When we lose someone—whether it’s our parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, pet, etc.—grief is there to put its arms around us, to hold our hand through all of the firsts, and to never, truly ever let go. Even as the years pass, you may do something or see something that may send a jolt through you of remembrance and a cocktail of feelings. I spent the majority of my childhood mourning over the loss of my mother, and even though my dad died two years ago there are still certain things that make me wish I could call him up and tell him about it. In the memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too), Nora McInerny explores the loss of her father and her husband both weeks after miscarrying her second child through a collection of stories, essays, and lists guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and feel all of the feels.
I was first introduced to Nora McInerny through her Podcast: Terrible, Thanks For Asking, which asks the question “How are you?” with the intent for people to answer honestly. I don’t quite remember how I found the Podcast, but I found it several months after my dad passed away from Parkinson’s Disease and it helped me deal with a lot of emotions I was feeling. So, I knew reading this book would probably be a good idea. And it was.
I personally found it helpful that I listened to Terrible, Thanks For Asking prior to reading It’s Okay to Laugh because then I could hear Nora narrate her stories as I read them. Which may or may not have made some of them funnier than were probably meant to be. While reading, I felt like Nora was a close friend giving me the low down on what to expect from my loss. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything because all of these things have happened before. You are not special. But she doesn’t do so harshly. She’s just being honest and putting herself out there by sharing her experiences with sickness, death, and grief with a bunch of strangers on and off the Internet.
I would recommend this book for anyone going through a tough time, whether it’s the loss of a loved one or something else entirely. But if you haven’t experienced anything devastating, you should also read this book because it is not all about loss. There were a few chapters that just left me feeling empowered and inspired overall and which could speak to anyone at any point in their life.