Looking For Answers In Books

My first memories of dead people and funerals involve my great-grandmothers. They were old, it was expected, I suppose, and while sad, it wasn't something I remember as tragic. That wasn't the case when my brother's friend died. They were in second grade; I was in fifth. His friend was hit head-on by another neighbor on a motorcycle while riding in an ATV with his cousin.

Our mother got us a book called The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia, because that's what good parents do for their children when they are facing traumatic life events—they get them books. They get them books about divorce, death, moving, child abuse, bullies, and special needs. They teach them that when the going gets tough, the answers are found on the pages of a book. The comfort you need is on the papyrus. Ink and paper hold the answers you seek, my child, because HOLY FUCK THIS WORLD JUST THREW ME A PARENTING CURVE BALL. Let's read a book.

When my friend died, I bought her daughters books. People bought my children those same books. Hell, I bought my children books. Of course I did. I am a good parent; It's what we do. I bought myself a stack of widow- and grief-related materials, too. Answers. Comfort. I wanted it. I found some. Bits. It also bought me time; it gave me a distraction.

Books are great at letting us know we aren't alone, we can do this, somebody else has already walked this path and might know a thing or two, and you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Some books are bullshit, and you should toss them. It will make you feel better, too. Other books are my idea of a pick-n-pull—use what works for you and scrap the rest.

I still find comfort in the paper even though I'm more apt to read on an iPhone these days. From books on grieving to Tourette Syndrome, books have kept me sane—even that giant stack I carried from the library the year my son turned two—hadn't quite arrived at the Asperger's diagnosis yet, but those books got me over a hump. Then the stack of raising a kid with Asperger's arrived. Books. And falling leaves. They all fall. We all fall. It's the only thing that's guaranteed, by the way. I remember that lesson.

We.

All.

Fall.

Every single one of us.

Enjoy your time on the tree.