from many different backgrounds and they lost their children at many different ages. It is written in an interview style about one topic at a time. Reading it is like listening in to a conversation with like-minded women.
Tone: Lighter, Bitter, Callous
Audience: Adults-but probably more women
My opinion: This book is good when needing to not feel alone. While it has great ideas and points in it, there is a bitterness that I am left with whenever I read it. I don’t know if it is because the women are so honest and it happened a long time ago, but they speak very at ease about their resentments. I read most of it, but I don’t think I would read it again.
Title: Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart
Author: Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD
Summary: A book to help remember, love and cherish your child after they die. There are very easy to read, short one-page ideas to help move through the healing process and honour the memory of your child.
Tone: Neutral, Loving, Gentle, Thoughtful
My opinion: A very lovely book that helps give ideas and items to consider after your child dies. I would buy it again. The book has nice, short little ideas in it that do not take a lot of time. The re-readability is high after a long period of time. After I read through this book, I bought a companion book called ‘healing a grandparent’s grieving heart’ and gave them to my parents and in-laws. They both benefited from it greatly and enjoyed them.
Title: The Death of a Child
Author: Elaine E. Stillwell
Summary: A woman who loses her children to a freak accident and how she copes with their step-father. She gives caring insight into a life of faith and what happens at the moment of death and the times following the death of her two children. She has one surviving child that she speaks about. Insights into life following the funeral is written about.
Tone: Hopeful, Honest
Audience: Adult, Step-parent
My opinion: This was the first book I read after Henry died. It resonated with a lot of my own feelings about Henry’s passing and my continued living. It gives insight into how a partner grieves and what life looks like when resuming work. There are ideas about how to manage different life events and caring for a surviving child. I really enjoyed this book as it was written in a hopeful way amidst tragedy.
Title: When God Doesn’t Fix It
Author: Laura Story
Summary: About a newly married woman who is serving God in her daily life. She talks about what it is like to be newly married and also receive a life-changing health diagnosis. Struggles are described in a real way that encourages honesty and humility.
Tone: Honest, Positive,
Audience: Anyone above age 14
My opinion: I really liked hearing about Laura’s struggles even when she trusts God to fix it and He doesn’t. I like hearing the gory details because this kind of honesty isn’t spoken often. I liked how positive she was when talking about the hardships of life and trying to manage running a home when life throws a curveball. It resonated with me and encouraged me to write about my own struggles and feelings about them.
Title: Man’s Search for Meaning
Author: Viktor Frankl
Summary: A book written by a psychologist and doctor about his time living in a concentration camp. He talks about what he saw and felt with vivid details. It is candid and very easily understandable. At the end of the book he talks about logotherapy in psychology-speak.
Tone: Heavy, Honest, Sad
My opinion: I am very drawn to honesty and hardship, so for me this was a great book. Listening to it was only a little difficult because of the horrors that are described. They resonated with me because I, too, feel that I have gone through a horror. He talks about losing his family and the mental games he plays with himself to keep him living and breathing. I read it when I crave honesty and depth and sadness to reflect my own.
Title: Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved)
Author: Kate Bowler
Summary: Kate writes about the struggles of her life when getting a PhD, living in poverty, having a miscarriage, IVF, and having stage 4 cancer. She also talks in depth about being a Christian in a time of the prosperity gospel.
Tone: Sad, Hardship, Honesty, Christian
My opinion: I listened to the audiobook, which Kate read herself and I wouldn’t have chosen another format after hearing her read her book. There are moments when her emotion shows through, which makes the book all the more powerful. I loved it. For me, it was a reflection of all the heavy thoughts and feelings that comes with defeat in an uncertain world. AND it provides a Christian thought process in a fallen world. Even though I only had the chance to hear it once, I will be purchasing it to ‘read’ (or listen to) again and again in the future. She comes across as a friend who knows sadness and hardship.