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Preparing For Death and Grief

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying
by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley

This book was written by two hospice nurses who share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life. Through their stories one comes to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in with the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings and even choreograph their own final moments. It is filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and help them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death.

Dying Well
by Ira Byock, MD

Through the true stories of patients and families with whom Dr. Byock has work, he shows that a lot of important emotional work can be accomplished in the final months, weeks, and even days of life. It is a companion for families, showing them how to deal with doctors, how to talk to loved ones and how to make the end of life as meaningful and enriching as the beginning.

On Death and Dying
by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD

This book is one of the most important psychological studies of the late 20th century. It grew out of her famous interdisciplinary seminars on death, life and transition.  She explores the five stages of death: denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She helps provide a better understanding of how imminent death affects the dying individual, the professionals providing care and the person’s family.

On Life After Death
by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD

This is a collection of inspirational essays, revealing the afterlife as a return to wholeness of spirit. This book offers a compelling message of hope to the living to those dealing with a terminal illness or death of a loved one, so they may grow stronger from tragedy and live life to the fullest.

The Grace in Dying: A Message of Hope, Comfort and Spiritual Transformation
by Kathleen D. Singh

This book illuminates the profound psychological and spiritual transformations experienced by the dying as the natural process of death reconnects them with the source of their being. It offers a fresh, deeply comforting message of hope and courage as we contemplate the meaning of mortality.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lesson
by Mitch Albom

This is a story about a man connecting with a mentor who he had lost contact with over the years. He reconnects with him during the last months of his life. Their rekindled relationship turns into lessons on how to live.

 

General Grief Related to a Death

Can I Let You Go, My Love? 
by Kay van Dijk

This book is presented as a verse journal with the theme of personal growth and the spiritual search for meaning. It shows grieving individuals they are not alone and the cycle of grief is normal and that life does get better.

Good Grief
by Granger E. Westberg

This book identifies ten stages of grief, recognizing that grief is complex and deeply personal. It offers valuable insights on the emotional and physical responses individuals may experience during the natural process of grief.

How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies
by Therese A. Rando, Ph.D.

Few people are prepared for what grief brings. This book focuses on there being no right or wrong way to grieve. It leads one gently through the painful but necessary process of grieving and helps one to find the best path for one’s self. It includes a comprehensive resource listing.

Living When a Loved One Has Died
by Earl A. Grollman

Grief is universal though one’s reactions are different.  In this book he explains what emotions to expect when mourning, what pitfalls to avoid and how to work through the feelings. It is a good companion for those that are lonely and suffering, helping them to begin healing and slowing building a new life.

The Beginner’s Goodbye
by Anne Tyler

This is a story about a man whose wife unexpectedly dies. He feels as though he has been erased forever. Unexpectedly his wife begins to appear to him and helps him to live in the moment and to find some peace. Gradually he discovers there really may be a way for him to say goodbye.

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss
by Pat Schwiebert, Chuck DeKlyen and Taylor Bills

This book validates one’s grief experience. It is packed with wisdom and concrete recommendations. It affirms the bereaved and educates the un-bereaved.

What Helped Me When My Loved One Died
by Earl A. Grollman

A collection of personal stories by many who have mourned the death of a loved one.

Wishes for the Grieving and Healing Heart:  Why the Dragonfly Cries
by Tricia LaVoice

This book is based on the metaphor about the dragonfly standing a symbol of transformation and the different stages of life.  She expands on the metaphor using her own insights into the emotion of lose. Her original prose, poetry, reflections and pragmatic suggestions address the pain and suffering experienced by those who are grieving.

Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

A comprehensive book covering the essential lessons mourners have taught him. The 10 touchstones are the essential physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual signs for mourners to look for on their grief journey. There is a companion journal The Understanding Your Grief Journal  that may be purchased as a set.

Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas for surviving one’s grief journey.

Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief
by Joanne Cacciatore

When a loved one dies, the pain of loss can feel unbearable—especially in the case of a traumatizing death that leaves us shouting, “NO!” with every fiber of our body. Organized into fifty-two short chapters, Bearing the Unbearable is a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the very essence of our shared humanity. Through moving stories of her encounters with grief over decades of supporting individuals, families, and communities—as well as her own experience with loss—Cacciatore opens a space to process, integrate, and deeply honor our grief.

Grief After Sudden Death/Suicide: I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One
by Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair

This book is written for those who face the challenges of grieving after a sudden death. It covers difficult topics, such as the first few weeks, suicide, funerals and rituals, physical affects and depression.

Healing Your Traumatized Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Someone You Love Dies a Sudden, Violent Death
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas for families and friends who are affected by a sudden, violent death.

The Wilderness of Suicide Grief
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book is a compassionate guide to finding your way after the suicide death of someone you love.

 

Spirituality in Grief

A Grace Disguised:  How the Soul Grows Through Loss
by Jerry L Sittser

This book is about how grief allows each person the choice to know the grace that can transform his/her experience. The circumstances of the loss are not important, but what a person decides to with those circumstances is.  In coming to the end of oneself, it is possible to come to the beginning of a new life—one marked by spiritual death, joy, compassion and a deeper appreciation of simple blessings.

A Grief Observed
by C. S. Lewis

This book is an honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death and faith in the midst of loss.  It chronicles how a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe after a loss, and an inspirational tale of how it is possible to regain one’s bearings.

Grieving Mindfully: A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss
by Sameet M. Kumar, Ph.D

Although loss is an inevitable part of life, how you approach this fact can make the difference between meaningless pain and the manifestation of understanding and wisdom. It focuses on having a mindful approach to grief and by walking this path, one discovers the capacity of transformation and healing and finding the spiritual and emotional resilience to move though grief.

The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully
by Frank Ostaseki

Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves. Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. These Five Invitations show us how to wake up fully to our lives. They can be understood as best practices for anyone coping with loss or navigating any sort of transition or crisis; they guide us toward appreciating life’s preciousness. Awareness of death can be a valuable companion on the road to living well, forging a rich and meaningful life, and letting go of regret. 

 

Grief Meditations

A Time to Grieve, Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One
by Carol Staudacher

A collection of truly comforting, down-to-earth thoughts and meditations for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief
by Martha Whitmore Hickman

This book contains daily meditations that provide strength and thoughtful words to inspire and comfort those who are grieving.

Grief One Day at a Time: 365 Meditations to Help You Heal After Loss
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

Each day there is a brief entry for a whole calendar year which brings comfort and understanding to those who are struggling with grief.

Grieving the Death of a Spouse

Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse
by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. DeVries

This book has a sensitive and biblically oriented roadmap for bereaved spouses on their journey through grief.

Widow to Widow: Thoughtful, Practical Ideas for Rebuilding Your Life
by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg

This book offers advice for coping with the loss of a spouse. From learning to travel and eat alone to creating new routines to survive the holidays and anniversaries, it encourages individuals on their path to building a new life.

Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas for surviving the death of a spouse.

 

Grief Workbook/Journal

Surviving, Healing and Growing: The How to Survive the Loss of a Love Workbook
by Melba Colgrove

This is a companion to the book How to Survive the Loss of a Love.  It contains advice, inspirational verse and common sense for those who have suffered the death of a loved one.

The Understanding Your Grief Journal
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This is a companion to the book Understanding Your Grief.  They may be purchased together as a set.

Yoga for Grief and Loss
by Karla Helbert

This book demonstrates how the principles and practices of yoga can help relieve symptoms of grief allowing those who have experienced loss to move toward wholeness, peace, and feelings of connection with loved ones who have died. We are shown how to begin and sustain a personal practice, both on and off the yoga mat, which helps us to cope with and move through grief on multiple levels. Expressive and experiential exercises are included to help explore each of the branches of yoga and find ways to put the tenets of each branch into real life practice.

Colors of Loss and Healing: An Adult Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times
by Deborah Derman

This adult coloring book that combines beautiful drawings with inspirational words to help you quiet your mind and contemplate your journey toward healing.

Writing to Heal the Soul: Transforming Grief and Loss Through Writing
by Susan Zimmerman

Writing to Heal the Soul is not just for writers. It is for anyone who is suffering any kind of grief or loss, whether the injury, disability, or death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the end of a relationship. Lyrically illustrated with true stories from the author and others, the book offers simple yet inspiring writing exercises to help you resolve your pain as you transform your grief into words of hope and healing.

 

Loss of a Parent

Recovering from the Loss of a Parent
by Katherine Donnelly

It is a compassionate guide for individuals coping with the death of his/her parent. It provides practical ways grieving individuals can take steps toward recovery.

Healing The Adult Child’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Parent Dies
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas to help adults when their parent dies.

 

All Types of Losses

Living Through Personal Crisis
by Ann Kaiser Stearns

This book is about the small and large losses that happen to people and the experiences that plunge them into a state of adjustment. It guides people through the grief process and into the healing process.

Necessary Losses
by Judith Viorst

It is a philosophy for understanding and accepting life’s inevitabilities.  It focuses on how we grow and change through the losses that are a certain and necessary part of life.  Through our losses we are able to gain a deeper perspective, true maturity and fuller wisdom about life.

 

Loss of a Child

Recovering from the Loss of a Child
by Katherine Donnelly

The pain and shock when a child dies can seem unbearable.  This book provides wisdom and strategies for emotional recovery.  It provides practical ways grieving individuals can take steps toward recovery.

Healing Your Grieving Heart After Miscarriage: 100 Practical Ideas for Parents and Families
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas to help those affected by the tragedy of miscarriage.

Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Child Dies
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas to help parents when the unthinkable has happened and their child has died.

Healing a Grandparent’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Grandchild Dies
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 practical ideas to help grandparents when their grandchild has died.

 

Masculine Grief

Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing
by Thomas R. Golden

This book talks about how the genders differ in their healing.  It is a book for both men and women about the masculine side of healing from a loss. It is meant to be a map and a guide through the experience of loss.

 

Poetry

All in the End is Harvest:  An Anthology for Those Who Grieve
by Anges Whitaker

A collection of prose and poetry for those who grieve.

Giving Sorrow Words: Poems of Strength and Solace
by Karen van Meenen, Charles Rossiter, and Kathleen Adams

A collection of poems that bring strength and solace to those who are grieving.

Permission to Mourn: A New Way to Do Grief
by Tom Zuba

This book is a collection of poetry written after the devastating loss of several family members. Tom offers those living with the death of a loved one the tools, knowledge, and wisdom to create a full, joy-filled life. 

 

Grief During the Holidays

Healing Your Holiday Grief: 100 Practical Ideas for Blending Mourning and Celebration During the Holiday Season
by Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D. (Can be found at:  www.centerforloss.com/bookstore)

This book contains 100 ideas on how to survive the holidays by giving yourself permission to mourn and creating new traditions to incorporate healing rituals into your holidays.