Helpful books for hard times.

I led a funeral today for a guy I’ve known for several years. He and his wife attended the church where I worked at the time, and I was able to be with her just before he died last week. The funeral was at that church, so I got to see several of my friend/colleagues. It felt like getting the band together again to be helpful.

As I stood in Linda’s office putting together my folder for the service, I discovered I’d forgotten the graveside service part at home. I said, “Does Lee have his copy of my book here?”

It felt odd, I confess. But I wrote Giving a Life Meaning: How to Lead Funerals, Memorial Services, and Celebrations of Life to have a practical tool to help people know what to do in leading a service. I’ve used it myself three times in the last few months. I knew that Lee’s copy might be in his office because he used it to help him with his first funeral this week. Kim found it. I photocopied what I needed for the graveside.

This book is one of five in a series of resources for faith, sickness, grief and doubt. They are incredibly practical books that are helpful for the hard times that no one wants and that come anyway.

My friends and current colleagues published No Matter How Small: Understanding Miscarriage and Stillbirth this year. It’s another book in that series. Kristin and Patrick Riecke have their own experience with miscarriage and have years of experience helping other people. They understand the silence and the insensitivity that often accompany infant loss. In the stories in this book, that pain finds a voice.

For Patrick and Kristen and me, these books are ways to give words and ideas to people who are caring for and about others.