“A Grief Like No Other,” Eric Schlosser’s epic Atlantic magazine article about family members of homicide victims, was a revelation for me when it made its way to my inbox in the aftermath of my father’s and stepmother’s murders. The piece centers on Parents of Murdered Children, a national support organization for families and friends — not just parents — of those who have died by violence. I had, until that point, been blissfully unaware that there was a need for such a dreadful-sounding organization to exist. (Today I sit on its board of directors.)
“The fear of murder,” Schlosser wrote, “has grown so enormous in the United States that it leaves a taint, like the mark of Cain, on everyone murder touches. One might expect that the families of murder victims would be showered with sympathy and support, embraced by their communities. But in reality they are far more likely to feel isolated, fearful, and ashamed, overwhelmed by grief and guilt, angry at the criminal-justice system, and shunned by their old friends. America’s fascination with murder has not yet extended to its aftermath. As a result, the victims’ survivors must seek comfort from one another.”
As I read the article, I realized that my own fear, shame and anger — at the murderer, at the criminal justice system that had let him out on parole, at his mother for raising him, at everyone around me for not intuiting what I needed — were normal for this abnormal situation. I also realized there was this tragic fraternity of people who had felt those very same things, and figured out how to live, and even experience joy, in their wake. And I felt a little less alone.
That’s what the best writing on loss can provide: an escape from the isolation that is endemic to the grief-stricken. Which inspired Rebecca and I to begin Modern Loss in the first place. And we wanted to take an opportunity to call your attention to some of the articles, essays, multimedia presentations, memoirs and resource books that spoke to us — and other Modern Loss contributors — in the aftermath of our respective losses.
Article links and abstracts can be found in our “Grief Reads” section, and books on loss for adults and children (including titles by some of our writers) can be found, as of today, in Modern Loss’ Amazon gift shop. In the case of our gift shop, good literature means good news for Modern Loss’ shoestring budget. A small portion of the proceeds of anything you buy there or through this portal (bookmark it!) will go toward the costs associated with our web development, maintenance and content creation.
So happy (sad) reading! We hope that these titles speak to you as they did us. And if you have articles and books that you think should be on these lists, please email us at email@example.com.