The metaphor for grieving as soup making came into my life through the amazing illustrated "children's" book, Tear Soup, a Recipe for Healing after Loss written by a mother – son team, Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen , and illustrated by Pat's nephew Taylor Bills. In the opening pages we meet Grandy, "an old and somewhat wise woman" who has "just suffered a big loss in her life."
The book contains "the story of how Grandy faced her loss by setting out to make tear soup."
Tear Soup is much more than a story. It's an extended metaphor for the grieving process, presented in a kids' book format that probably is at least as effective for adults as it is for kids.
If you are looking for a book that is highly entertaining, this book might not be for you, although I liked looking for Grandy's sad eyed, sympathetic little beagle on almost every colorfully illustrated page. The text seems somewhat stiff at times, but when you have been cooking tear soup every single day, day after day after day, it's a relief to read lines like, "Grief always takes longer to cook than anyone wants it to," and realize you might not be going crazy after all.
…It may be a year before the bereaved begins to gain a sense of stability, because the loss is highlighted by each season, holiday, anniversary, or special day." (I already knew this, but what made me sigh deeply was the next line.) "The second year is not so great either."
I found that reading all of the wonderful literature out there on grief generally took more energy than I had. Books looked too long, too in depth, too overwhelming. But this book didn't scare me away. In fact, I've read it many times. This metaphor works for me and for many others if Amazon reviews are to be believed. If you are going to buy one book on grief for yourself or someone you love, this is the book I recommend.
Tear Soup. Read it, share it. You'll be glad you did. But remember, everyone cooks their own tear soup.