Bellman & Black

This book tells the story of William Bellman from childhood through his life until old age. It’s a ghost story of sorts and for me, it is about those losses, shocks, and traumas that colour our perspective of reality and alter our trajectory.

In this episode, I read an excerpt from Chapter 12 of the book where his mother dies.

Bellman & Black is written by Diane Setterfield and published by Third Draft Limited, 2013.

Other books by Diane Setterfield are The Thirteenth Tale (2008) and Once Upon a River (2018). I wish she would write some more books.

Audio Only


Contemplative Prompts

I invite you to witness all your thoughts without judgment. Okay? Could you allow your thoughts to arise and be expressed without censure or editing? Could you allow yourself to be as you are at this moment?

Will Bellman is haunted throughout his lifetime by a figure cloaked in black; it may be the spirit of the rook he killed in childhood or it may be his grief knocking on the door. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Will is suffering in silence and his unshared, unmourned sorrows are haunting him.

In this reading, Will’s mother unexpectedly dies and he is left orphaned as a young man. The death of any loved one will absolutely alter a person and profoundly affect how you move forward in the world.

Could you expand your understanding of grief to include any loss, of any sort, that has altered you? This could be the death of a beloved companion animal, the loss of a job, the end of a partnership, the progression of chronic illness or disability, a forced move to a new home, etc. Loss is part and parcel of living. 

What are some of the unexpressed griefs you have? What is the toll of them being unexpressed? 

How would you like to grieve? How do you grieve? 

What is your response to grief in others? What are some of the ways you show up for others when they are grieving? 

Being present for others in their grief is hard. HARD! We want to soothe the pain and are afraid of saying the wrong thing. I get it. But here in your journal, could you explore what you are afraid of? What holds you back from being present in the face of grief?

Don’t Suffer Alone

If you are in British Columbia and need bereavement support, please reach out:

BC Bereavement Helpline

Vancouver Local: 604-738-9950
Toll-Free: 1-877-779-2223

Or contact a helpline in your area. Please don’t suffer in silence and isolation; there is support available.

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