I am meeting with a grief counselor today. Any thoughts on books, or things that have worked for people? I don't know what else to do.
Answer: Oh, I am so sorry.
The only answer to "What do I do?" is this: Get by. You don't need to accomplish anything, answer anything, figure out anything right now. You just don't. Right now is for raw grief; anything else can wait until you feel ready for it. When your friends ask what you need, don't be afraid to say, "I have no idea." When you get to the funeral, you will sit where someone steers you to sit, and if no one steers you, just choose a seat with people you love. As for your future, your future is this evening, and this evening, your future will be tomorrow morning, and so on. Shorten it into something you are capable of managing, even if your future becomes "an hour from now."
Enlisting the help of a grief counselor says you are indeed functioning, and that's something you can count on.
You might find comfort in Kay Redfield Jamison's memoir Nothing Was the Same. It's about her challenge to grieve her husband's death while managing her bipolar disorder, which required meticulous self-care. It's moving and grounding at the same time.
Reader: From one who had a similar loss: Don't forget to mourn the little civilization the two of you built together, not just him.
C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed is good, if you either like or can look past the Christianity of it.
Answer: The "little civilization the two of you built together," yes. Thank you for that.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at email@example.com.