Grief and loss books… Okay, so you’re not much of a reader. I suggest that you open your mind and give this a try, anyway. Why? Many grief books contain great wisdom and can speak to you on a personal level in the quiet solitude of your darkest days.
Many people have reported that their favorite book on grief became their lifeline as they went through the stages of grief. It helps the slow process of healing, and many and they carried it around ’til it became dog-eared and worn from use.
Pick out two or three of these excellent written resources, and maybe even “shop around” at the library or bookstore until you find the one that speaks to your wounded heart.
Below are listed some highly recommended grief and loss books, often reported as being helpful and comforting by those grieving the loss of a dear one. Click on the blue links to learn more about, or order the book.
Grief and Loss Books For the Bereaved
1. “Back To Life“, by Jennie Wright. Our own highly acclaimed guide to grief loss recovery.
Simply written and easy to understand, this book provides grief education, coping strategies, soothing comfort… and hope. Available in e-book or hard copy.
2. “Tear Soup“, by Pat Schweibert. Tear Soup is one of the best and most popular grief resources out there. Although it looks and reads like a fairy tale or child’s fable, it is actually most informative about grief for adults as well as children.
Great for a grieving family to read together. A must-have.
3. “A Grief Observed“, by C.S. Lewis (scholarly author of The Chronicles of Narnia).
Mr. Lewis married late to the love of his life, Joy Gresham, who died four years later of bone cancer. This book is his heavy spiritual journey through grief following her death.
A comforting, important book, highly recommended for anyone who has lost someone dear.
4. “I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping & Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One“, by Brook Noel & Pamela D Blair. These two women have been there themselves, tell their stories, then provide a helpful hands-on approach to dealing with grief. It offers practical exercises for working through the mourning process. Especially helpful grief book during the first weeks after a sudden tragic loss.
5. “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief“, by Martha Whitmore Hickman. Ms. Hickman penned this volume of light, comforting thoughts after the death of her 16-year-old daughter in a riding accident. Here are 5 tips for healing after loss.
It provides “tiny shafts of light in the darkness”.
6. “Safe Passage: Words to Help the Grieving Hold Fast and Let Go“, by Molly Fumia. This book was written by Ms. Fumia as she belatedly mourned the loss of her first-born son.
A compassionate, soothing book that helps the grieving hold fast to the memory of their loved one while passing through anger, confusion, guilt, and loneliness to acceptance and transformation. Recommended for later on in the grief process.
7. “When Bad Things Happen to Good People“, by Rabbi Harold Kushner, who experienced a crisis of faith when his 13-year-old son Aaron died of a rare disease.
This national bestseller provides a uniquely practical and compassionate view of tragedy and grief. Kushner suggests that we must come to the conclusion that God is not the author of our misfortunes but rather the source of help and strength.
Especially helpful for those dealing with guilt issues or the “if only”.
8. “Living When a Loved One Has Died“, by Earl Grollman. A gentle, poetic journey through the realities, truth, and hope of grief.
This book is perfect for people in mourning because it is in the form of poems that express the raw feelings of grief. It helps you feel what you need to feel, without making apologies for it.
Recommended for the later stages of grief, not the first few weeks.
9. “To Begin Again“, by Rabbi Naomi Levy. She shares a deep and compassionate understanding of grief that is useful for those of any spiritual belief. Levy realizes that the question after a personal tragedy should not be, “Why did this happen?” but rather, “How can I go on?”
10 “How to go on Living When Someone You Love Dies“, by Therese Rando. This easy and practical read helps you understand the grieving process and find comfort in learning you are “normal” in your grief.
This highly recommended self-help book provides specific coping strategies for different situations.
11. “Seasons of Solace: A Story of Healing Through Photos and Poems“, by Janelle Shantz Hertzler. Janelle lost her husband John to a drunk driver in Thailand and she shares her story of grief in a very eloquent and moving manner. Her journey towards acceptance and peace is told through poems and photographs throughout this beautiful book.
Grief and loss books for survivors of suicide
Grief and loss books…
12. “After Suicide“, by John H. Hewitt. It helps you put the issues of suicide into a proper perspective, find answers to hard questions, and hold fast to hope. A practical guide to help dispel the shame and begin the healing.
13. “No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One“, by Carla Fine. A very thorough and insightful resource for those coping with a suicide tragedy. It may be a little rough for the newly bereaved, so save this guide for later on.
Grief and loss books for bereaved parents
14. “When the Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter“, by Judith R. Bernstein, a psychologist and a bereaved parent, whose twenty-six-year-old son, Steven, died of cancer.
She does not talk about recovery since she doesn’t believe in that concept. Instead, she weaves her experience and the contributions of fifty other broken-hearted parents into a wonderful tapestry full of hope and resiliency.
This book will help you understand that what you are feeling is normal, and you are not alone.
15. “The Bereaved Parent“, by Harriett S. Schiff. This highly recommended book provides sensitive and practical advice and necessary information to those who have “stared at hell and survived”. As a bereaved parent herself, Schiff’s tender and compassionate treatment of this painful and sensitive subject make her book a classic.