Raw, honest and personal thoughts to comfort you on the journey through grief. Grief can often feel like a gnawing homesickness for a place where you used to live, but can never return to. Richard Littledale has written a series of short, candid thoughts and reflections from his own experience of widowhood that will resonate and bring comfort and understanding to anyone experiencing bereavement. These thoughts are written as postcards from the land of grief, as they are used to convey a message from this foreign country of bereavement. Postcards are, by definition, a small snapshot of a feeling at anyone time, not long and drawn out essays, and these thoughts provide an accessible way to identify feelings and draw hope from a fellow traveller. Richard also includes practical resources and advice on the grieving process, and reflects on how his faith in God has sustained him. The book is deliberately designed to be able to dip in and out of as required at the point of need. It is also useful for those who want to give a helpful book to comfort a friend, or for anyone wanting to help understand how their bereaved loved one might be feeling.
This is a very easy and compelling read. The book is split into three distinct sections: first Richard Littledale tells his own personal story of losing his wife; the middle section contains a series of postcards; and the final section touches on faith issues and some hints and tips of being a widow/widower.
The overall concept that Richard portrays of being in a different land, perfectly captures what it is like to go through the first year of bereavement. It is comforting and assuring to identify with his thoughts and feelings; he describes them in a way that I never could, but I totally get. He writes beautifully, and the imagery he uses very cleverly describes what it feels like to lose someone you love.
Unlike a lot of books on bereavement, this is quite short and very manageable, and because it is written in postcard-size chunks, you can dip in and out of it easily. I think it would be especially helpful to have to hand during the first year of bereavement as it’s not at all heavy going. He also keeps his advice to a minimum as he recognises that every bereavement is unique. His tips in the third section are brief but wise.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has recently been bereaved, and to those who want to better understand what it actually feels like to lose your spouse. I have already passed my copy on!
Preach magazine book review by Arlene Greenwood
AUTHOR: RICHARD LITTLEDALE is an author, preacher, pastor, BBC broadcaster and, above all, a highly skilled communicator, innovator and expert storyteller. 26,000 people read his regular blog.