When I was hired on as a Bookseller at Barnes and Noble, I was so excited by the opportunity to spread my love of books. I looked forward to promoting authors I loved and being able to promote literacy in my community. An unexpected thing occurred though, and it continues to occur several times a week.
Grief is something everyone goes through at some point, and usually many points, in their life. I have a hard experience with grief, having lost three of the most important men in my life in six months. I never really recovered from that. It bothers me today even. But, weirdly enough, I never turned to grief books for help.
The first time I had someone come in to buy a death related item it was a remembrances guest book, one that you can write condolences in and sign. I asked the man how his day was going and he responded with a very noncommittal grunt and I flipped the book over, realizing what it was. I know it was an innocent error but I felt terrible the rest of the day.
I usually have someone at least once a week ask me for a condolences book or a grief book. This week I had a lady in who was so very close to crying and asked me for a grief book about losing a parent – for a four year old. It was horrible. I was heartbroken for her and her child and tried hard to find exactly what she needed. We ended up finding a good option and I sent her on her way.
This kind of interaction was a piece of the job I never considered. It is hard to talk to people who are looking for grief related items and we have such a set script of sentences that queue up in our head when first making a conversation with a customer, that you can easily trip up and not even realize you have done it. Everyone experiences loss and I have learned over the last few months to never assume what is going on in a person’s head just because they are asking for grief help.
Got great grief books you would recommend? Leave me a comment so I can get them into my store.