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8 books that help to cope with grief

3 Aug 2016

‘Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.’ — Emily Dickinson

The passing of a loved one can be an emotional, life-changing experience. It is a difficult, overwhelming time when we might not be able to express our thoughts and feelings in an articulate way.

Words can have great power to heal and bring strength to another person.

Comforting words and the support of family friends can help to reduce the stress when someone is grieving. Dealing with grief is a personal thing, there is no right or wrong way to approach it and no timeframe for when it might end. Grief is as individual as you are. If you or someone close to you is grieving, these books may provide some words of comfort and help to heal.


Dying: A Memoir

Cory Taylor
Text Publishing, adult non-fiction

Written in the space of a few weeks, in a tremendous creative surge, this powerful and beautifully written book is a clear-eyed account of what dying has taught Cory: she describes the tangle of her feelings, she reflects on her life, and she remembers the lives and deaths of her parents. She tells us why she would like to be able to choose the circumstances of her own death.



Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom
Hachette Australia, adult non-fiction

Mitch rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons on how to live.




Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes In Between

Bryan Mellonie, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Puffin Books, children’s picture book

There is a beginning and an ending to everything that is alive. In between is a lifetime. Dying is as much a part of living as being born.



The Widow’s Journal

Carrie P. Freeman
Createspace Independent Publishing, adult non-fiction

Losing a spouse or romantic life partner causes a special kind of heartbreak, loneliness, and disappointment. Your plans for your life have irrevocably changed. Because everyone mourns differently, this guided journal writing is a useful tool for navigating the phases of grief in a personalised, private way.


breath-airWhen Breath Becomes Air

Dr Paul Kalanithi
Vintage Publishing, adult non-fiction

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away? Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all.



on-deathOn Death and Dying

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Scribner Book Company, adult non-fiction

One of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s famous interdisciplinary seminar on death, life, and transition.




kids-book-deathThe Kid’s Book about Death: helping children to understand death, grief and loss

James Carrie
Createspace Independent Publishing, non-fiction

Maybe you know a child who is presently grieving or maybe you simply want to help a child to better understand death. The author, James Carrie, clarifies the whole concept of death to children and also answers some difficult questions in a sensitive yet simple manner.




When Dinosaurs Die: a guide to understanding death

Laurene Krasny Brown, illustrated by Marc Brown
Little, Brown & Company, children’s picture book

To children the passing away of a loved one can be especially perplexing and troublesome. This succinct and thorough guide helps dispel the mystery and negative connotations associated with death, providing answers to some of the most-often asked questions.

These are many books written about grief, loss and the understanding death.  Find more books about grief and loss at your local library or bookseller.



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