Dealing with grief is never something we are prepared for, and whether you are currently reeling from the loss of a loved one, or are trying to reach out to someone who is grieving, we’ve compiled some of the most-recommended books on the subjects of grief and loss to hopefully help you through your suffering. It is often true that education and reflection are the best way to put your pain in perspective and accept it as a part of you, for now.
#1. A Classic Compilation:
I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can by Linda Feinberg (New Horizon Press)
This book is a staple in the grief and loss community around the country, and has been used for years. Feinberg was a grief counselor herself, so the stories compiled here feel authentic and fresh, and her grounded perspective on the processes each person is going through is really helpful to read. Some of the interviews in this one are emotional and painful, but they strike resoundingly true in the heart of the reader suffering in many of the same ways as the speaker. This book has an excellent mix of empathy and empowerment.
#2. A Reflective Read:
I Thought It Was Just Me by Dr. Brené Brown (Avery Publishers)
If you’re a Brené Brown fan, like myself, you know this book will be full of insightful statements and probing questions that utterly alter your perspective. This book is all about accepting that grief is a part of life and letting go of the shame that accompanies “not getting over it yet (or ever).” There are so many shame triggers when we lose a loved one, and we often confuse those harmful emotions with the healthy emotions of sadness and grief. This book will help you sort out which feelings are natural, and which are put upon you by others.
#3. A Moving Memoir:
When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi (Random House)
Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s recently-published memoir about his experiences as a neurosurgeon with terminal cancer may be an unorthodox choice to read about grief, but the compelling story about humanity and the meaning in life is one that touches everyone. Though this book does not offer advice about the steps of grieving or strategies for moving on, the sheer concentration of existentialism and bad timing will keep you thinking about what your life can mean for others long after the book has been closed.
#4: An Academic Approach:
The Other Side of Sadness by Dr. George Bonanno (Basic Books)
Bonanno’s book details the myths about grief and explains how individual our grieving really is. He eloquently discusses the fallacies contained in theories like “grief work”, “closure”, and “delayed grief” and instead looks closely at authentic emotions and reflective strategies. His professionalism and expertise on the subject feels respectful and knowledgeable for those who are suffering from serious grief as well as those who want to better understand the suffering of their loved ones.