This project is an invitation to break the taboo. An inspiration and information channel for the ones who go through the grieving process and the ones who want to help

The good companion

The grieving process can be less lonely in the company of books that reflect our feelings. This is an eclectic list of authors and sensitive texts that teach, inspire and move.

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Mourning Diary – Roland Barthes – For nearly two years, the author wrote short and exciting notes about the devastating process of grieving that he faced after the death of his mother at the age of 84.

February 18, 1978

Bereavement: I learned that it is unchangeable and sporadic: it does not wear out because it is not continuous. If interruptions, distractions toward something else come from a worldly agitation, harassment, depression gets worse. But if these “changes” (which are sporadic) go toward the silence, the wound of grief goes to a higher thought. Triviality = / Nobility (loneliness).

March 19, 1978

M. and I feel that, paradoxically (as habit says: work, distract yourself, see people) it is when we are pushed, busy, demanded, externalized, we feel the greatest sorrow. The calm, loneliness makes it less painful.

 

Living without regret: Human Experience in Light of Tibetan Buddhism – Arnaud Maitland

Master in philosophy and Tibetan Buddhist psychology, the author bases his ideas on the death of his mother – who died with Alzheimer – and the grieving process to describe the suffering, life and death as part of the same concept of impermanence.

Living without regret is about impermanence and its related pain, big and small, and the related topic of personal responsibility and questions about the possibilities and human limitation. These topics seem especially purposeful when a growing segment of society has reached or is approaching old age. Old age and illness brings with them a particular kind of suffering to which our society doesn’t seem to offer much guidance.

According to Buddhist teachings, “there’s no need to fear suffering, others or ours. Buddha teaches us to seize the opportunities of life to become fully human, facing whatever it is that shows up without guilt or charges”.

When we face our failures honestly and give up the self-pity and shame, we become stronger. With this power, we can correct our mistakes. Time never stops giving us new chances. 

By accepting the certainty of death, realizing the truth that impermanence is a feature that can’t be split from existence, and daring to live accordingly, we begin to flourish as human beings. So when we look back, we will not need to fear or regret, for we will see a life that was worth living.

 

O Brilho do Bronze (The shine of bronze) – Boris Fausto (Cosac Naify). The Historian’s grieving journal after losing his wife and lifetime companion, Cynira. A mix of sadness, humor and love on the regular cemetery visits notes, the daily memories and melancholy challenges of a lonely life at the age of 85. *This book has no English version yet. 

The end of your life book club – Will Schwalbe. A beautiful autobiographical story of the author, a book publisher who assisted his mother in her terminal disease, an admirable woman whose two last years of life are transformed by reading, next to her son, who goes with her to her chemotherapy sessions. The eclectic choice of titles, from best-selling books to Shakespeare, through self-help, are useful more than anything, for talks between mother and child that are deep and poetic, a story of love and mutual admiration.

H is for Hawk– Helen Macdonald – in this poignant autobiographical story, the award-winning British author tells how devastated she was by the loss of her father and how she experienced grief in the isolation of falconry, something she has always been fascinated with and an exceptional practitioner. This time, when training a young goshawk (one of the most formidable and magnificent specimens in the family of hawks) in the practice of hunting, Helen, on the brink of madness, immerses herself in the wildlife, letting her consumed by physical and psychological pain.

Here’s a feeling. Loss. Loss for Grieving. Deprivation. Bereavement, a word originated from the Old English bereavian, which means “to deprive, to take off, to seize, to steal.” Taken, stolen. It happens to everyone. But you go through grieving lonely. A shocking loss cannot be shared, no matter how hard you try. Imagine, I said to some friends, at that time, in the free attempt to explain, imagine all your family in a room. Yes, all of them. All the people you love. So, what happens is that someone enters the room and punches everyone in the stomach. Very strong. Then you fall to the ground. Right? What happens is this: you share the same kind of pain, exactly the same, but are too busy experiencing total agony to feel something besides complete loneliness. And that’s it!