Bereavement, grief, and recovery


How to comfort the grieving

First of all, understand what they might be going through.

• Choosing Life and Finding Meaning 30 Days After Dave's Tragic Death (Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook, HuffPost, 6-3-15)
• Keeping Those Who Have Passed Away Present in Our Lives Todayby Allison Gilbert, ideas from her book Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive by Allison Gilbert. "Encourages us to remember in a whole new way."
• The Lost Art of the Condolence Letter (Saul Austerlitz, Opinionator, NY Times, 2-10-14)
• Changing the Way We Mourn (Changing The Way We Mourn: Laura Prince at TEDxGoldenGatePark--video). Honor the dead by celebrating their life; help those who grieve by asking them to talk about the people they are mourning; anticipate death by holding those conversations you postpone but should have before you die.
• A Best Friend Is Gone. Grief Is Here to Stay (Martha Randolph Carr, Washington Post)
• The blessing of anger (Aaron Hamburger, Obit Magazine, 7-14-09) Sometimes friends and family don't realize that anger is one type of response to loss, one form of grief.
• Why you should never say "I Know How You Feel!" (Russell Friedman. Grief Recovery Method 8-28-13)
• Writing condolences for a coworker (Leslie O'Flahavan, Relate, 12-1-15).

• A Daughter's Separation Anxiety (Nicole Bokat, Opinionator series on anxiety ,
• Euphemisms for Death (Melissa Barber, Living with Dying blog, 9-14-12) By keeping the reality of death at arm's length, we're probably adding to bigger societal issues such as treating death as a taboo subject for discussion.
• Finding Joy in My Father’s Death (Ann Patchett, The End,NY Times, 4-15-13). "When my father was alive, our relationship was virtually symbiotic. After he was gone, I realized he’d been my antidepressant."
• A Partnership of Minds (David Brooks, NY Times, 7-20-07)
• Find Someone Who Gets It (Joan Hitchens, Grief Reflection, 5-4-11)
Good Grief (Meghan O'Rourke, New Yorker, 2-1-2010. Is there a better way to be bereaved? Grief is more complicated than Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's five stages. The new science of bereavement.
• Good Grief: A Constructive Approach to the Problem of Loss by Granger E. Westberg. This classic (1961) by the late Lutheran pastor and hospital chaplain, based on a popular sermon, identifies ten stages of grief: shock, emotion, depression, physical distress, panic, guilt, anger, resistance, hope, and acceptance, but, recognizing that grief is complex and deeply personal, defines no "right" way to grieve. Rev. Cecil Fike publishes a Good Grief Workbook for use by Good Grief Groups. Check out answers to the FAQ (frequently asked questions):
1) I want to talk about my mother who died, but none of my family will let me talk with them...
2) I lost my father several years ago and just recently my sister who was only 26 years old died and I feel like I am losing control of my life...
3) It has been 6 months since my husband died, how long will the grief and pain last?
4) Is there anything that I can do to speed up the healing process?
5) Sometimes I feel like I am going crazy or losing my mind, is this normal?
• Good Grief: Coping After Loss (Lybi Ma, Psychology Today, 5-1-03) Patterns and stages of grieving the loss of a loved one are not always the same from person to person.
• Grief at Work (American Hospice Foundation) Unaddressed grief costs not only businesses, but also the healthcare system at large. Grief reduces productivity due to absenteeism, mistakes, turnover and increased use of health benefits.
• Death at the Worksite: Helping Grieving Family Members (Helen Fitzgerald, American Hospice Foundation)
• Responding to the Grieving Client/a> (Nicholas McConnell, Naomi Naierman, and Johanna Turner, American Hospice Foundation)
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Grief support groups

• Benefits of Grief Support Groups (Patti Cox, Hello Grief)
• Directory of Grief Support Groups by Loss Experienced (My Grief Angels). Categories: AIDS/​HIV, Alzheimer's & dementia loss, aircraft casualty, aquatic accidents/​drownings, baby/​pregnancy/​child loss, cancer loss, children, complicated/​prolonged grief support, domestic violence, drunk driver loss, families that have lost a child, firefights/​ERP, heroin, homicide loss/​murdered, international groups, LGBTQ, men dealing with loss, meningitis, mesothelioma, military, veterans, online grief support, police family & friends, students, substance passing, suicide loss, traumatic loss, twins, widowers, victims resources)
• ACEs Connection. This community of practice uses trauma-informed, resilience-building practices to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences & further trauma.
• Alt.Support.Grief FAQs (remnants of a once lively support group)
• Compassionate Friends: Where Bereaved Parents Don't Feel So Alone (Linton Weeks, NPR, 4-19-10)
• Infant/​child loss support groups (Center for Loss in Multiple Births, or CLIMB)
• Find a GriefShare group meeting near you (search by zip code)
• Grief Healing (bereavement counselor Marty Tousley's helpful online Grief Healing Discussion Groups
• Griefnet.org "Grace happens." (e-mail support groups and general help with loss and bereavement)
• Guide: Grief Support for Children (EverPlans)
• How Facebook Rewires the Way We Grieve (Arthur Goldwag, Rewire Me, 2-25-14)
• Legacy Connect (online advice on grieving, mourning, and bereavement)
• Kidsaid (a safe place for kids to help each other deal with grief and loss)
• Letting Children Share in Grief (Catherine Saint Louis, NY Times, 9-19-12). New attitudes toward children and funerals--and grief camps, too.
• National Students of AMF (college students supporting college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one).
• Online support group forums (MISSFoundation)
• Organizations and Resources (ADEC's helpful links to websites offering assistance and information on a variety of topics related to grief, trauma, dying and death)
• A Place to Honor Grief (Tom Golden's site, no longer accepting submissions)
• The Sharing Place (Salt Lake City--providing grief support for children). Listen to This American Life segment, About That Farm Upstate (Act Three, Birds & Bees, 5-15-15). Read transcript here (scroll down to Act Three). Jonathan Goldstein reports on a house in Salt Lake City where kids come to have death explained to them, not just that people die but how they die. "The Sharing Place is a grief support center for kids who have lost a family member. It's one of hundreds of centers like it around the country. Kids sit in support groups led by grownups, but the point is to allow children to talk to other children about their grief....Suicide is always one of the highest, if not the highest cause of death for Sharing Place families at any given time. There's actually a special group devoted specifically to suicide.
• Twinless Twins support group
• When Family Doesn't Get It - Recovery Partners Will ! Kathy Brous, ACEs Connection)
• Mothers Find a Helping Hand in Sobriety Coaches (Marisa Fox, NY Times 7-11-14)
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Books about loss, grief, bereavement, and remembering

To help you make it through the night

I use that phrase because more than once I have given people a copy of DYING: A Book of Comfort, which they put aside and ignored--until, one night, grief kept them awake, they picked it up, and found it helpful. I have also been told that people found it on the bedside table of a family member who died.
Clicking on a title here will take you to an Amazon.com description of a book and reviews. If you purchase a book after clicking on a link here that takes you to Amazon, my site gets a small referral fee, which helps pay for the Authors Guild server that hosts the site. I encourage shopping at your local independent bookstore, but Amazon has an excellent database, and bookstores don't carry many of these books.


• Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie
• Babcock, Elise. When Life Becomes Precious: The Essential Guide for Patients, Loved Ones, and Friends of Those Facing Serious Illnesses
• Beauvoir, Simone de. A Very Easy Death (about the death of her mother)
• Braestrup, Kate. Here If You Need Me: A True Story
• Brody, Jane. Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life
• Byock, Ira. Dying Well
• Callanan, Maggie, and Patricia Kelley. Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
• Elison, Jennifer and Chris McGonigle. Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief gives permission for the relief felt by many primary caregivers (especially spouses) about death after a long illness, or when one is released from a difficult or abusive relationship.
• Funderburg, Lise. Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home (a compelling and beautifully written memoir by a grown daughter—a white-looking mixed-race girl raised in an integrated Philadelphia neighborhood—who gets to know her dying father in a string of pilgrimages to his boyhood hometown in rural Georgia)
• Gunther, John J. Death Be Not Proud (a young son's death from brain cancer)
• Hammer, Signe. By Her Own Hand: Memoirs of a Suicide's Daughter
• Harris, Mark. Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial (why eco-friendly burials make sense)
• Hickman, Martha W. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief
• Hill, Susan. Family (about the death of a premature child)
• James, John W. and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith. By the same authors (with Leslie Mathews): When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses
• Jamison, Kay Redfield. Nothing Was the Same. The story of a midlife romance and marriage (she manic-depressive, he extremely dyslexic, and the difference between grief, madness, and depression. More about the marriage and dying than about widowhood and grief.
• Kaplan, Robbie Miller. How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words for Difficult Times--Illness and Death (less expensive ordered from the author)
• Kessler, David. The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life's Final Chapter (about the need to be treated as a living human being, the need for hope, the need to express emotions, the need to participate in care, the need for honesty, the need for spirituality, and the need to be free of physical pain).
• Kowalski, Gary. Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
• Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People
• Latus, Janine. If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation
• Levin, Mark R. Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish
• Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed
• Lindquist, Ulla-Carin. Rowing Without Oars: A Memoir of Living and Dying (a brief, grim, and moving memoir of living and dying with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease--not an easy death).
• Lynn, Joanne and Joan Harrold. Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness (Center to Improve Care for the Dying). Very practical, covering all the bases.
• McCracken, Anne and Mary Semel. A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies
• McNees, Pat, ed. Dying: A Book of Comfort. Gems of comfort, healing words on loss and grief.
• McWilliams, Peter, Harold H. Bloomfield, and Melba Colgrove. How to Survive the Loss of a Love
• Miller, James, with Susan Cutshall. The Art of Being a Healing Presence: A Guide for Those in Caring Relationships (how to be present in a way that is healing, nourishing, and potentially even transforming)
• Mitchell, Ellen and eight other mothers. Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child (powerful book in which nine bereaved mothers share their experiences about what life is like after losing a child in their teens or twenties, including Ellen Mitchell, Carol Barkin, Audrey Cohen, Lorenza Colletti, Barbara Eisenberg, Barbara Goldstein, Madeline Perri Kasden, Phyllis Levine, Ariella Long, Rita Volpe )
• Morrison, Blake. When Did You Last See Your Father?: A Son's Memoir of Love and Loss
• Myers, Edward. When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults
• Nuland, Sherwin B. How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter (superb explanations of the actual physical process of dying and good on why and when to stop trying to rescue the terminally ill and to let them die peacefully and in less pain and discomfort)
• Oates, Joyce Carol. A Widow's Story. A memoir of sudden widowhood, after 48 years of marriage. Her remarriage a year later elicited strong reactions. Read Should Joyce Carol Oates have revealed her second marriage? (David L. Ulin, Jacket Copy, L.A.Times 5-15-11) and listen to Michael Krasny's interview with Oates, KQED (and read NPR's forum comments). (See also "The Widow's Story," about the death of her husband, Raymond J. Smith, in New Yorker (12-13-10, subscribers only).
• O'Rourke, Meghan. The Long Goodbye: a memoir,m which Alice Gregory reviews for NPR in 'The Long Goodbye': A Syllabus For Modern Mourning.
• Picardie, Ruth. Before I Say Goodbye: Recollections and Observations from One Woman's Final Year
• Rando, Theresa A. How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies
• Rappaport, Nancy. In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide. Haunted by the 1963 death of her mother, a Boston socialite, from an overdose when Rappaport was only four (the youngest of six children), the author tries to reconstruct what happened. As her brother asked: Didn't their mother know that she would leave all these shattered children wondering if it was their fault?
• Redfern, Suzanne and Susan K. Gilbert. The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child. Redfern and Gilbert reflect on their own experiences and tell the stories of 22 other parents whose children died at various ages and from various causes, from disease and accidents to suicide and terrorism. Organized in sections that mirror the stages of grief, from immediate reactions, seeking support, effects on family life and relationships, to integrating the loss into one's life and maintaining connections with a loved one.
• Rinpoche, Sogyal. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

• Rosenblatt, Roger. Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt, which E.L. Doctorow describes thus: "A painfully beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backwards. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive."
• Sittser, Jerry L. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss (about the transformative grace that can come even in the face of catastrophic loss)
• Taylor, Nick. A Necessary End (about death of parents)
• Vincent, Eleanor. Swimming with Maya: A Mother's Story (how the daughter's fall from a horse ended in organ donations--transforming a mother's grief)
• Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow
• Waxman, Robert and Linda. Losing Jonathan (losing a beloved child to drugs)
• Wiesel, Elie. Night (powerful account of surviving the nightmare world of the Nazi death camps)
• Williams, Marjorie. The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate (the last third is about her losing battle with cancer, saying goodbye to her family)
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Grieving the loss of a child

• Advocating for Wholeness (Kara L.C. Jones on self-care for bereaved parents)
• AMEND (Aiding Mothers and Fathers Experiencing Neonatal Death), facilitating one-on-one contact for bereaved parents.
• Angels Registration (Shaken Baby Alliance)
• Bereaved Families of Ontario (helpful links)
• Child Death, helpful links, including Creative Prompts (Kota Press)
• Compassionate Friends: Where Bereaved Parents Don't Feel So Alone (Linton Weeks's NPR story about Compassionate Friends, 4-19-10). 'Losing a child is not like other losses of loved ones. Folded into the death of a child is the death of the future..."
• Compassionate Friends (national self-help organization for help grieving the loss of a child of any age). Resources include a Chapter Locator and online brochures on topics ranging from Understanding Grief, Sudden Death, Surviving Your Child's Suicide or Homicide, The Death of an Adult Child, Death of a Special-Needs Child, Adults Grieving the Death of a Sibling, Suggestions for Various Professionals Dealing with Someone's Loss of a Child. Compassionate Friends' credo: The Compassionate Friends credo: "We reach out to each other in love to share the pain as well as the joy, share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts, and help each other to grieve as well as to grow. We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends." Here Linton Weeks describes the healing that goes on at a Compassionate Friends conference.
• Deep Grief: Creating Meaning from Mourning (Linton Weeks, NPR, 2-9-10). Some parents in deep grief have found a way to tamp down the madness a little, to go on living . . . by creating a memorial that celebrates the memory of the child, and, at the same time, sustains and propels the child's spirit and hopes and dreams into the future. Story briefly describes three memorial organizations through which bereaved parents can find ways to honor and remember their children: Kate's Kart, Carol's Kitchen, and Healthy Child Healthy World.
• Dougy Center (national center for grieving children and families)
• Getting Grief Right (Patrick O'Malley, Opinionator, NY Times, 1-10-15). The "story of loss has three “chapters.” Chapter 1 has to do with attachment: the strength of the bond with the person who has been lost. Understanding the relationship between degree of attachment and intensity of grief brings great relief for most patients....Chapter 2 is the death event itself. ...Understanding the relationship between degree of attachment and intensity of grief brings great relief for most patients. I often tell them that the size of their grief corresponds to the depth of their love...Chapter 3 is the long road that begins after the last casserole dish is picked up — when the outside world stops grieving with you." A support group can be immensely helpful. "She later described the relief she felt in the presence of other bereaved parents, in a place where no acting was required. It was a place where people understood that they didn’t really want to achieve closure after all. To do so would be to lose a piece of a sacred bond."
• Heartstrings (a community of support for grieving parents)
• Life After Death: How the mother of a slain 9-year-old sank into despair, then sought justice (Neely Tucker, Washington Post, 1-20-10, part 1)
• Children Don’t Always Live (Jayson Greene, NY Times, 10-22-16) "My daughter, Greta, was 2 years old when she died — or rather, when she was killed. A piece of masonry fell eight stories from an improperly maintained building and struck her in the head... Seven weeks ago, our second child was born; a son, Greta’s younger brother. They would have been exactly three and a half years apart. With his birth, I have become a father to a living child and a spirit — one child on this side of the curtain, and another whispering from beneath it. The confusion is constant, and in my moments of strength I succumb to it. I had a child die, and I chose to become a father again. There can be no greater definition of stupidity or bravery; insanity or clarity; hubris or grace....My son will always have a dead sister; when I am 50, my heart will ache in this exact same way it does today. Children remain dead in ways adults do not, and on bad mornings, in the wrong light, everything from here on out feels like ashes. Thankfully, I see it that way only in the margins."
• Life After the Death of My Son: What I'm Learning by Dennis Apple. A candid account of the devastating loss a parent feels on losing a child. Writes one reader, who also lost a son: "I highly recommend this powerful, yet gentle read; it is truly a guiding light through this storm."
• Life After Tim, in which Janet Burroway (St. Petersburg Times 12-12-04) describes what she learned about grieving after her son Tim Eysselinck, a former Ranger and Army captain, committed suicide after finishing work in Iraq.
Never Let Go (three-part series, by Kelley Benham, Tampa Bay Times, 12-9-12). Micro preemie parents decide: Fight or let go of their extremely premature baby? Part 1 Lost and Found . When a baby is born at the edge of viability, which is the greater act of love: to save her, or to say goodbye? Part 2, The Zero Zone In a neverland of sick babies, the NICU is a place where there is no future or past. Every moment is a fight for existence.; and Part 3, Calculating the Value of a Life.
• M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death), a Christian, nonprofit organization that reaches out to families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage.
• Multiplicity: The Special Challenge of Parenting Twins & More : Loss, Prematurity, and Special Needs (Elizabeth A. Pector, MD)
• Now We Are Alone: Living On Without Our Sons (Linton Weeks, All Things Considered, 9-3-10, read or listen, 7 min, 44 sec)
• Our First Conversation (Hilton Koppe, Pulse)
• Parents of Fallen Troops Find a Home for Their Grief (Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, 8-13-12). American Gold Star Manor is slowly returning to its 60-year mission as the only dedicated retirement home for bereaved parents of the nation's military.
• Pilgrimage Through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child by Linda Lawrence Hunt (based on the loss of her daughter and interviews with 30 families, "a powerful look at the many different ways we grieve and how to accept all of them."
• She let her son play in the rain. He never came back. Nora Krug (Washington Post, 8-26-14) tells Anna Whiston-Donaldson's story of working through the grief from her son's drowning, which she also shares in her memoir Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love "I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home…."
• What Comes After by Liza Mundy ("Losing Leslie" on the cover, Washington Post Magazine, 11-11-07). They lost their daughter in the deadliest campus massacre in U.S. history. Now one parent thinks a lawsuit might be the only way to hold someone accountable for her death, while the other believes it would only prolong their pain. Click here to read the online discussion of the article and the issues involved. Holly Adams and Tony Sherman suffered an inconceivable tragedy when their daughter, Leslie Sherman, was among 32 people killed by a gunman in April 2007 on the Virginia Tech campus. Now they are divided on how to move on with their lives, as Holly struggles to decide whether to join other grieving families to push for accountability with a lawsuit or to focus on her husband and their other daughter, a student at Tech.Click here for the Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel.
• Who Will Hear a Stored Voice? (Sharon Dobie, Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine,
• Zoom: A Father's Story -- Michael's Story (Bill Chadwick's story and website, with particularly helpful pages on How friend and family can help (with an coworker, a stepparent, a sibling, a grandparent, an employee, etc.)
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Books About Grieving the Loss of a Child


• Dennis L. Apple. Life After the Death of My Son: What I'm Learning
• Lorraine Ash. Life Touches Life: A Mother's Story of Stillbirth and Healing (for parents grieving after the loss of a stillborn baby)
• Judith R. Bernstein. When The Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter
• Deborah L. Davis. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby. Tries to cover many different types of loss.
• Ann Finkbeiner. After the Death of a Child: Living with Loss through the Years
• Sandy Goodman. Love Never Dies: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Love
• Sherokee Ilse. Empty Arms: Coping After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death. Parents with stillborn children are often given this book about baby loss in the hospital. Lori A. Martini, who didn't, wrote "Why didn't we get this book from our doctor's office or our hospital? It could have changed how we met our son, how long we held him, the kind of pictures we took, how we included others during `his' time, and could have also helped us to cherish and increase the memories, mementos and all of the other very normal/​healing parenting rituals that others (who were able to read Empty Arms during their loss experience) hold on to now...and that we lack because of not getting the chance to be guided by this enlightening and inspiring book."
• Paul Kirk and Pat Schwiebert (diector of Grief Watch) When Hello Means Goodbye (56-page booklet for parents whose child dies before birth, at birth or shortly after birth, in their early days of grief)
• Anne McCracken and Mary Semel. A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies
• Elizabeth McCracken. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir. "This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending," writes the author. A particularly fine memoir.
• Mitchell, Ellen and others Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child (powerful book in which nine bereaved mothers share their experiences about what life is like after losing a child in their teens or twenties, including Carol Barkin, Audrey Cohen, Lorenza Colletti, Barbara Eisenberg, Barbara Goldstein, Madeline Perri Kasden, Phyllis Levine, Ariella Long, Rita Volpe)
• Rapp, Emily. The Still Point of the Turning World: A Mother's Story. Ronan was diagnosed at nine months old with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare and always-fatal degenerative disorder; Rapp and her husband had to learn to live with their child in the moment; to find happiness in the midst of sorrow; to parent without a future. See also Sarah Manguso's review, Requiem (NY Times, 3-15-13) and listen to Terry Gross's interview with the author (Fresh Air, NPR, 3-18-13).
• Redfern, Suzanne and Susan K. Gilbert. The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child. Redfern and Gilbert reflect on their own experiences and tell the stories of 22 other parents whose children died at various ages and from various causes, from disease and accidents to suicide and terrorism. Organized in sections that mirror the stages of grief, from immediate reactions, seeking support, effects on family life and relationships, to integrating the loss into one's life and maintaining connections with a loved one.
•Whiston-Donaldson, Anna. Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love Anna Whiston-Donaldson's story of working through the grief from her son's drowning. "I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home…."
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Grieving the loss of a pet


• The ambivalent bond with a ball of fur (Natalie Angier on grieving the death of her cat, New York Times Science section)
• Pet Loss and End-of-Life FAQ (helpful ASPCA articles, including one on pet hospice or palliative care, to reduce suffering). See also Ann Cochran's practical article, When a Pet Dies: Where to Go For Help (Washingtonian Magazine, 3-30-11), and her story Saying Goodbye to a Favorite Pet (her poodle, Lacey).
• How much can you mourn a pet? (Finlo Rohrer, BBC News Magazine, 1-13-10)
• Children and the Death of a Pet (Harold Cohen, PsychCentral,
• The 15 Myths about Pet Loss (Tom Gray, PsychCentral)
• Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski
• When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses by John W. James, Russell Friedman. and Leslie Mathews
• Daughter Wants to Help Mom after Death of Beloved Dog (Marty Tousley, Open to Hope, 2-11-10)
• Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish by Mark R. Levin. If you've ever loved a pet, you need this book, says one reader.
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AARP resources on grief and loss

After Life. Radiolab stares down the very moment of passing, and speculates about what may lay beyond. What happens at the moment when we slip from life...to the other side? Is it a moment? If it is, when exactly does it happen? And what happens afterward? A show of questions that don't have easy answers so, in a slight departure from Radiolab's regular format, they present eleven meditations on how, when, and even if we die. (Followed by some angry responses from listeners!)

Ask a Mortician. Caitlin Doughty frankly answers questions people ask about death, dying, decomposition, mourning, funeral customs, etc. (e.g., "How long does rigor mortis last?")--on video, on the Ask a Mortician channel of YouTube. See also Caitlin's website The Order of the Good Death, a website about mortality.

The Beneficial Effects of Life Story and Legacy Activities by Pat McNees (Journal of Geriatric Care Management, Spring 2009). Get PDF file of journal article here (61.9KB)

Buddhism 101 (Heather Kirn Lanier, in Sweet, a Literary Confession, an issue on dying.

Clearances , a poem by Seamus Heaney (Poetry Foundation)


Coping with Loss. Links to many useful resources on various topics, including advance directives, adolescent and children's grief, cultural differences in mourning, death of a grandchild or a grandparent, death of a parent, child, or sibling, end-of-life issue, funerals and memorials, what to expect from grief and self-care, gender differences in the grief process, and so on -- from the Association of Death Education and Counseling (ADEC)

A Daughter's Separation Anxiety (Nicole Bokat, Opinionator series on anxiety , NY Times, 4-15-13). "When my father was alive, our relationship was virtually symbiotic. After he was gone, I realized he’d been my antidepressant."

Euphemisms for Death (Melissa Barber, Living with Dying blog, 9-14-12) By keeping the reality of death at arm's length, we're probably adding to bigger societal issues such as treating death as a taboo subject for discussion.

Financial Guidance for Widows Struggling Through Grief’s Fog (Kerry Hannon, Retirement, NY Times, 2-19-16)

Finding Joy in My Father’s Death (Ann Patchett, The End, NY Times Opinionator, 2-27-15) "I was glad for my father, the end of his suffering, his ticket off the raft, but it was more than that."

Find Someone Who Gets It (Joan Hitchens, Grief Reflection, 5-4-11)

Forgiveness (Diane Jardel, Cowbird). Lovely poem about complex reaction to a mother about whom one held ambivalent feelings.

‘For Sorrow There Is No Remedy’. Julian Barnes's interesting essay-review of Joyce Carol Oates' memoir of sudden widowhood, after 48 years of marriage, A Widow's Story. Worth reading for the essay alone.

Fresh Widows: A Conversation (the book) by Sue Bastian and Mary Metzger and Fresh Widows (the blog). Two women who both lost their husbands after long illness (one from cancer, one from Alzheimer's) meet and write to each other. This refreshing take on widowhood acknowledges the grief but conveys how finding a widow-buddy to get through that first year can be a positive step toward healing and the kind of friendship you may need when you leave the world of couples. With a widow-buddy you don't need to explain how you're feeling and what you're going through. A quick read in short takes--just what a grieving widow or widower can handle.

Good Grief: Coping After Loss (Lybi Ma, Psychology Today, 5-1-03, 7-16-09). Coping styles vary.

Grief and Bereavement, audio and transcript of roundtable discussion with gerontologist Ken Doka, social scientist Phyllis Silverman, and Rabbi Earl Grollman of the Center of Death Education, hosted by Linda Wertheimer, for All Things Considered, as part of its wonderful series The End of Life: Exploring Death in America.

Grief and loss, articles about (Marty Tousley's helpful page of links)
Grief and loss (important explanations on CaringInfo, site of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization), including a particularly helpful explanation of types of grief and loss (including anticipatory mourning, sudden loss, complicated grief, grieving during the holidays, grief and loss following traumas and disaster, grief and young people)

The Grief I’m Not Allowed to Have (Stefani Twyford, Feminine.Collective, 6-29-16) "While in many ways I am very lucky to still have my parents with me, I am also aware that I am intensely grieving for two relationships I lost a very long time ago. When the balance shifted from being their daughter to being their caregiver, the emotional loss was huge. And over time, as they continue to decline, I seesaw back and forth between feeling blessed and feeling wiped out."

Grief at Work (American Hospice Foundation). One of several helpful pieces on grief, including several on Helping children grieve.

Grief, loss, and transitions (many relevant poems, Journey of Hearts blog)

Grief, bereavement, and coping with loss (National Cancer Institute)



How to Conduct Compassionate Interviews at the Scene of a Tragedy & Dealing with Our Own Responses to What We See and Hear: A Guide for Journalists by Russell Friedman and John W. James (The Grief Recovery Institute Educational Foundation--a 28-page PDF file well worth downloading, whether you're a journalists or not).

How to Help Ourselves Through the Holidays (Donna Kalb, on Zoom: A Father's Story website) Don't Forget: "Anticipation of any holiday is usually much worse than the actual holiday."

How to Move On After the Death of a Loved One (Lisa H. Warren)

It Is Never Over, Never Escaped: Memories of Religious Terror in Kashmir (Aarti Tikoo Singh, My Turn, Newsweek, 1-2-09) -- For years, only news from Kashmir could stir my nightmares of childhood terror. Then came Mumbai.


It’s the hard days that determine who you are (Sheryl Sandberg, Boston Globe, 5-16-16). An edited version of a commencement speech she gave at the University of California, Berkeley). A powerful speech about the transforming power of gratitude. 'A few weeks after Dave died, I was talking to my friend Phil about a father-son activity that Dave was not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave.” Phil put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.” ...anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself. ' You can watch video of speech on Facebook.

KidsPeace (helping kids in crisis)

Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief by Jennifer Elison and Chris McGonigle gives permission for this common but nontraditional response to death, the relief felt by many primary caregivers (especially spouses) after a long illness, or felt when one is released from a difficult or abusive relationship.

A LifeCare ® Guide to Grief and Bereavement (PDF)

Living alone
• Why I'm So Intrigued By This New Chapter Of My Life -- Living Alone (Lisa Condie, HuffPost, 11-23-13)
• A Silent Partner to Share the Path of Love (Sarah Herrington, Modern Love, 11-21-13) Arriving at the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, of finding the perfect in the imperfect.

The Long Goodbye: a memoir by Meghan O'Rourke, which Alice Gregory reviews for NPR in 'The Long Goodbye': A Syllabus For Modern Mourning.

Lottery Tickets (Elizabeth Alexander, Personal History, New Yorker, 2-9-15) Beautiful piece about grieving for a husband.

See also Meghan O'Rourke's excellent series about grief and grieving (which became the book):
• The Long Goodbye
• The Long Goodbye:Finding a Metaphor for Your Loss
• The Long Goodbye: “Normal” vs. “Complicated” Grief
• Hamlet’s Not Depressed. He’s Grieving.
• Dreaming of the Dead
• Can Nature Help Assuage Your Grief?
• The Long Goodbye: Watching Someone You Love Accept Death
• The Long Goodbye: What Is It Like To Recover From Grief?
• Finding a Metaphor for Your Loss
• Hamlet's Not Depressed. He's Grieving.
• And it's all in a book: The Long Goodbye: A Memoir.
An excerpt: "In the days following my mother's death, I did not know what I was supposed to do, nor, it seemed, did my friends and colleagues, especially those who had never suffered a similar loss. Some sent flowers but did not call for weeks. One friend launched into fifteen minutes of small talk when she saw me, before asking how I was, as if we had to warm up before diving into the churning, dangerous waters of grief. Others sent worried e-mails a few weeks later, signing off: 'I hope you're doing well.' It was a kind sentiment, but it made me angry. I was not 'doing well.' And I found no relief in that worn-out refrain that at least my mother was 'no longer suffering.'"

'Making Toast': Simple Gestures for Moving On , National Public Radio story and review of Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt, which E.L. Doctorow describes thus: "A painfully beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backwards. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive."

National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC). Resources include Webinars (free to members, a fee for nonmembers). See other resources, including this list of Books to help children and teenagers cope with change and loss

New Novel Explores 'What We Lose' When We Lose A Parent (Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviews Zinzi Clemmons about her loosely autobiographical novel What We Lose, Weekend Edition, NPR, 7-16-17) . The novel: What We Lose


On Loss and Regret (André Aciman, NY Times, 2-2-13). "Remorse now hangs like an albatross: you should have tried harder to make special occasions for her. She had probably expected and deserved more than the handful you doled out over the years."

The Order of the Good Death, a group of funeral industry professionals, academics, and artists exploring ways to prepare a death phobic culture for their inevitable mortality. Read their blog.

Starting Over at 62 (Robert Julian, star of the reality series, Golden Gays, on Huff Post blog, 4-6-13). On coping with the loss of his partner of 23 years.

Suddenly, They’re All Gone (Carol Mithers, The New Old Age, NY Times, 3-22-13) The caregiving is over, but instead of feeling relieved, I feel worse.

The Trauma of Being Alive (Mark Epstein, Sunday Review, NY Times, 8-3-13) An undercurrent of injury and disaster runs through ordinary life. "The first day of school and the first day in an assisted-living facility are remarkably similar. Separation and loss touch everyone." ... "The willingness to face traumas — be they large, small, primitive or fresh — is the key to healing from them."

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. Her entire family perished in the Pacific tsunami that swept through Sri Lanka on Dec. 26, 2004. She was the sole survivor. The narrator for the audio book wrote: "I was privileged to be the narrator for this book. It is the most profound book I have ever read and also one of the most beautiful, gripping and readable."

What the Living Do (a poem by Marie Howe, The Atlantic, April 1994)

Death, dying, and grief in the age of social media

• Rules for Social Media Posts on Death -- Let the Family Take the Lead (Cranberry, End of Life Stories, 8-7-17) "Your social media is an extension of who you are. I get it. You “need” to express your pain, acknowledge your relationship with the deceased, and pray for the family. Yes. However... This may seem trivial, silly, and not worth talking about, but I promise you it isn’t. If the person is married, let the spouse post first. If the person is “young” and single, let the partner, parents, or siblings post first. If the person is “old” and single, let the children post first. If you can’t identify the family/​inner circle of the person, you probably shouldn’t be posting at all."
• An Online Generation Redefines Mourning (Hannah Seligson, NY Times, 3-21-14). For the milennials, condolence notes may come in the form of text messages. Indirectly, a guide to helpful online sites and tasteless online behavior, including "performative grief," or "self-indulgent, ‘look at me’ behavior," and comments that can publicly inflict hurt on suffering families.
• How Social Media Is Changing The Way We Approach Death (Paul Bisceglio, The Atlantic, 8-20-13) Death has long been taboo in an American culture that values youth, but an open conversation online can increase our enjoyment of life and understanding of its eventual end.
• On Twitter, Scott Simon's Long Goodbye To His Mother (Andy Carvin, The Two-Way, NPR, 7-30-13)
• Scott Simon On Sharing His Mother's Final Moments On Twitter (NPR staff, All Things Considered, 7-30-13)
• Scott Simon's Tweets About Dying Mother Spur Conversation On Public Grief, Death On Social Media
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Online grief, bereavement, loss, and mourning sites, forums, and discussion groups

• Canadian Virtual Hospice (information and support on palliative and end-of-life care, loss and grief
• Caregiver Finances (Caring.com)
• Compassionate Friends (grief support after the loss of a child)
• Coursework in Grief (a free online resource)
• The End (Opinionator columns about death and dying and end-of-life care, The New York Times)
• End of Life Stories (grieflossstories)
• GriefNet.org
• Grieving.com (there are special forums for Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Partner, Losing Family and Friends, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Pet, Violent Death, Caregiving and Terminal Illness, Coping with Terminal Illness & Upcoming Death, Grief & Justice, Grief & the Legal System, Grief and War, and so on.
• Grieving Behind the Badge ("Changing the way first responders and their families cope with grief" -- among other things providing an invaluable assortment of links to other resources)
• Hello Grief (a community that understands grief and loss)
• The Inspired Funeral (support for people wishing to deepen end-of-life ritual experiences by funeral director Amy Cunningham)
• Journeys Through Grief (the Sweeney Alliance)
• KidsAid.com (a safe place for kids to help each other deal with grief and loss)
• LegacyConnect
• Lisa Frank Mix Tape (“90s Music, 21st Century Grief”) Zoe Feldman invites essays on loss, in exchange for which she sends you a mix tape). "The only thing that helped me was talking to people my age who had experienced some devastating loss,” she told the New York Times.
• Modern Loss (candid conversations about grief) ("Loss hurts. Tell us how you coped and we must might publish your story"--essays, advice, and discussions of questions it might be hard to find answers to elsewhere.
• Open to Hope (giving a voice to grief and recovery after loss of a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a child)
• The Order of the Good Death, site also of Ask the Mortician
• Parents of Murdered Children (for family and friends of those who have died by violence)
• Planet Grief (comfort, hope, help)
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Buy Now - Dying: A Book of Comfort


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Selections from DYING
about Grief and Recovery


There are many, many more in the book, of course.

"For two years . . . I was just as crazy as you can be and still be at large. I didn't have any really normal minutes during those two years. It wasn't just grief. It was total confusion. I was nutty, and that's the truth. How did I come out of it? I don't know, because I didn't know when I was in it that I was in it."
~ Helen Hayes, the actress, on the death of her husband Charles MacArthur


And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
~ Algernon Charles Swinburne

You can't prevent birds of sorrow fling over your head--but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.
~ Chinese proverb

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing Eyes--
I wonder if it weighs like Mine--
Or has an easier size.
~ Emily Dickinson

Grief can be the garden of compassion.
~ Jelaluddin Rumi

Buy the gift book edition of DYING: A Book of Comfort

Complicated and disenfranchised grief and ambiguous loss

Complicated grief reactions include minimal reaction to death and chronic grief, which lasts longer than usual and with symptoms close to those for major depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress. Disenfranchised grief is grief that is not acknowledged as "legitimate" by society -- for example, grief for aborted or miscarried babies, the loss of a pet, the loss of a home or place of residence (for children, especially), a mother's loss of children to adoption, the grief of a birth mother who relinquishes the child so someone else may raise him or her, the grief of the death of a celebrity, the death of an "old love," sometimes the loss of loved one to suicide. Even regular forms of grief may become disenfranchised when friends decide that the "normal" length of time for grieving has been exceeded.
• When Grief Won't Relent (Jane E. Brody, NY Times, 2-16-15) Complicated grief is an extreme, unrelenting reaction to loss that persists for more than six months and can result in a serious risk to health. It may respond best to "complicated grief treatment, which relies heavily on strategies used in cognitive behavioral therapy." (Based on story about complicated grief by Katherine Shear, MD, in New England Journal of Medicine.)
• Prolonged Grief Disorder (PG 13) test
• Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow by Kenneth J. Doka
• Grief and disenfranchised grief: domestic infant adoption facts (report on a speech by Evelyn Robinson, for Exiled Mothers). Birth mothers exploited by adoption--'mothers who lost our babies to the adoption industry in both closed adoptions and "open" adoptions' and who experience long-term grief.
• Ambiguous Loss and Disenfranchised Grief (Kathleen Gilbert, material for a classroom discussion, part of Grief in a Family Context)
• Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Pauline Boss). Family therapist and researcher Boss has studied ambiguous loss in the families of pilots declared missing in action in Vietnam and Cambodia, in midlife couples whose adolescent children have recently left home, and in families where one member has Alzheimer's.
• What is complicated grief? (Linda Goldman, www.childrensgrief.net) "When life issues are unexpressed or unacknowledged, they become locked in 'frozen blocks of time.' These frozen blocks of time stop the normal grief process denying the child the ability to grieve."
• Factors that affect complicated grief
• UNITE, Inc. (grief support after miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death). See UNITE's links and resources.
• Perinatal Loss and Grief (slideshare)
• CLIMB (Center for Loss in Multiple Births)
• AMEND (Aiding a Mother and Father Experiencing Neonatal Death)
• American SIDS Institute (sudden infant death syndrome)
• Angels Registration (Shaken Baby Alliance)
• Disenfranchised Grief (Elizabeth Kupferman)
• Educational resources for when your baby is stillborn (Wisconsin Stillbirth Service Program, WiSSP)

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Good books (including memoirs) about grief, bereavement, and recovery


Clicking on a title will take you to an Amazon.com description of the book and reviews. This is not an endorsement of shopping at Amazon.com (we encourage shopping at your local independent bookstore), but Amazon does have an excellent database. And if you purchase a book after clicking on a link here, we get a small referral fee, which helps cover the cost of maintaining this site.

• Alexander, Eben. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife (a neurosurgeon's account of his near-death experience). Read Readers Join Doctor’s Journey (Leslie Kaufman, NY Times, 11-25-12), about how in 2008 Dr. Alexander, now 58, contracted bacterial meningitis, slipped into a deep coma during which his cerebral cortex registered no activity, and emerged so changed by the experience that he wrote this book, an instant bestseller.
• Apple, Dennis L. Life After the Death of My Son: What I'm Learning
• Ascher, Barbara Lazear. Landscape Without Gravity (about her brother's death from AIDS).
• Bastian, Sue and Mary Metzger. Fresh Widows: A Conversation (the book) and the blog. Great idea! Have mutual friends introduce you to a widow-buddy, a new friend who is going through what you're going through; you help each other re-enter the world as no-longer-part-of-a-couple, knowing without explanation what each of you is going through.
• Bernstein, Judith R. When The Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter (Paperback)
• Bolton, Iris. My Son...My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide.
• Bonanno, George A. The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss . Bonanno finds "little evidence to support the existence of stages of mourning or the corollary that if the stages aren't followed completely, there's cause for alarm. What Bonanno does find is a natural resilience that guides us through the sadness of loss, and grief, rather than distracting us, actually causes the mind to focus; it also elicits the compassion and concern that humans are hard-wired to offer in response to another's suffering." (PW review)
• Boss, Pauline. Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (about the sense of "frozen grief" that can occur when a loved one is perceived as physically absent but mentally present (because of desertion, divorce, or abduction, or because missing in action) or physically present but mentally or psychologically absent (because of dementia, mental illness, or other forms of mental or emotional loss or injury).
• Braestrup, Kate. Here If You Need Me: A True Story. Widowed when her husband (a Maine state trooper) is killed in a car accident, middle-aged Kate Braestrup, deep in mourning, follows her husband's dream, becoming a chaplain to Maine game wardens, the service that sets up search-and-rescue missions through the state.
• Brener, Anne. Mourning & Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner's Path Through Grief to Healing . Explores "the place where psychology and religious ritual intersect, and the name of that place is Truth." ~ Rabbi Harold Kushner
• Caine, Lynn. Being a Widow
• Davis, Deborah L. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
• DeVita, Elizabeth. The Empty Room: Surviving the loss of a brother or sister at any age (partly a memoir of surviving the loss of her brother Teddy to aplastic anemia)
• Diamant, Anita. Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew
• Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking. It starts like this:
"Life changes fast
Life changes in an instant
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends."
This instant classic by the renowned essayist is about the year that followed the sudden loss of her husband: an unflinching account of that first year of widowhood. She concludes: “Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it,Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”
• Edelman, Hope. Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss (explaining the stages of grief and adjustment and such secondary effects as filling the lost mother's role in the family) and Motherless Mothers: How Losing a Mother Shapes the Parent You Become
• Elison, Jennifer and Chris McGonigle. Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief gives permission for the relief felt by many primary caregivers (especially spouses) about death after a long illness, or when one is released from a difficult or abusive relationship.
• Fine, Carla. No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
• Finkbeiner, Ann. After the Death of a Child: Living with Loss through the Years
• Goldman, Francisco. Say Her Name: A Novel. A "highly personal account of the author's life in the aftermath of his young wife's drowning. Goldman moves in time from meeting Aura in New York and her harrowing death on Mexico's Pacific Coast to the painful and solitary two years that followed in Brooklyn, marked in part by his mother-in-law's claim that he was responsible for Aura's death. His struggles to exonerate himself from his own conscience, and from his mother-in-law's legal threats, is electric and poignant...Goldman calls this book a novel and employs some novelistic techniques (composite characters, for instance), but the foundation is in truth: messy, ugly, and wildly complicated truth." (PW review)
• Goodman, Sandy. Love Never Dies: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Love. Includes suggestions about how to help a friend going through such a loss.
• Grollman, Earl A. Living When A Loved One Has Died. Short, easy to read, and helps explain the process of grieving.
• Hammer, Signe. By Her Own Hand: Memoirs of a Suicide's Daughter
• Harris, Mark. Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial (why eco-friendly burials make sense)
• Hickman, Martha W. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief
• Hill, Susan. Family (about the death of a premature child)
• James, John W. and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith. By the same authors (with Leslie Mathews): When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses
• Kaplan, Robbie Miller. How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words for Difficult Times--Illness and Death (less expensive ordered from the author)
• Kowalski, Gary. Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
• Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People. A classic, full of wisdom for those who ask, "Why me?"
• Levin, Mark R. Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish. If you've ever loved a pet, you need this book, says one reader.
• Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed. A classic, brief and beautiful.
• McCracken, Anne and Mary Semel. A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies
• McNees, Pat, ed. Dying: A Book of Comfort. Gems of comfort, healing words on loss and grief. “This remarkable collection, coming from personal experience and wide reading, will help many find the potential of growth through loss.” ~ Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement. Order here and save money.
• McWilliams, Peter, Harold H. Bloomfield, and Melba Colgrove. How to Survive the Loss of a Love
• Mitchell, Ellen and eight other mothers. Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child (powerful book in which nine bereaved mothers share their experiences about what life is like after losing a child in their teens or twenties, including Ellen Mitchell, Carol Barkin, Audrey Cohen, Lorenza Colletti, Barbara Eisenberg, Barbara Goldstein, Madeline Perri Kasden, Phyllis Levine, Ariella Long, Rita Volpe )
• Myers, Edward. When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults. Recommended as a guide for social service agencies.
• Oates, Joyce Carol. A Widow's Story. A memoir of sudden widowhood, after 48 years of marriage. Her remarriage soon after the death, not mentioned in the memoir, elicited strong reactions, such as Should Joyce Carol Oates have revealed her second marriage? (David L. Ulin, Jacket Copy, L.A.Times 5-15-11) and listen to Michael Krasny's interview with Oates, KQED (and read NPR's forum comments). (See also "The Widow's Story," about the death of her husband, Raymond J. Smith, in New Yorker (12-13-10, subscribers only). Here is an interesting review-essay: ‘For Sorrow There Is No Remedy’ by Julian Barnes, NY Review of Books.
• O'Rourke, Meghan. The Long Goodbye: a memoir, which Alice Gregory reviews for NPR in 'The Long Goodbye': A Syllabus For Modern Mourning. "What is it like to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief? After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O’Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow.
• Page, Patricia. Shadows on a Nameless Beach. A brief and beautifully crafted collection of essays, a memoir of the year after her son's death by suicide, her feelings of parental guilt, finding solace in walks through California's coastal landscape.
• Rando, Theresa A. How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies. Grief counseling in a book.
• Rappaport, Nancy. In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide. Haunted by the 1963 death of her mother, a Boston socialite, from an overdose when Rappaport was only four (the youngest of six children), the author tries to reconstruct what happened. As her brother asked: Didn't their mother know that she would leave all these shattered children wondering if it was their fault?
• Redfern, Suzanne and Susan K. Gilbert. The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child. Redfern and Gilbert reflect on their own experiences and tell the stories of 22 other parents whose children died at various ages and from various causes, from disease and accidents to suicide and terrorism. Organized in sections that mirror the stages of grief, from immediate reactions, seeking support, effects on family life and relationships, to integrating the loss into one's life and maintaining connections with a loved one.
• Roiphe, Ann. Epilogue: A Memoir. "[A]n unflinching and unsentimental story of widowhood's stupefying disquiet, of love and living on." (PW starred review)
• Rosenblatt, Roger. Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt, which E.L. Doctorow describes thus: "A painfully beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backwards. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive."
• Sartwell, Marcia. Do Not Go Gentle: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Living On (which captures both the raw, sometimes angry, feelings of grief when a loved one dies and the understanding and fulfillment that may come over time).
• Sharples, Madeline. Leaving the Hall Light On. A mother's memoir of living with her son's bipolar disorder and surviving his suicide
• Sittser, Jerry L. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss (about the transformative grace that can come even in the face of catastrophic loss)
• Staudacher, Carol. A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One
• Vincent, Eleanor. Swimming with Maya: A Mother's Story (how the daughter's fall from a horse ended in organ donations--transforming a mother's grief)
• Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow
• Waxman, Robert and Linda. Losing Jonathan (losing a beloved child to drugs)
• Westberg, Granger E. Good Grief: A Constructive Approach to the Problem of Loss
• Wiesel, Elie. Night (powerful account of surviving the nightmare world of the Nazi death camps)
• Wolfelt, Alan D. Healing the Adult Child's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Parent Dies


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