Grief, Loss, Death & Dying

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A Brief History of DeathA Commonsense Book of DeathA Message from JakieAfter SuicideAfter You'd GoneAfterwardsAliveAll Alone in the UniverseAll Rivers Flow to the SeaAll Seasons PassAnd a Time to DieAt the End of WordsBefore and After LossBeing with DyingBequest and BetrayalBereftBeyond GoodbyeBeyond the Good DeathBodies in Motion and at RestCatalystComfortConfessions of a Grieving ChristianContemplative AgingCoping With TraumaCrispinDarwin's WormsDeathDeath and CompassionDeath BenefitsDeath in the ClassroomDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDeath of a ParentDeath's DoorDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDon't Go Where I Can't FollowDriving My FatherDying in the Twenty-First CenturyElegy for IrisErasing DeathEthical WillsEthics at the End of LifeEvenings at FiveExtreme MeasuresFacing Death: Elisabeth Kubler-RossFatal AttachmentsFinishing Our StoryFortress of My YouthGhost at the WindowGoing Through Hell Without Help From AboveGood GriefGoodbye RuneGraceful ExitsGrave MattersGrieving for ChildrenHealing ConversationsHello from Heaven!History of SuicideHonoring GriefHonoring the Dead and Facing DeathHow We GrieveHuman Dignity and Assisted DeathI Remain in DarknessI Wasn't Ready to Say GoodbyeIn the Wake of SuicideIt Takes a Worried ManLayoverLearning to FallLiberating LossesLife after LossLiving and Dying WellLosing Mum and PupLossLost in the ForestLove Is a Mix TapeLove That DogMaking Sense of SuicideMars and Venus - Starting Over.Michael Rosen's Sad BookMortal DilemmasNight Falls FastNobody's Child AnymoreOlive's OceanOn Life After DeathOne Last Hug Before I GoOne More WednesdayParting CompanyPeaceful Death, Joyful RebirthR.I.P.Reason's GriefRemembering GeorgySaying It Out LoudSeeing the CrabShooterSome Thing BlackSpeak to MeStandbyStayStill HereSuicidal ThoughtsSurviving HitlerThe Art of LosingThe AwakeningThe Boy on the Green BicycleThe Bright HourThe Cambridge Companion to Life and DeathThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Color of AbsenceThe Dead Fathers ClubThe Death of a ChildThe DisappearanceThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related DisordersThe Lovely BonesThe Measure of Our DaysThe Mercy PapersThe MiracleThe Modern Art of DyingThe Other Side of SadnessThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of DeathThe ScarThe TravelersThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Truth About GriefThe UndertakingThe Way of TransitionThe Work of MourningTo Die WellTuesdays with MorrieUnderstanding GriefWakeWhat Dying People WantWhen Breath Becomes AirWitWrinklesYoung@Heart

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The Boy on the Green BicycleReview - The Boy on the Green Bicycle
A Memoir
by Margaret Diehl
Soho Press, 1999
Review by Margo McPhillips
Feb 29th 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 9)

I stood for a long moment in the silence, then walked slowly down the stairs. I ran my hand along the banister and made myself think reasonably. Everyone is asleep or downstairs. Probably downstairs. They knew when to get up, what to do. What to do? This is the morning of the day after Jimmy died. How does one act on such a morning?

This is a story of profound loss; the author lost her older brother to a car accident when she was ten and he fourteen; he is the boy on the green bicycle. Six months later her father committed suicide. I knew, when I picked up the book that it was about loss and was attracted to it for that reason; my mother died when I was young and I was looking for parallels of experience and perhaps explanations or validations of feeling. I found a number of coincidences: the author is very close to my age, the number of children and family economic situation, background and upbringing were similar to mine, and even the author's given name is the same as mine, Margaret. But above all, it was the author's writing style and character that I found the most compelling.

Throughout the book the author is "herself" and explores what she found inside her young heart, mind and emotions. Knowing the book was about loss, I became anxious when I started to be captivated by the charm of the author's style, sense of wonder, and fluidity of expression and experienced the book as I would a good novel. Every now and then as I was reading, waiting for the "bad" scenes and trying to brace my own emotions, I'd seek to calm and comfort myself with the reminder, "it's just a novel" only to remember, it's not. I felt as if it was my young heart, mind and emotions that were being exposed and, what was worse, I was not in control of that exposure.

This is not a book for the faint of heart; it is about life as it was really lived, in all its pain and other messy, discomfiting emotions such as anger, confusion, fear and loneliness. It's not a comforting or pleasant book to read but I found it hopeful and human. I found explanations and validations of feelings and gained much from "watching" the author wade through the dreary hard work and struggle of grief to arrive at, "I adapt." My hope is, since I feel the author did her work exceptionally well, then I can continue to do well myself, using this book as a blueprint and example.

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