Recommended Grief Books for loss by suicide, loss of a child, general grieving books

Updated 1/12/2020-These grief books have been recommended by my tribe here on Emotionally Naked– both men and women. I’ve tried to organize them as best I can.

Some are very niche– a book to work on how to work with children of autism who are grieving, and some more general in nature. Some are daily readings that might suit people who can’t read an entire book, books on how you can use a particular coping strategy to find emotional healing and even books for those who are struggling with their faith after loss.

The more niche the book, the fewer reviews it will have so keep that in mind. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, one of these would make a great gift. This symbol indicates a Top Recommendation from emotionally naked followers. This page is linked from my Grief Resources page. I also have a book I wrote after my own son’s death, Diary of a Broken Mind: A mother’s Story, A Son’s Suicide and the Haunting Lyrics he Left Behind. But I would caution that it might not be suitable if for the newly bereaved and it has themes of addiction and depression.

Do note that these are all Amazon links and I do earn a small commission off the sale of a book at no extra cost to you and those dollars offset some of the costs of running this blog.

Suicide Loss Grief Books

Children, Teens & Suicide Loss by AFSP and Dougy Center

Free. Online as a pdf. I also have copies and it’s an excellent guide to answer, “What do I tell the children?” It has age-appropriate scripts and examples for children as young as three. What is appropriate to tell children and teens of any age how to explain suicide. It truly holds your hand in what to say. This is an ideal guide to take to a family who has just suffered the loss of a family member to suicide. (You can print out the pages that match the age of the children.)


After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief, 2nd Edition by Jack Jordan Ph.D

I read this one. At first, I was not able to read a book for more than a few pages because the lines would blur and I struggled to concentrate that first year after Charles’ suicide. I wasn’t able to read any book cover to cover until a year and a half later. It was an easy read and had examples of people who had lost a sibling, a child, a husband and what it was like for them as well as practical advice for survivors of suicide loss. This includes a chapter on helping children cope with a suicide loss. Readers have described this book as a practical guide for coping with suicide, from the first few days through the first year and beyond.


Dying to Be Free – A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide by Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch

Recommended by David Kyre who lost his son Daniel Kyre to suicide and a part of the Emotionally Naked tribe. Honest, gentle advice for those who have survived an unspeakable loss—the suicide of a loved one. Surviving the heartbreak of a loved one’s suicide – you don’t have to go through it alone. Authors Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch break through suicide’s silent stigma in Dying to Be Free, offering gentle advice for those left behind, so that healing can begin.


Chasing Death: Losing a Child to Suicide by Jan Andersen

Chasing Death is NOT a grief recovery book, but one that attempts to put candid and heartrending words to the often incommunicable pain, guilt and despair that the surviving families endure, not only through the telling of the author’s story, but through the experiences of other families mourning the loss of a child, stepchild, grandchild, sibling, friend or relative to suicide. Although this book will break your heart, it will also provide solace to other child suicide grievers in the knowledge that their thoughts and feelings are entirely normal and that they are not alone.


The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of SuicidE: By BRandy Lidbeck

After a suicide death, loved ones struggle to make sense of the unexplainable tragedy. The Gift of Second comes alongside loss survivors and helps navigate the common pitfalls for those left behind. You will learn to:

  • Explore the ins and outs of grief and trauma
  • Release the guilt and shame survivors carry
  • Recognize how to take care of yourself  
  • Gain practical tips for enduring the first year
  • Discover what helps other survivors
  • Determine when to seek professional help
  • Stop replaying the past and blaming yourself
  • START healing in a healthy way                                                  
Suicide Among Gifted Children and Adolescents: Understanding the Suicidal Mind by Tracy Cross

This book explores the suicidal behavior of students with gifts and talents. It provides the reader with a coherent picture of what suicidal behavior is; clarifies what is known and what is unknown ; shares two major theories of suicide; and offers an emerging model of the suicidal behavior of students with gifts and talents. In addition, the book includes chapters offering insight into the lived experience of G&T students. It includes what we can do to prevent suicide among gifted students, including creating caring communities and specific counseling strategies. It also provides a list of resources.


Additional books on loss due to suicide can be found by clicking here. includES books suitable for teens and young adults


Grief Books for Loss of a Child

A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies  by Anne McCracken and Mary Semel

Organized by a journalist and a psychotherapist, each of whom has lost a child, this book is a remarkable compilation of poetry, fiction, and essays about the pain, stages of grief, and the coping and healing process that follows the death of one’s child.  While nothing can mute the pain of such a life-shattering loss, others who know this experience can help those suffering articulate the chaos of their feelings and see that they can, eventually, feel whole again.


Finding Hope When a Child Dies: What Other Cultures Can Teach Us by Sukie Miller

The death of a child is an overwhelming loss. “Why did my child die?” and “Is my child suffering now?” are questions all people, of all cultures and backgrounds, ask. Western culture has limited language for expressing grief, and a consuming guilt that undermines the recovery process. Dr. Sukie Miller, author of the landmark work After Death, turns to the beliefs and healing stories of other cultures to present a unique perspective that is both surprising and comforting.


When a child dies: Stories of Survival and Hope by Richard Hipps

Recommended by Emotionally Naked contributor, Lloyd Braswell,  who lost a special needs child and later lost a son to suicide. The book is ten chapters, each written by a bereaved parent. When a Child Dies gives help and encouragement based on the reality of God’s love and covenant with God’s children. Written from the heart by parents who know firsthand the pain that follows the loss of a child, these intensely personal stories will help grieving parents deal with life after the child they loved so deeply suffers an untimely death.


Tracks of a Fellow Struggler: Living and Growing through Grief by John R. Claypool

Recommended by Emotionally Naked contributor, Lloyd Braswell,  who lost a special needs child and later lost a son to suicide. John Claypool had been a pastor for almost two decades, ministering to others who suffered through the loss of loved ones, when the loss came home with the death of his eight-year-old daughter. This book is the story of Claypool’s own journey through the darkness, written through four sermons. The first was delivered just eleven days after his daughter’s diagnosis of leukemia, the second after her first major relapse nine months later, and the third weeks after her death. The final sermon–a reflection on the process of grieving–was preached three years later.


Grief Books for loss of a sibling

Rock On: Mining for Joy in the Deep River of Grief by susan e. Casey

Top Recommendation. I read this when it was in manuscript form and I know how few books there are on sibling loss. Rock On focuses solely on sibling loss because it’s a tragedy author Susan E. Casey experienced in her own life. On Valentine’s Day, 2014, she learned of the horrific and unexpected death of her forty-three-year-old brother Rocky (birth name: Brian) who died while in Hong Kong with his wife and three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

In the second half of the book, the author segues into several excerpts from the people she talked to that are relevant to the theme of each chapter. Each person she interviewed for these excerpts has a sibling who died a different way: overdose, suicide, accident, heart disease, murder, cancer and more. Susan weaves in her memories throughout each story and ends each chapter with her thoughts on the chapter’s theme to provide additional insights to help the reader on their grief journey. So this is a good self-help guide to acknowledging sibling grief, managing the pain and finding hope and meaning after sibling loss.


SIBLING GRIEF: HEALING AFTER THE DEATH OF A BROTHER OR SISTER

P. Gill White, PhD, was only fifteen when her sister Linda made her swear not to tell anyone about the pain she had in her side, fearing it would spoil an upcoming family vacation. Linda died four months later from a rare form of cancer. White and her family never talked about the loss until decades later, when memories began to haunt her.

Sibling Grief is White’s validation of the emotional significance of sibling loss. She draws on both clinical experience and her own deeply personal experience, along with wisdom from hundreds of bereaved siblings, to explain the five healing tasks unique to sibling grief. White also describes the dream patterns of bereaved siblings, showing how healing is reflected in the dream state.

Throughout, she illustrates the long-lasting connection between siblings-a connection that death itself cannot sever.


Grief Books for all kinds of loss


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

Top Recommendation. This one has come recommended by many people. When a loved one dies, the pain of loss can feel unbearable—especially in the case of a traumatizing death. The process of grieving can feel wild and nonlinear—and often lasts for much longer than other people, the non-bereaved, tell us it should. Organized into fifty-two short chapters, this book serves as a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the essence of shared humanity.



Getting Grief Right by Dr. Patrick O’Malley

Top Recommendation. This one was recommended by several people. When the New York Times ran Patrick O’Malley’s story about the loss of his infant son—and how his inability to “move on” challenged everything he was taught as a psychotherapist—it inspired an unprecedented flood of gratitude from readers. What he shared was a truth that many have felt but rarely acknowledged by the professionals they turn to: that our grief is not a mental illness to be cured, but part of the abiding connection with the one we’ve lost. Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. He has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice.

Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving

Especially illuminating in its coverage of how people cope with different kinds of losses is, “Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving,” by Julia Samuel, who works with bereaved families both in private practice and at England’s National Health Service, at St. Mary’s hospital, Paddington.


Yoga for Grief and Loss: Poses, Meditation, Devotion, Self-Reflection, Selfless Acts, Ritual by Karla Helbert

A local Richmond, Virginia author who has a national reach on the subject of grief and loss writes about how you can use a healthy coping strategy, yoga, to heal after loss. Just as grief is an experience that affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually, yoga sustains and strengthens us in all of those same areas. 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.


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

Book recommended by Gray Maher, a contributor here on Emotionally Naked. Why does our culture treat grief like a disease to be cured as quickly as possible? In this bookMegan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to 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. Podcasts.


Finding Your Own Way to Grieve: A Creative Activity Workbook for Kids and Teens on the Autism Spectrum by Karla Helbert

Children and teens with autism can struggle to cope with the loss of a loved one, and the complicated and painful emotions of bereavement. This book explains death in concrete terms that the child with autism will understand, explores feelings that the child may encounter as a part of bereavement, and offers creative and expressive activities that facilitate healing.



Flowing with the Go A Jiu-Jitsu Journey of the Soul by Elena Stowell

Winner of three awards this book is the story of one woman’s path through grief. For what seemed like a lifetime and probably was, the author wandered aimlessly in a personal prison of self-doubt and lack of purpose after her fifteen-year-old daughter Carly died suddenly before her eyes. By some combination of miracle and necessity, she walked into a Seattle area Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym. Through that experience and others that followed, Elena discovered the tenets of the martial art form and healing were the same. Ripping, raw honesty and refreshing balance of humor and introspection.



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

Written in 1994, this is the classic guide for dealing with grief and loss. It has chronological entries with dates of the year to work through that journey starting your day with thoughtful words to strengthen, inspire and comfort. That way, you don’t have to take in multiple pages but just one entry at a time.


When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

If you are struggling with your faith after loss, this one is for you. This is a classic I read in 1987, the year after my friend Kathryn Ray Ashford died from cancer.It is a #1 bestselling inspirational classic and source of solace and hope for over 4 million readers.When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that meant the boy would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes.



Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg

#1 New York Times Best Seller and named a Best Book of 2017 by Barnes & Noble and Amazon. From Facebook’s COO offers a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again.  Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity.


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

Classic. A collection of truly comforting, down-to-earth thoughts and meditations — including the authentic voices of survivors — for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.

Have  Books on grief and loss you want to share? Books on grief and loss after a suicide? Books on grief after loss of a child? Post in the comments!

I have not yet gotten a recommendation on dealing with grief specific to a loss due to addiction.


Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

2 thoughts on “Recommended Grief Books for loss by suicide, loss of a child, general grieving books”

  1. AM – I probably read 25 books in the 2 years after Whitten died. Three of my best are listed above, but I found these to be good as well….
    Finding Your Way After The Suicide of Someone You Love – Biebel/Foster
    After Suicide – a ray of hope for those left behind – Ross
    A Decembered Grief – Smith (Whitten died 5 days before Christmas)
    The Bereaved Parent – Schiff
    Transcending Loss – Bush, LCSW
    Beyond Tears – Mitchell
    Grieving Mindfully – Kumar
    Grieving A Suicide – HSU
    No Time To Say Goodbye – Fine
    The Grieving Garden – 22 parents share their stories – Redfern/Gilbert
    Understanding Your Suicide Grief – Wolfelt, PHD

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