Inspired by contemporary grief research and ancient
Five Star Reader Reviews
at Amazon. Available in Kindle or Paperback.
A valuable voice in holistic grief
1. Akner, Lois F., C.S.W., How to Survive the Loss of a Parent: A Guide for Adults, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993.
Based on a grief therapy group for coping with the death of
a parent. Filled with real life stories of sadness and hope. The author shows how it is possible to work through grief and
gives practical advice on coping with conflicted emotions about our deceased loved ones.
2. Barfield, Dana. My Friend Just Lost Her Husband. TBG Publishing, LLC, 2010.
Edited Product Description:
The loss of her husband has been described as the most difficult thing a woman ever encounters because what was once
a source of security, has disappeared into a sense of profound uncertainty. My Friend Just Lost Her Husband provides
the tools necessary to rebuild the sense of sustained security that women intrinsically seek. Written as the result of Dana
Barfield's years of experience in providing financial advice and management for widows and divorcees, it combines these
first-hand shared and observed experiences, with extensive interviews from other women who have rebuilt their lives after
the loss of their mate.
My Friend Just Lost Her Husband
is unique because it the first financial book to consider topics, though seemingly unrelated to finance, that forcefully impact
financial decision making: Changes to her thinking as a result of the loss; how her grieving affects her decision making;
who is a trustworthy friend; how and why that friend must help at this time; criteria for obtaining the right financial advice;
how and why women find themselves involved in a financial or relational horror story; and dealing with taxes, health insurance
In clear and simple language, Barfield describes
the need for a benevolent friend and guide who has only the well-being of the surviving spouse and family in mind. The
author has the moral investment experience to offer solid guidance, encouragement and wise support. He understands the emotional
shock and crisis of the sudden death of a spouse, with insight into the issues of vulnerability. Barfield offers safeguards
that protect the new widow from the greedy, clever and persuasive offers of help from persons intent on diverting assets from
the spouse [and family] into their own accounts through deception.
Dawn M. Wife of the Deceased: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Learning to Live Again. Self-published, 2014. Kindle or paperback.
From Amazon.com: Ms. Bell's goal in writing Wife of the Deceased is to
help anyone in a similar situation by sharing her account of the stages of grief; the extreme rage she felt, the seemingly
insane thoughts that went through her head on a day-to-day basis, and the physical assault her body suffered. Ms. Bell's
aim is to attest to and validate what grievers are feeling and perhaps ease a fraction of the pain and anguish they are
living with every day.
Honest and hopeful. Gets 5-star reader reciews at Amazon. Author's web site: http://dawnmbell.com
4. Bennett, Stephen. (New Author)
From Grief to Growth: Coming to terms with the death of a loved one AND getting the most out of your
life. 2016. Available on Amazon Kindle only.
Stephen Bennet's beloved wife Belinda died in 1997 after a
five year battle with cancer. This is the heartfelt story of his journey from grief to growth.
description: I know you are hurting. It’s only natural. The good news is that it’s not the end
– believe me. Death ends a life - not a relationship. What you now have is a spiritual relationship instead of a physical
one. From Grief to Growth will help you to come to terms with the loss of your loved-one and go on to achieve the
best life possible for yourself.
5. Cento, W. F. (Bill). Alone / For All Those Who Grieve. Tasora Books, September 2011. Hardcover and paperback.
Alone / For All Those Who Grieve is
a collection of poems and prose about coping with the strain of caregiving, and grief and healing after [the author’s]
dementia-stricken wife’s long goodbye. It is written to help those who suffer a grievous loss to work through their
grief and discover a road to redemption.
(Bill) Cento didn’t set out to write a book for people who are grieving, but Alone is not only a wonderful
tribute to his wife, Vera Ann, it is a heart-wrenching and spirit-lifting account of his days as spouse and caregiver.”–The
Catholic Spirit (by Pat Norby)
Mr. Cento is a retired reporter and editor. He lives in St. Paul,
6. Commins, Patricia. Remembering Mother, Finding Myself: A Journey of Love and Self-Acceptance. South Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc. 1999.
Abbreviated from the back cover: At any age, a mother's
death may leave a daughter with feelings of anger, abandonment and profound sadness that taint the way she views herself,
her world and every relationship around her.
This book offers a unique path to healing by giving you the opportunity
to understand your mother as a woman. Through stories, advice and exercises, you'll gain insight into why negative and positive
issues repeat themselves in your life, how much you are like your mother, and why you are decidedly different.
understanding your mother as a woman who came before you, in the context of her friends, family and the cultural archetypes
of her generation, you will be better able to love, understand and accept yourself.
The chapter entitled 'The
Traumatic Relationship' is especially helpful if you have complex, negative or conflicted feelings about your mother, living
7. D'Arcy, Paula. Gift of the Red Bird: The Story of a Divine Encounter. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1996.
I am not the only one who has experienced soulful redbirds. When the author lost her husband and baby in a car crash, she began a search for faith that was greater
than fear. Grief, as she shows us, is an ongoing process.
Eclectic in its approach to spirituality, Gift of
the Red Bird is a profound story of loss and spiritual renewal through the power of nature. The reflection guide at the
end of the book is useful for individual meditation or group discussion.
8. Fitzgerald, Helen. The Mourning Handbook. New York:
Simon and Schuster, A Fireside Book, 1994.
From the Publishers:
No one should
be left to grieve alone.
Even with the help of friends and family, grieving the death of a loved one can be a complex,
sometimes overwhelming, process. The Mourning Handbook is written as a companion to those mourners in need of practical
and emotional assistance during the trying times before and after the death of a loved one.
Having counseled thousands
of people who have experienced loss, Helen Fitzgerald gives special attention to the complex emotions that can accompany especially
traumatic situations, such as when a loved one has been murdered, when there have been multiple deaths, when a body has not
been recovered, or when the mourner has been the inadvertent cause of death.
Designed to conform to the special
needs of the bereaved, The Mourning Handbook is written and organized in an accessible style punctuated by real stories
of people who have experienced every kind of loss. With many subchapters and cross references, it can be consulted for a specific
problem or read at length.
About the Author:
Helen Fitzgerald is the author of The Grieving Child: A Parent's Guide. She is the coordinator of the first grief program in the nation established in a community mental health center (The
Mt. Vernon Center for Community Mental Health in Springfield, Virginia). A certified death educator, Fitzgerald devoted herself
to the field after the death of her husband left her a widow with four children. She lectures across the country on the subject.
The success of her program has led to the creation of similar programs nationally. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
9. Hershner, Kevin. Doubly Blessed: An Inspirational Memoir. Booklocker.com, Inc., 2015. 172 pages.
Product description: Doubly Blessed
is an inspirational, true story about the author's life as a younger man and how he dealt with his first wife's death from
cancer at the young age of 26. It conveys the message that no matter how bleak the situation, if you look hard enough and
long enough, you can usually find a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a story of hope.
Author bio: Kevin Hershner
lives in Ohio with his wife Melissa and his daughters Hannah and Haylee. Twenty years after losing his first wife to cancer,
Kevin was compelled to tell the story about his loss, his struggle to move on, and his eventual, newfound happiness with
the hope that it can provide inspiration to others.
Author web site: DoublyBlessed.net
10. Hickman, Martha Whitmore. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief. New York: Perennial Press, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
Quiet strength and gentle comfort.
The author's teenage daughter died in a horseback riding accident. Eclectic in its approach, the author offers honest and
compassionate words for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.
Healing After Loss makes a thoughtful
gift for a grieving friend or loved one. At $10.00 a copy, it is affordable for most. This is the book I turned to every day
during the first year after my mother's death.
11. Kaiser Stearns, Ann. Living Through Personal Crisis. Idyll Arbor, Second Edition, 2010.
Originally published in 1985, this book was out-of-print
for a while, but was updated and published again in 2010. The compassionate advice is timeless.
Written in a clear
and jargon-free style by a psychologist, this book is for anyone who is hurting because of loss and for friends and family
who want to help those who struggle with loss. New chapters include acts of terrorism and the battlefield.
Dr. Stearns writes: "All of us have the rights and responsibilities to take our losses seriously. Grief and
pain, when ignored, can do us in, harming us in a dozen ways. Unresolved pain keeps us from being complete. Facing our losses
is how we find our freedom again."
12. Kennedy, Alexandra. Losing a Parent: Passage to a New Way of Living, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.
For those who prefer a nontraditional approach to spirituality,
this book is a gentle shaman's journey through grief and healing. Written in the new age genre, it is rich with ideas for
personal grief rituals and healing the spirit. Do not buy this book if you are searching for a mainstream approach to
grief and loss.
13. Levy, Alexander. The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change After the Death of Our Parents. DeCapo Press, 2000.
From the Library Journal:
The death of one's parents is "the ultimate equal-opportunity" experience; becoming an orphan as
an adult happens to nearly everybody. Yet despite the flood of self-help books on death and the grieving process, very little
has been written on parental loss [until recently]. Incorporating his own personal experience with the accounts of others
who have lost their parents, psychologist Levy examines this profound life-changing event with compassion and understanding.
Since our parents "project an illusion of permanence," writes Levy, their deaths force us to confront our own mortality
and to adjust to our new identities as orphaned adults.
own note: Mr. Levy's work gets good reader reviews for the most part. I believe the few poor ratings arise out of not
understanding the book's target audience because this book focuses on the deaths of elderly parents and the grief of middle-aged
14. Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed. HarperOne. 2001. Originally published in England, 1961, after the death of his wife from bone cancer.
Amazon review: Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis joined the human race when his wife, Joy Gresham, died of cancer. Lewis, the Oxford
don whose Christian apologetics make it seem like he's got an answer for everything, experienced crushing doubt for the first
time after his wife's tragic death.
A Grief Observed contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period:
"Nothing will shake a man--or at any rate a man like me--out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs.
He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he
discover it himself," Lewis writes.
This is the book that inspired the film Shadowlands, but it is more wrenching, more revelatory, and more real than the movie. It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record
of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.
Review written by Michael Joseph Gross
In my opinion, this is a description of grief at its most raw, most profound--and
most healing. I believe it is one of the most honest accounts of grief ever written.
The added bonus is that Lewis
was a gifted writer. To be fair, some people find his writing stiff and of another time, but for me, the words soar with eloquence.
15. Redfield-Jamison, Kay. Nothing Was the Same: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
I have read Nothing Was the Same by Kay Redfield Jamison and I am disappointed. She calls it a memoir,
and it is, because most of the book is a testament to the loving relationship she had with her husband Richard Wyatt. I believe
the book is healing for her personally, but I'm not sure how helpful it is for other grievers because she devotes most of
the book to their life together and his final battle with cancer.
The strengths of the book are her honesty and writing
ability. She is an eloquent writer with a subtle sense of humor. The chapter titled "Mourning and Melancholia" is
helpful because the author clearly describes the differences between depression and grief. For example, Dr. Jamison writes
that grief does not alienate us from others while depression does: "The rituals of grief defend against alienation. Depression
by its nature alienates." She points out that isolation is healing during grief, but it is dangerous in depression. She
includes some beautiful Tennyson grief poetry in this chapter that comforted me.
Because I thought that this was primarily
a grief book, the weaknesses of it, for me, are focusing on the life she shared with her husband and how her bipolar illness
affected their relationship. There is precious little space given to the life she created for herself after his death.
I was hoping for a book that concentrated on life after loss.
If you want an honest, well written story about the power
of love, or one that chronicles a loved one's final illness and death, this is the book for you. I believe you will be disappointed
if you are searching for a book that focuses on grief healing after the death of your spouse.
I also found myself thinking
how uncommon her experiences were because she lives in a rarefied academic world that few of us encounter. When I buy a book
about grief, I try to focus on the author's similarities with my own journey. I had trouble relating to a lot of Dr. Jamison's
story because her life is so unlike my own.
Please remember that my review is but one woman's opinion. Nothing
Was the Same may turn out to be the best grief book you have ever read because we all grieve differently. You need ask
only one question: Does this book comfort or help you? When it comes to grief, comfort and support mean something. Whatever
works, works. Unfortunately, Dr. Jamison's book didn't work for me. I have included it on this page because of the chapter
that describes the differences between grief and depression.
16. Van Praagh, James. Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss. New York: New American Library, 2000.
James Van Praagh is a well-known medium and author of the best-selling
book Talking to Heaven. Here he shares spiritual messages from deceased loved ones, who shed new light on grief and loss. The stories, along
with his personal experiences of grief, help us view loss as part of our soul's evolving spiritual journey--one that will
move us beyond the devastating sorrow of grief to a life of renewed purpose.
Besides the death of loved ones, the
author looks at all types of loss, including divorce, aging, losing a home or job, catastrophic illness, prenatal death, pet
loss and mental illness. There is a question and answer section and a chapter on how to heal after any loss with practical
advice, activities and meditations. The writing is heartfelt, wise and compassionate.
I have one criticism of Mr. Van Praagh's writing: He can be too in love with his own abilities
at times and is very much a celebrity name-dropper. Still, his writing comforts me and isn't that the greatest gift I can
receive from anyone who writes about grief?
17. Wolfelt, Alan D. Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas. Fort Collins, CO:
Companion Press, 2001.
A companion book to the one listed in the helping section by the same author. Wolfelt is a grief counselor and writes that when someone you love dies, you must
express your grief outside of yourself if you are to heal. In other words, you must mourn. Over time, and with the support
of others, to mourn is to heal.
You can turn to any page and take a small step today towards healing with simple
ideas such as keeping a journal, allowing for numbness, eating comfort food (within reason), writing a letter to your deceased
loved one, and understanding the six needs of grievers.
The author suggests practical ways to outwardly express
your grief (mourn) through compassionate advice and simple activities. Concludes with a Mourner's Code which is ten principles
of being compassionate with yourself after loss.
by Alan Wolfelt:
Healing A Child's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers.
Companion Press, 2001.
A compassionate resource for friends, parents, relatives, teachers, volunteers, and caregivers, this series offers
suggestions to help the grieving cope with the loss of a loved one. Often people do not know what to say, or what not to say,
to someone they know who is mourning; this series teaches that the most important thing a person can do is listen, have compassion,
be there for support, and do something helpful.
Healing a Friend's Grieving Heart provides the fundamental principles of companioning a friend, from committing to contact the friend regularly to being
mindful of the anniversary of the death. Healing a Child's Grieving Heart and Healing a Teen's Grieving Heart addresses what to expect from different ages of grieving young people, and how to provide safe outlets for children
and teens to express emotion. Included in each book are tested, sensitive ideas for actions that people can take right this
minute-while still remaining supportive and honoring the mourner's loss.
Healing A Spouse's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies.
Companion Press, 2003.
From the Publisher: Helping widows and widowers learn how to cope with the grief of losing their
helpmate, their lover, and perhaps their financial provider, this guide shows them how to find continued meaning in life when
doing so seems difficult. Bereaved spouses will find advice on when and how to dispose of their mate's belongings, dealing
with their children, and redefining their role with friends and family. Suggestions are provided for elderly mourners, young
widows and widowers, unmarried lovers and same-sex partners. The information and comfort offered apply to individuals whose
spouse died recently or long ago.
18. Worden, J. William.
Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Professional. Springer Publishing, 4th Edition, 2008.
Why would I place a grief counseling book here? Below is an Amazon
reader review from the third edition that explains it:
"My mother passed away suddenly this past January. I was going through so many emotions
I thought I was going crazy, so someone suggested I get grief counseling, but I'm not the group counseling type. Then someone
suggested I get a book and I came across this one and it helped me to understand that everything I was going through was normal.
It is amazing how everything in that book pertained to me and exactly how I was feeling. I still have a ways to go but the
craziness of it all has subsided and I can better deal with things."
So, in a sense, the woman grieving the
death of her mother gave herself grief counseling. If you are also not the group counseling type, maybe the book
will help you better understand your thoughts and feelings right now. I do know that it has a good reputation in the grief
In the fourth edition, Dr. Worden presents
his most recent thinking on bereavement drawn from extensive research, clinical work, and the best of the new literature.
Besides addressing a number of new topics, the book includes the best vignettes from the first three editions to bring bereavement
issues to life for students, practitioners and anyone else interested in the topic. The book is well-written and easily read.
19. Wray, T.J., Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies
. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
Based on the experience of the author and many others, Wray helps readers
realize that they are not alone in their unique struggle over the death of an adult brother or sister. She offers practical
advise for each stage of the grieving process. The book includes: a search for meaning in your sibling's death; use of a grief
journal to record your journey; choosing a grief partner to help you through tough times; and how to deal with the insensitive
remarks made by others. The book is warm, personal, and a rich resource of insights and coping strategies.
For more support: Grief Healing Discussion Group: Loss
of a Sibling or Twin.
You can also find much information at Grief Healing.com: Death of a Sibling or Twin.
Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and Remembrance by Kathy Eldon. Chronicle Books, 2007, 128 pages.
Product Description: Over the past decade, this classic work
has helped thousands find meaningful ways to overcome the despair of losing a loved one. Now, Angel Catcher has been
revised and updated to convey its powerful message of hope to a new audience. Featuring brand new illustrations and a fresh
updated look, the tasteful pages of this journal guide the user through the process of mourning and onward to a lasting sense
of peace in the face of loss. Written after the author's son was murdered, it also makes a thoughtful gift for a grieving
Go to next page: Holiday Grief Support