Over the past few years, books, music and films have been a great source of comfort. In fact, they mean a lot to me in many different ways and one of these ways is helping me with my loss and grief. The power it holds is astounding- almost magical, whether it is through the feeling it evokes (and helps me express) or through direct connections to loss and life.
Today I want to share with you some of the things that have touched my heart in some way, and hopefully, you will find solace in these too.
As a literature student, books mean a lot to me. In fact, my favourite book is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Despite being a bleak book, I feel a strange connection to Offred. Something about her is so inspiring: her internal rebellion, her strength... Atwood is undeniably masterful with words. Here are the parts that spoke to me:
"In the corner where the darkest shadow fell: Nolite te bastardes carborundorum." (Don't let the bastards grind you down!)
“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”
“When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.”
“I feel like the word shatter.”
Words from the amazing sequel, The Testaments:
"Hope for what? I thought. What was there left to hope for? All I could see in front of me was loss and darkness."
"What it was to leave a place you knew, and lose everything, and travel into the unknown. How hollow and dark that must feel, except maybe for the little glimmer of hope that allowed you to take such a chance... I would be in that dark place, carrying a tiny spark of light, trying to find my way."
"Love is as strong as death."
Words from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar:
"I laid my face to the smooth face of the marble and howled my loss into the cold salt rain. "
“I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.”
Undone- Undone is a surreal beautifully animated show about 28-year-old Alma who is involved in a car crash after she is distracted on the road after seeing the figure of her dead father. After the crash, seems to be able to traverse the depths of time to find out the truth behind his death.
I truly loved this show: everything from its amazing storyline to beautiful animation is beyond great. One moment that stands out to me the most is the moment Alma is able to talk to her father again after years. It spoke of a wish I feel so deeply. Just to have one more conversation, one more hug...
What Dreams May Come- This one is one that is nostalgic. I remember my mum had the DVD of this ethereal film. It is one that offers hope about the inevitable cycle of life and death and inspires one to reflect upon life, and is one I definitely need to revisit once more.
Music has probably been the biggest comforter and tear-jerker for me. Listening to 'our' songs or songs that my dad listened to really makes me feel closer to him- it is a great way to remember your loved one. Sad music is also the best at helping me deal with my grief (ironically). Here are some of the songs I found meaning and beauty in (these are in no particular order). My top-recommended grief-related songs are in pink.
1. Marjorie by Taylor Swift
Top line: "what died didn't stay dead, you're alive so alive in my head."
2. Coney Island by Taylor Swift
3. Happiness by Taylor Swift
4. Evermore by Taylor Swift
5. The Lakes by Taylor Swift
6. Photograph by Ed Sheeran
7. Afire Love by Ed Sheeran
8. Loose Ends by Loyle Carner
9. Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez
10. Good Grief by Bastille
11. Somewhere We Only Know by Keane
12. Fix You by Coldplay
13. Hurt by Christina Aguilera
14. There You'll Be by Faith Hill
15. Outnumbered by Dermot Kennedy
16. Angel by Kodaline
17. ANTIDOTE by Mr Hudson
18. Street Lights by Kanye West