Grief Books & Resources

Sometimes finding the right book, podcast or website can help you process thoughts, feelings and provide helpful insight or information. 

Book Suggestions for those who are Grieving

Listed below are some suggestions by types of loss.

For everyone…

How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies

By Therese Rando, PhD.

The author is a pioneer in the field of grief counseling and the current Clinical Director of The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss. Her guide to grief gently walks readers through essential and often overlooked aspects of the process while remaining inclusive of all types of losses.

It’s Ok that you’re not Ok

By Megan Divine

Many experts agree that the current culture surrounding death does not adequately prepare individuals with the right tools. The author is both therapist and bereaved partner.  She understands the pain that grieving people carry on top of their actual grief, including the pain of experiencing judgment, dismissal, or even being misunderstood by others. This book emphasizes that grief is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be honored.

 

For children who are grieving…

The Invisible String

By Patrice Karst

When it comes to explaining death to young children, it helps to find books that books that explain the role of change, loss, and death in our lives by finding metaphors in nature or the world at large. The Invisible String skillfully communicates to children the reassuring meaning of attachment and its importance in all kinds of losses.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

By Leo Buscaglia

While it may be a parent’s first instinct to shield children from the realities of death, many experts note that it is more harmful in the long term not to facilitate these discussions.  The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, which follows the life cycle of a leaf named Freddie and his friends. This book filled with great warmth and while meant for children all ages can take comfort from its simple story.

The Golden Sweater

This book is downloadable from New York Life. Kai has lost his dad and finds strength in a unique place, the Golden Sweater.

 

For sudden loss…

I was not ready to say Goodbye

By Brooke Noel & Pamela D. Blair, PhD.

Compared to an expected loss when the bereaved have time to prepare and say good-bye, sudden loss often “robs the bereaved person of a sense of safety and normalcy. This book covers a wide range of material from offering the wise advice to debunking harmful myths, and even offering guidance on dealing with the media.  While this is not a memoir, the authors take the time to address their own experiences with a sudden loss in the first few chapters, which establishes a relationship between the author and the reader.

Bearing the Unbearable

By Joanne Cacciatore, PhD.

This book is for anyone dealing with the traumatic death of a loved one in a general way that can apply to most relationships whether you are dealing with the loss of a child, spouse, or friend. The author emphasizes the reality that grieving takes time and takes the time it needs. 

 

For siblings…

Healing the Adult Sibling’s Grieving Heart

By Alan D. Wolefelt, PhD.

Wolfelt, who is the founder of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, provides 100 action-oriented ideas for embracing your grief while honoring the relationship you had with your sibling. The strengths of this book are that it validates the sibling relationship and introduces the reader to the concept of disenfranchised grief, which many siblings feel but have difficulty articulating.

Surviving the Death of a Sibling

By T. J. Ray

The book discusses the altered lives of siblings who have lost lifelong companions and friends. The book offers both general guidance and coping strategies to those grieving this particular and profound type of loss.

 

For adults who lose their parent…

The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change after the Death of our Parents

By Alexander Levy

Many people are surprised by the depth of their grief upon the loss their parent and struggle with a newfound sense of identity and aloneness. Because their loss is an expected death rather than unexpected such as a parent grieving the loss a child, or a parental death experienced by a young child or teen, an adult child may feel pressure to cope with the loss of an elderly parent quickly. This book validates how hard, perhaps surprisingly, it is as a grown adult to handle the loss of a parent and suggests ways to grieve this loss and reorganize one’s life in the face of it.

Motherless Daughters; The legacy of Loss

By Hope Edelman

This book is an exploration of what it means to lose your mother, at every stage of development, through testimonies of the women who survived these losses. There was a common thread among all these women, which opens the reader up to reaching out other women for validation and support.

 

For the loss of a spouse…

The Year of Magical Thinking

By Joan Didion

In this often-recommended book, the author chronicles her first year coping with the sudden loss of her husband, John Gregory Dunne. Rather than a self-help text, this powerful memoir helps readers feel the familiarity of the author’s experiences with some of their own. It is raw, personal, and captures the experience of grief up close.

Waking Up Alone: Grief & Healing

By Julie K. Cicero

The author asserts that surviving the death of a spouse: whether the loss was sudden or anticipated, the relationship brief or long-term, everyone’s experience with grief is different.  She then presents various pathways of grief so that the reader can find touchstones in their individual healing process.

Traveling through Grief: Learning to live again after death of a loved one

By Zonnebelt Smeenge and DeVries

The authors have both experienced the loss of a spouse.  They compassionately guide you through grief with mental health and spiritual perspectives on various issues in grief.

The Widower’s Notebook: A Memoir

By Jonathan Santlofer

Jonathan is a gifted writer, and a gifted artist and a gifted teacher. When he decided to share Joy’s loss with us in “the Widower’s Notebook,” he produced a unique masterpiece that is more than beautifully written and illustrated, it explains these terrible events in a way that tears at your heart, honors the love of his life and is deeply personal. In one reviewer’s words: “It’s a shame it had to be written”.

 

Dementia…

Walking My Momma Home: Finding Love, Grace and Acceptance through the Labyrinth of Dementia

By Kathy Flora

The author honestly recounts her experiences in touching and humorous ways.  As she looks back she touches on the idea that maybe they missed some signs her mom was getting worse.

 

Website, Blog and Podcast Suggestions for those who are Grieving

If sitting down to a book isn’t your ideal currently, try looking at some of these:

Whatsyourgrief.com

Information on grief and blog about grief related topics

Centerforloss.com

Dr. Alan Wolfelt is a well-known grief educator. The website has his resources as well as others.

Dougy.org

The Dougy Center is in Oregon, but their website and podcasts, “Grief out Loud” is full of helpful information for grieving children. Some podcast episodes feature children talking about their grief.  It is hope-filled.

Coming Back

Coming Back: Conversations on coming back after a loss is a helpful podcast where she talks to various people who have experienced or written about grief.  She also is coming back from the loss of a parent and has written the book by the same name.

Widowed Parent Podcast

Host Jenny Lisk lost her husband to brain cancer when her kids were 9 and 11. She brings in experts and shares advice for those trying to parent after the loss of a spouse.

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