What Would You Like Included in a Book About Grief?

It seems as if I am being pulled back into the world of grief, not because I am having upsurges of grief, but because other people are discovering my grief posts and my grief book. Also, I have been talking to friends as they go through their grief upsurges, and at the same time, I am getting emails from newly bereft people who have read Grief: The Great Yearning, a sort of memoir about my first year of grief. (I wonder if I am the only author who cries every time I get a letter from a reader. I am glad they contact me, but oh, so much sorrow!)

As if this weren’t enough of a pull, people have begun suggesting that I write another book of grief, sort of a sequel to Grief: The Great Yearning, but from the perspective of eight years later. (At one time, I’d considered doing a sequel focusing on the second, third, and maybe fourth year called Grief: The Great Learning, but I didn’t have enough to say to fill even a small book.)

This isn’t something I can start today — I need to finish that decade-old manuscript first, then I have my trip to Seattle, and finally a dance performance. But by the beginning of June, I will have cleared out all my obligations, and would have time — both calendar time and mental time — to start a new project.

If I do undertake such a project, what aspects of grief would you like to see included in the book?

Is there a particular one (or many) of my grief blog posts you’d like to see expanded for the book? (For those of you who have already offered suggestions, I will be going through the comments and emails to find those suggestions if you don’t want to repeat yourself here.)

Are there any aspects of my life, such as my penchant for adventures, that should be included? Because a need for adventure is part of the grief process, not just for me, but for many folks. It’s as if once our lives are turned upside down, only undertaking something challenging helps get us back on a new track.

By its very nature (or rather, the very nature of the author), the book won’t be a practical guide for getting through grief, won’t offer platitudes or comfort except of the roughest kind (such as telling people what they already know — that grief is impossibly hard). There are certainly enough grief self-help books on the market, and anyway, I don’t have anything to offer along those lines. I think what I do have to offer is a safe place for people to explore their own grief, maybe even offer something for them to compare themselves to. (All grief is different, but for those who have suffered the same sort of profound loss, such as the death of soul mate, grief does tend to follow the same patterns.)

I hope I’m ready for such a project. At least it will be non-fiction, so I won’t have to relive grief through my characters like I did for Unfinished. That just about did me in!


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

7 Responses to “What Would You Like Included in a Book About Grief?”

  1. Terry Allard Says:

    You know how I use your grief blog for my own journaling, so it may not surprise you that I am saying “YES!” this is beyond a worthwhile endeavor….to me it feels like your destinty. (strong word “destiny” …. I don’t use it flippantly). I have read many books about grief and your blogs surpass them in frank understanding of what it is to loose a spouse. Many times I have discovered or at least found words for my own feelings,thoughts and trials through reading about yours. You have been a hand to hold, a companion who does not try to take the load but rather help hold it. I have appreciated you never tried to write a grief cookbook with steps to a result. I will defintely be organizing my thoughts to give you more direct input because I want to be part of something so important.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I was thinking of you and your comments when I wrote this blog, so I will be rereading your comments to see what you’ve already said, and I will appreciate any further help you can give me on making this book real and as helpful as possible.

  2. Terry Allard Says:

    PS…here’s a start: I came across this after writing my above comment.
    It talks about grief as it pertains to being prescribed prescription anti-depressants

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7IkyDlWxrE listen at 7:24 minutes into the talk.

  3. Constance Says:

    You can hear and use some of my grief in your book if you would like. I am alone. No one left in my immediate family. No brothers or sisters.

  4. Aggie Tracy Says:

    I love the title, that you mentioned, The Great Learning!
    I would love for you to write another book. As I enter my fourth year of grieving I continue to gain new insight into this terrible journey I am on.
    Pat, you are the best at writing about grief. You have helped me a great deal.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Our loss — or our grief, I’m not sure which — changes our lives forever. Like you, I am still gaining insight. And thank you for the encouragement.

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