Lingering Effects of Grief

I’ve spoken of this before, Gentle Reader, but as it’s going on over two years now, I want to speak of it again.

Reading for pleasure has become problematic for me.

I don’t think I can explain how hard it was to write that sentence, to say those words, because reading, for me, is life.  So much so, I’ve created a career around it.  As I tell my students, I have three skills: reading, writing, and baking bread.  I’ve managed to make a career out of two of them.

I still read for school, certainly.  Reading for class is never a problem.  But since my Mother died in 2014, I have had such a terrible experience reading non-school books.  It’s as if part of me feels like I’m cheating on my grief for my mother by escaping into a novel.

And you must understand: I started reading at four, and never stopped.  I would fall asleep with books on my face, my mother would say.  I would get in trouble for bringing books to dinner.  I would have a book, two books, sometimes three, in case I finished one, with me at all times.  I am A Reader, and I was a very proud one for so long.

Now I read books and get 20, 30% through an online book, or a 1/3 of the way through a paper book, and I stall.  I can’t finish.  I’m in the middle of about ten books right now, all excellent, well-written and well-thought-out books, and I can’t finish any of them.  I used to devour books in a night.  Now, I go three, four weeks before I finish even one.

It HURTS, Friends.  It is literally PAINFUL to not read.  I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not reading.  I work, or I Facebook Forever, or I wander around, lost.  But I cannot bring myself to just SIT and READ.  And I don’t know what to do anymore.

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One thought on “Lingering Effects of Grief”

  1. Have you considered, perhaps instead of viewing your reading as an escape, a denial of your grief, trying to come to it as a way of processing your feelings? Or would that seem too intense? I read this article recently – well, started…it’s long and was still open in a tab somewhere, but I feel like I got a lot out of the part I did read. The important concept is in the first line: that there’s such a thing as a bibliotherapist! Anyway it seems relevant: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/can-reading-make-you-happier

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