The weeks, or months following the death of a loved one can be a difficult, and sometimes isolating period. During these times, books can be a comforting escape for those who are bereaved, providing perspective, reassurance, and a way to process emotions.

So, in this article, we are going to run through 6 helpful and inspiring books to read when experiencing the death of a loved one, or loss of any kind.

 

1. The Beauty of What Remains: How Our greatest fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift - Steve Leder

A bit about the book:

As the senior rabbi of one of the largest synagogues in the world, Steve Leder has learned over and over again the many ways death teaches us how to live and love more deeply by showing us not only what is gone but also the beauty of what remains. Yet even after having sat beside thousands of deathbeds, Leder was not fully prepared for the loss of his own father. It was only then that he truly learned how loss makes life beautiful by giving it meaning and touching us with love that we had not felt before. 

This inspiring and comforting book takes us on a journey through the experience of loss that is fundamental to everyone and teaches how to see our greatest fear as the greatest gift.

Who this book helps:

  • Anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.
  • Those with a loved one in end of life care. 

How this book helps:

  • Offers a fresh perspective on life, and death.
  • Focusses our attention on the positives of grief and loss and how it can help us live a better life.
  • Provides comfort, and a sense of belonging to those who feel alone in grief.
  • Soothes the emotional pain of grief.

 

2. It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand - Megan Devine

A bit about the book:

In this heartfelt, insightful book, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides—as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner—Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing.

This book teaches us how to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it, and how to offer the right support to those experiencing grief.

Who this book helps:

  • Anyone experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one.
  • Those who know someone else experiencing grief and loss.

How this book helps:

  • Teaches us how to offer support to those grieving.
  • Offers insight on how to accept grief and grow with it, not suppress it.
  • Offers practical guidance for managing stress, improving sleep, and decreasing anxiety.
  • Breaks down unrealistic ideals of how people should deal with their grief. 

 

3. Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief - David Kessler

A bit about the book:

In this book, Kessler gives readers a roadmap to remembering those who have died with more love than pain; he shows us how to move forward in a way that honours our loved ones. Kessler’s insight is both professional and intensely personal. His journey with grief began when, as a child, he witnessed a mass shooting at the same time his mother was dying. For most of his life, Kessler taught physicians, nurses, counsellors, police, and first responders about end of life, trauma, and grief, as well as leading talks and retreats for those experiencing grief. 

Finding Meaning is a necessary addition to grief literature and a vital guide to healing from tremendous loss. This is an inspiring, deeply intelligent must-read for anyone looking to journey away from suffering, through loss, and towards meaning.

Who this book helps:

  • Anyone experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one.
  • Those who have lost multiple, close loved ones in a short space of time.
  • Anyone who has experienced any form of great or sudden trauma. 

How this book helps:

  • Teaches us how to cope with difficult experiences of loss and sorrow.
  • Helps us understand death as a part of what it means to be living.
  • Helps us honour our loved ones instead of focussing on the sadness of losing them.
  • Teaches us that sudden trauma or loss does not always have a reason and is simply a part of life. 

4. With the End in Mind - Dr. Kathryn Mannix

A bit about the book:

Dr. Kathryn Mannix has studied and practiced palliative care for thirty years. In With the End in Mind, she shares beautifully crafted stories from a lifetime of caring for the dying and makes a case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding. 

Weaving the details of her own experiences as a caregiver through stories of her patients, their families, and their distinctive lives, Dr. Mannix discusses the universal, but deeply personal, process of dying. With meditations on life, death, and the space between them, With the End in Mind describes the possibility of meeting death gently, with forethought and preparation, and shows the unexpected beauty, dignity, and profound humanity of life coming to an end. 

Who this book helps:

  • Anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.
  • Those with a loved one in end of life care.

How this book helps:

  • Teaches us to accept death as an inevitability for all of us, and not fear it.
  • Prepares us for the death of a loved one in end of life care.
  • Breaks the taboo of talking openly about death.
  • Gives insight into a range of different experiences of grief, providing comfort to those feeling alone in their experience of grief.
  • Educates us on death and why it happens. 

 

5. Regrets of the Dying - Georgina Scull

A bit about the book:

A powerful, moving, and hopeful book exploring what people regret most when they are dying and how this can help us lead a better life. 

Ten years ago, without time to think or prepare, Georgina Scull ruptured internally. The doctors told her she could have died and, as Georgina recovered, she began to consider the life she had led and what she would have left behind. Paralysed by a fear of wasting what seemed like precious time but also fully ready to learn how to spend her second chance, Georgina set out to meet others who had faced their own mortality or had the end in sight.

The people she met taught her what it feels like to know you're running out of time, what tends to stay with you, what you should let go of what everyone wishes they'd done differently and what it means to have a life well-lived. 

Regrets of the Dying is a powerful and hopeful meditation on life and what really matters in the end.

Who this book helps:

  • Those who have had a near death experience.
  • Anyone who has struggled with mental health and thoughts of suicide. 

How this book helps:

  • Reminds us to appreciate life and teaches us how to live it well while we can.
  • Offers a positive outlook on what it means to be alive.
  • Teaches us how to let go of regrets and grievances.
  • Gives insight into how to make the right decisions to ensure that when we do approach death, we have no regrets or wishes to change the life we had.
  • Teaches us how to set boundaries, and not let our lives be ruled by others.

6. Grief is the Thing with Feathers - Max Porter

A bit about the book:

In this fictional book, two young boys and their father face the unbearable sadness of the mother's sudden death.

In this moment of despair, they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird, illustrated as the personification of grief, is attracted to the grieving family, and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, the family begin to heal.

Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief is the Thing with Feathers offers an escape for those experiencing the sudden loss of an immediate family member.

Who this book helps:

  • Those who are grieving a sudden or tragic loss.
  • Those grieving the loss of a parent.
  • Those grieving the loss of a partner or spouse.

How this book helps:

  • Offers a child’s perspective on loss, and insight into how grief can present differently in children.
  • By personifying grief as a living thing, this book helps us see grief as an approachable and real thing – helping us to manage it better and not be so afraid of it.
  • Offers escapism to those grieving the loss of a loved one.
  • Shows us how to accept grief and its many twists and turns.

 

Need further advice on coping with grief or want to know more about direct cremations?

We hope this article has helped you with ways to cope with your grief, but if you need any further advice on this topic, or are looking to arrange a direct cremationget in touch with our expert team today. We’re available 24/7, whenever you need us and more than happy to help.

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