Stages of Book Grief: Stage 1 -Denial

Howdy y’all! In my Struggles of a book nerd post, I have mentioned that Sam Hewa and I worked on the stages of [book] grief, and as promised, I’ll be posting about them for the next few days.

Here’s what Sam had to say for the first stage of Book Grief: Denial.

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Enough time has passed for me to make this Confession: I used to be one of them. You know, one of the people who makes fun of all her friends for obsessing over fictional characters. Then I was given a book. Average in size. Pretty enough cover. I was bored enough. So, I picked it up. I read it. And I finished it. One of the characters died in the end of that book. He took a piece of my heart down with him.

I was ashamed to be part of a society where authors had the authority to inflict such torture upon a reader. I tried to pass a few movements such as “HAAF: Hunt An Author Foundation” and “NMYA: No More YA” and was surprised at the lack of supporters. It was then that I realized the beauty of that character’s death. He willingly put himself in front of a bullet, for the love he had for his brother. At that moment, I realized that beauty can truly exist, even in the most dreadful of situations. Even in, and I can’t believe I am saying this, dramatic character development.

Denial isn’t pretty. It is more acceptable than the truth. There could be undeniable evidence of the occurrence of an event, but we still deny.

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Being invested with fictional characters comes with its ups and downs, but here is a melodramatic interpretation of it in my mind: After experiencing true love, and sharing the emotional traumas and pains of another, you have no choice but to become attached. Their hopes and dreams become your own and you just wish that your future is somehow magically entwined with theirs. But what results when they– when they change?

You try to accept the new version of your once beloved, but the older version is in the back of your mind, begging not to  be forgotten or changed.

You become torn: “Have I been misreading the signals this whole time?”, “Was it a lie the whole time?”, “Did he actually ever care?”

You begin to distrust your own judgement and question everything around you. Like, is the sky even blue anymore? Is the grass green? Is the Earth round, or was that also a lie? I’ve never been to space! How would I know?

You convince yourself that you are normal:

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You’ll rant to anyone that’ll listen, but no matter what, the person you once loved is trapped. They are trapped in the pages you read. Switch the angle all you want, but it is done. All the fan fictions in the world won’t change that.

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It is hard. So hard to be brave. It becomes a constant struggle to not burst into tears every time your favorite character runs off his mouth again and again and AGAIN! Completely demolishing everything we have ever worked for to get to the very spot we are in now. It becomes so rutting hard not to snap the head off anyone who tells you “It’s just a book“!

But we have to. We must accept that the change was inevitable. We must keep our emotions in check. If not for the sake of the book, then for the sake of the past memories. No matter what, those remain true. You will wish you can erase the character from your mind and heart, because when they are gone, the memories are all you have left. And they are just a painful reminder of what could have been. Denial is normal. It is expected and experienced, but with time it becomes nothing more than a constant, dull pain. Denial does not make you weak, it makes you loyal.

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STAY TUNED FOR STAGE 2

Thanks for reading!

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