These are books for loss and grief that have been recommended by my tribe here on Emotionally Naked– both men and women. I’ve tried to organize them as best I can.
- Suicide Loss Grief Books
- Grief Books for Loss of a Child
- Grief Books for all Kinds of Loss (Includes Classics)
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 which 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. A ★Top Recommendation is a book that has been recommended several times by followers here. I will be updating this from time to time and this one is linked to my Grief Resources page.
Do note that these are all Amazon links and I do get a commission off the sale of a book at no extra cost to you. It’s not a big money maker but can offset some of the costs of running this blog. Full disclosure that these are affiliate links.
Suicide Loss Grief Books
Free. Online as a pdf. I also have copies and it’s an excellent guide to answer, “What do I tell the children?” It literally 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 family member to suicide. (You can print out the pages that match the age of the children.)
This is the one I read. I was not able to read a book for more than a few pages and so this one worked for me. The lines were blurry 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.
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 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.
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
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 about it; 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, and 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.
Grief Books for Loss of a Child
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.
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. But characteristic of Western culture is a 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.
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.
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 all kinds of loss
★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.
★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.
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 book, Megan 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.
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.
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.
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.
#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.
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.
I have not yet gotten a recommendation on dealing with grief specific to a loss due to addiction.