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Coping with loss – helpful reads: Top books on grief


Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

The death of someone you love can trigger many kinds of unfamiliar or complicated emotions.

These books on grief may provide valuable support and guidance when you, or someone you know, needs a companion through bereavement. Some have been written by experts in end of life care and supporting the bereaved, while others use personal accounts of bereavement as the basis for exploring grief and journeys towards healing.

1.Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back – Kelly Farley

grieving dads cover

Kelly Farley’s unique book is an unflinching look at the trauma and grief that men face when they lose a child. Kelly lost two of his own children, Katie and Noah, and realised that many men feel they have nowhere to turn and are afraid to talk about their feelings. This moving book draws on his experiences counselling and supporting grieving dads from all over the world, helping them acknowledge grief and rebuild their lives.

2. Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving – Julia Samuel

grief works cover

Psychotherapist Julia Samuel wrote this bestselling book after years of experience supporting children and adults through grief.

Using first-hand accounts of bereavement, Samuel explores how grief works, offering insightful advice for readers who have experienced the death of a loved one or want to better support a friend who is struggling.

3. On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler

on grief & grieving book jacket

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is the Swiss psychiatrist behind the ground-breaking five stages of grief theory. One of the world’s bestselling books on grief andwritten with David Kessler, it explores how people grieve and how to rebuild your life after the death of a loved one.

The book combines psychological theory with practical advice, case studies and the authors’ own experiences of bereavement, making it both informative and incredibly moving.

4. Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss – Hope Edelman

moherless daughters cover

Motherless Daughters is a powerful exploration of how women, young and old, piece together their lives after the death of their mothers – one of the most important role models in any child’s life. Hope Edelman drew on her own experiences of losing her mother when she was just 17, but she also interviews other women who experienced the grief and heartbreak of living without their mum.

5. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy – Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

option b cover

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg collaborated with renowned psychologist Adam Grant on this self-help book after the sudden death of her husband, Dave Goldberg.

Combining Sandberg’s personal account of grief with Grant’s expert insight, Option B aims to help readers understand how to become more resilient in the face of hardship – including everything from the death of a loved one to surviving a natural disaster.

6. Grief Demystified – Caroline Lloyd

grief demystified cover

As a bereavement volunteer with years of experience helping those who are grieving and the people who support them, Caroline Lloyd has written a highly accessible book to help with grief.

Her grief book emphasises that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and is filled with practical advice to help the grieving and those who want to help them through the grief process. Whether you’re coping with your own grief or supporting others, it’s a helpful guide to the grieving journey.

7. Healing After Loss – Martha Whitmore Hickman

healing after loss

With 365 thoughts or ‘meditations’, this book will guide you through a year of grieving, with words of hope and meaning to help you understand your emotions and yourself. Each day has a quotation to reflect on, a passage to read and a meditation to help you focus on what you need. Healing After Loss has over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, with readers praising its inspirational words as a great support in the wake of bereavement.

8. Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies – Alan D. Wolfelt

alan wolfelt book cover Grief expert Alan D. Wolfelt penned this comprehensive guide to help widows and widowers through the tragedy of saying goodbye to their loved one. It has 100 tips, strategies and pieces of advice to help you through bereavement. This book makes up part of a series of practical ideas for coping with grief, including specialised titles for supporting a child, teenager or friend.

9. Speaking of Death: What the Bereaved Really Need – Annie Broadbent

speaking of death cover Bereavement psychotherapist Annie Broadbent wants to break down the taboo around talking about death and grief. She believes that we need to move past the awkwardness and reach out to people who are grieving to let them know we care.

Speaking of Death is a guidebook for anyone supporting a friend or relative through grief, helping you say the right thing and truly be there for that person when they need you most.

10. The Grief Survival Guide: How To Navigate Loss And All That Comes With It – Jeff Brazier

grief survival guide

Author, counsellor and TV presenter Jeff Brazier wrote this companion book for people who are grieving, partly inspired by his own journey bringing up his two young sons after the death of their mum.

His book offers practical advice on everything from preparing for the eventuality of death to dealing with grief, how to support family and friends and moving forward.

11. Coping with Grief – Mal McKissock and Dianne McKissock

coping with grief cover

A go-to guide to the grieving process, Coping With Grief offers practical and sensitive advice on dealing with the grieving process, from getting through someone’s funeral, to coping on anniversaries and special dates.

Authors Mal McKissock and Dianne McKissock are two of Australia’s most respected bereavement experts and counsellors. Written both for the bereaved and people supporting them, their book explains what to expect emotionally and psychologically during the difficult first year following someone’s death.

12.With The End In Mind: Death, Dying and Wisdom in an Age of Denial – Kathryn Mannix

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Dr Kathryn Mannix has worked in palliative care for more than 30 years, and has cared for thousands of people coming to the end of their lives, as well as supporting their families/ Inspired by her own experiences, With The End in Mind is filled with moving stories and helpful advice for people wishing to comfort the dying and the bereaved, and make the most of every day of life, even as death is approaching.

  • Saying goodbye: 10 beautiful picture books to help talk about how we feel when someone dies, for younger readers.
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