Joe Biden says he doesn’t know if he and his family are emotionally ready for a presidential run after the death of his son Beau in May. The popular vice president knows what it takes to move forward, at least in politics. The commander-in-chief job requires, Biden says, someone who is willing to dedicate his entire being to it, to leave nothing in reserve. Biden’s grief may make that impossible, he says.
Biden is in a position that’s all-too-familiar to many people. He needs to honor his son, to grieve him properly and yet not be sucked under by sorrow. Here are five books that Joe Biden might put on his nightstand. The words in them have helped millions, even if they can never reverse the sadness and loss.
- When The Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter: Dr. Judith Bernstein focuses on rebuilding a permanently bereft life. One reviewer who lost her son reveals she’s read it “dozens of times.”
- Life after Loss: A Practical Guide to Renewing Your Life after Experiencing Major Loss: 300 pages that can change a grieving survivor’s life almost as much as the loss, can, Bob Deits’ book is not just about your own personal loss, but “cultivating compassion for fellow human beings who suffer.” A good quality in a politician, too.
- A Grief Observed: Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis married late in life and lost his wife just four years later. In this book he movingly takes readers on his journey of grief. It’s a cathartic tale, without any glib prescriptions.
- Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss is a book written so that children can easily read it. And that’s good, because nothing reduces us to our inner child like a heart-rending loss. A beautiful book — clear and sound.
- Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief: Simple but not simplistic help for getting through the days. Author Martha Hickman has written a book that people read, and then buy copies for loved ones.