We would love to say that A Better Place: A Memoir of Peace in the Face of Tragedy by Pati Navalta Poblete is an excellent “How to grieve” book. We can’t because there is no such thing.
What we can say is that the author takes us through the stages she went through while coping with the sudden loss of her son from a not so random armed robbery.
While reading this, I found that there would not have been one good thing to say to this woman in an attempt to comfort her. All of the go-to things that people say, and usually mean, seemed to make her mad.
No two people grieve in the same way. There is no such thing as “Getting over it.” Poblete has found a way to help her heal, at least somewhat. Perhaps by reading this book others will see that there is nothing wrong with them. Perhaps they can see that we all grieve in our own way. Some continue to grieve the loss of a parent thirty years later and may still feel it just as intensely as if it happened just yesterday. Others may lose a child at a very young age and show little grief on the outside just a few days after the loss. This does not mean they are not hurting.
A Better Place shows us that there might not be a right thing to say to some people while they are trying to find a new normal when there is no such thing for them as a new normal.
I think the big takeaway from this book is that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to not see the comfort offered by others. It is okay that the attempts at comfort offered by other people are not comforting to you. That doesn’t make them any less sincere. It just makes it okay for you to grieve in your own way and to heal, if possible, at your own rate.
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