7th August 2022
The subject of someone dying, or losing someone or something important, has always been a popular theme in literature and film. If you have recently suffered a bereavement of any kind, it may feel like delving into books and media around the subject of grief is the last thing that you want to do, and that’s fair enough.
Others, however, take great comfort and even lessons from the depiction of grief through the page or screen. During my time as a bereavement counsellor in Harrogate and online, I have seen this often: people learning something new, or seeing grief from a different angle, or simply feeling seen, after watching or reading something produced by a person they’ve never met – such is the beauty of the arts.
And so, if you are grieving and feel like perhaps watching or reading something on the subject might help, here are some recommendations.
A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis (1961)
Written by C.S. Lewis, famous for his Chronicles of Narnia books, A Grief Observed is one of the most famous pieces of writing on grief. His wife, Joy, was dying when they married, and after her death he wrote a series of meditations on the sensation of grief, and how it fits into someone’s life. Despite being over 60 years old now, the words are universal – something anyone can relate to, no matter what stage of grief they are in.
H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald (2014)
Unlike the above, this book isn’t explicitly about grief, but more how one copes with it. The narrative follows Helen, the protagonist, who loses her father. She decides to train a goshawk, and the book becomes a powerful example of how one can use creativity and other forms of expression as a way of processing their grief.
The Babadook (2014)
A truly thrilling, cutting psychological horror, The Babadook is essentially a film about denial, loneliness, and ultimately acceptance. The film follows a widowed mother, who refuses to listen to her son’s claims that a monster has escaped from a children’s book and now haunts their lives from a basement. That process of acknowledging the monster and accepting it, as is the case in this film, acts as an extremely accurate allegory for how we process someone dying.
Ordinary People (1980)
Ordinary People is a classic film about grief. It follows the main protagonist, Conrad Jarret, through trying to commit suicide following the death of his brother to seeking reconnection with his family through the help of a psychotherapist. This film is particularly useful for grief because it covers so many of the emotions that come up within the family unit, such as guilt, anger, depression, denial, anger, loneliness, and confusion.
You might not be ready to watch or read something about grief, however, and that’s perfectly okay. Everyone grieves in their own way, at their own pace, and I am here to help you along that process through confidential bereavement counselling in Harrogate and online. Give me a call whenever you like to arrange our first session.