Daily readings can be quite uplifting, thought-provoking

Many of us have a daily morning ritual of some sort - a way to start the day on a smooth footing. I certainly do.

It may not be a ritual, exactly, but I have some pleasant habits to ease into the day. I found this especially important after my beloved Baheej died - and I suspect others have found their own morning routine that's helpful in this way.

For some, it's as simple as a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper or watching the morning news. For others it's a morning walk (especially if you have a dog) or maybe an exercise routine. There are many variations.

Early each morning, my beloved Baheej and I used to sit in a room off the kitchen, have a cup of coffee and plan the day. Baheej called it our love room.

These days my early morning "ritual" includes a string of actions - making coffee, playing laser chase with my kitties, then checking my daily calendar for its "thought of the day." Each day on this calendar has a cheerful thought. Then I read another "message of the day" in one of my books that contains a short encouraging essay. These are organized by date, not day of the week or a particular year. I have three such books. I find them very helpful. Then I check my email.

The daily readings I use draw on all sorts of sources - poets, philosophers, clinical experience, well-known writers and other modern or historical thinkers. Most are secular sources. All are about coping with and managing grief after the death of a dear one or about dealing with life's many other challenges.

Now about the three volumes I have:

1.) My most recent acquisition is set of daily readings by noted grief counselor Alan D. Wolfelt titled "One Day at a Time: Meditations to Help You Heal After Loss," (Companion Press, 2016). His reference to "one day" refers to one reading for each day of the year. He started with a very interesting idea - the distinction between mourning and grief:

"Mourning is when we express our grief outside ourselves. While grief is internal, mourning is external. Talking about our thoughts and feelings, crying, journaling, participating in a support group - these and other expressive (mourning) activities help us begin to integrate our grief. Yes our grief is a daily challenge. But if we actively mourn, each day in grief can also bring a small measure of healing."

Each day's quotation is followed by his commentary, which I find very insightful. The quotations come from all sorts of ancient and modern sources, writers and individuals. I started reading it on the day of its arrival to me last month.

2.) My long standing "go to" set of daily readings is Martha Hickman's "Healing After Loss," (William Morrow of HarperCollins, 2002). It's really excellent. I'm on the second year of reading it daily. After 365 days pass, every entry is still fresh, and interesting.

3.) The other volume I find very useful is Joanna Cacciatore, "Grieving is Loving," (Wisdom Publications, 2020). It is a series of short essays extracted from her earlier book, "Bearing the Unbearable," (Wisdom Publications, 2017). The entries are not organized by day of the year, but lend themselves to daily readings.

The point is, a daily short reading with a good idea or thoughtful perspective can be quite uplifting. And these three particular volumes fit with my own perspective - that healing really means learning how to cope with and manage grief.

I have found this routine of a daily reading very helpful. It's nice to start the day with an outside perspective or an interesting idea.

• Susan Anderson-Khleif of Sleepy Hollow has a doctorate in family sociology from Harvard, taught at Wellesley College and is a retired Motorola executive. Contact her at or see her blog See previous columns at

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