(205) 870-1117 Mon - Sat : 6am - 10pm / Sun : 7am - 10pm Get Directions

Grief, Resilience, and Option B

September 01, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Since I married my husband almost twenty years ago, one of my greatest fears has been losing him to some kind of tragic early death. After I became a mama, this fear expanded to include losing one or both of my children. Witnessing others walk through what I imagine to be one of the worst things I could experience fills me with enormous grief. I’m not sure if I divide the sorrow of those who have lost loved ones or if I multiply it. Maybe a little bit of both happens when we attempt to care for and be present to others in the midst of tragedy.

 

Reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant was difficult at times, but it’s not them–it’s me. While I applaud Sandberg’s honesty and vulnerability, I had to consume the book in small sips because it was all too easy to imagine myself in Sandberg’s position–a grieving woman who had lost her husband, best friend, and confidant. Even though the book was a hard read, it was a still a beautiful read. It gave me a glimpse into her life and others’ lives and maybe even the lives of some of my friends who have walked similar paths and lived the reality of what is at this point only worst case scenarios for me.

 

Sandberg and Grant do a great job of interspersing research and findings on psychology and resilience around and in-between Sandberg’s personal story and the other stories she includes. These informative sections provide breaks from the emotional weightiness and give readers helpful information on relevant topics.

 

One interesting lesson I learned from Option B is the value of our family stories. Sandberg and Grant write:

When children grow up with a strong understanding of their family’s history–where their grandparents grew up, what their parents’ childhoods were like–they have better coping skills and a stronger sense of belonging. Talking openly about positive and even difficult memories can help develop resilience. It’s especially powerful to share stories about how the family sticks together through good times and bad, which allows kids to feel that they are connected to something larger than themselves.

 

This passage and many others emphasize things we can do to help our kids (and ourselves) develop resilience before and after tragedy strikes. I highly recommend Option B. To learn more about the book and hear from its authors, check out this On Being podcast featuring Sandberg and Grant.

 

Charlotte lives in Homewood with her husband and their two children. She’s earning an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University, and she does freelance writing and copywriting. You can find her online at www.charlottedonlon.com and on Twitter at @charlottedonlon. You can sign up for her newsletter about books and writing here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON AND OTHER LIES I'VE LOVED

February 27, 2018 | Charlotte Donlon

At the end of the preface to Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, she writes:   I wish this were a different kind of story. But this is a... read full article

Ordinary People Change the World

February 10, 2018 | Charlotte Donlon

Cal has been selling books from the Ordinary People Change the World series written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos for a while now. I picked up two of the books from the... read full article

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CHANCE?

February 08, 2018 | Charlotte Donlon

The newest book written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom will encourage kids--and adults--to be brave and grab ahold of chances to do new things. What Do You Do With A Chance (one of... read full article

February 2018 Books of the Month

February 01, 2018 | Charlotte Donlon

Cal picked four books for Church Street Coffee and Books’ February 2018 “Books of the Month.” Copies will be available in the shop for purchase on and after their publication dates. If you read any... read full article

WILD THINGS: THE JOY OF READING CHILDREN'S LITERATURE AS AN ADULT

January 15, 2018 | Charlotte Donlon

In Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy explores classic children’s books, engages their critics, and provides background information and details about the stories and their authors. Publishers Weekly... read full article

January 2018 Books of the Month

January 01, 2018 | Charlotte Donlon

Cal picked three books for Church Street Coffee and Books’ January 2018 “Books of the Month.” Copies will be available in the shop for purchase on and after their publication dates. If you read any... read full article

WE'RE ALL WONDERS and HERE WE ARE

December 23, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I recently read something on Facebook (that I think is actually true) about a tradition in Iceland where everyone exchanges gifts of books on Christmas Eve. Then they read their new books in bed that... read full article

Frederick Buechner's THE REMARKABLE ORDINARY: HOW TO STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN TO LIFE

December 08, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Over the past couple of years, I’ve read several of Frederick Buechner’s memoirs and sermon collections. One reason his writing appeals to me is that he’s a master of writing about faith in a way... read full article

HUNGER: A MEMOIR OF (MY) BODY by Roxane Gay

September 28, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I read Roxane Gay’s Hunger in a few sittings on the day it was released. I am a fan of Gay's work and had been awaiting this book for a couple of years—since I first... read full article

GOODBYE, VITAMIN by Rachel Khong

September 25, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I’m a fan of Twitter although it wears me out sometimes. I need to take breaks from it, but it's probably my favorite of all of the social media options. When I finished Goodbye, Vitamin... read full article

Everyone's Story Matters: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

September 16, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon | 1 Comment

Yesterday a friend's Facebook post caught my eye. She's a therapist and lives in Orlando with her husband and three kids. After enduring the wrath of Hurricane Irma, she posted that The Fantastic Flying Books... read full article

Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

September 12, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

  During an appointment with the first therapist I ever met with, I asked him if there's something wrong with me because I've never had a best friend who lasted more than a couple of... read full article

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien

September 05, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I must confess I've never read any of Tolkien's books. But after reading the children's book John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, I'm now convinced... read full article

Grief, Resilience, and Option B

September 01, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Since I married my husband almost twenty years ago, one of my greatest fears has been losing him to some kind of tragic early death. After I became a mama, this fear expanded to include losing... read full article

Author Interview: Gin Phillips on Fierce Kingdom, Writing, and Motherhood

August 14, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Gin Phillips and I hung out on her back porch recently and talked about her new book, writing, and motherhood. Here’s some of what we discussed:   When did you start writing? I’ve always written... read full article

Making a Mark: She Persisted and Radiant Child

August 10, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I grabbed two children's books from Church Street a couple of weeks ago for my kids (ages 12 and 14) and me to read. We believe you're never too old for children's books and have been enjoying... read full article

A Review: Becoming Ms. Burton

August 03, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Many conversations I hear about social justice issues are taking place among people who aren’t necessarily suffering from oppression. There are a lot of well-meaning people who talk about the effects of racism. They advocate... read full article

Author Interview: Kristen Iskandrian

July 28, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I got to spend some time with local author Kristen Iskandrian yesterday. We talked about books, writing, and her first novel Motherest which I definitely recommend. This coming-of-age story explores the dynamics of complex relationships... read full article

It's a Marvel and a Wonder I Liked It

November 25, 2015 | The Crew

  My wife and I just spent the weekend going through all of our books, getting rid of the ones we’ll never read again, the grad-school textbooks we never read in the first place, the... read full article

Hollow Fruits and Spiritual Totems: A Review of Gold Fame Citrus by Clair Vaye Watkins

October 04, 2015 | The Crew

  Disregarding weather reports of temperatures reaching 102º, I strapped on my pack and started out on the Tuxachanie Trail in Stone County, Mississippi, for a night in the woods with a flask of rum... read full article
View More Posts

Login

Lost your password?