Welcome to the Grief Club: Because You Don’t Have to Go Through It Alone by Janie Kwoh, was not exactly what I was looking for (even though I was not completely sure what that was). However, it turned into something I needed.
It might be a little hard to read about grief while going through the first stage of grief, or the “immediate afterwards,” but this book helps with that. The chapters are short (a few pages each), the text might be a bit busy at times (but not overly overwhelming), and the illustrators simpler, but that is good. The lightness of what is happening makes the tone cozy. It is a safe zone. It is a chat between you and the author. As the publisher description says it is not “how to grieve” but “how we grieve.”
Each section/chapter tells you how you should do things. Which is, your way. You “should be sadder”? Nope, you are sad enough. You should not speak ill of the dead? You had a complicated relationship; you are not going to have only good things to say about them. It is “only” a sibling you are not close too? Or “only” a friend? Or “only” a neighbor”? Therefore, you “should not” be sad? Wrong, you have every right to be sad.
Of course, you do not need to have the “my sadness is more than yours” contest. Or the I must not be grieving right since I am “okay” thoughts. Because everyone grieves differently. Different amounts, times, and ways. And sometimes you will be okay, sometimes somewhat okay, and sometimes not okay at all. And each feeling is okay.
The author has “been there” and is giving you tips on how to word your grief. How to (and yes, I will say it) be mindful of your grief. Kwoh is not an “expert” and is not giving you The One True Way. But they are an expert because they had to deal with grief and know the TOTW for them, while validating what you are feeling, too.
The book might be a bit “modern” in tone or taste for some people, but it does not do the things I do not like in grief books: first, the “I am okay/you are okay touchy-feely it will all be okay” sugary-sweetness, and second, Kwoh just tells you how they see it and not the “this is the right way” sermon.
The format is what we call in the biz a “counter book.” That small “picture book” format that you find at checkouts. It would be a nice “something” to give to let people know you are thinking of them, without being forward with a textbook/academic book on grief.