24 Best Books About Coping With Grief & Pain from Loss

End-of-life care educator and grief worker

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Grief is difficult to navigate. It is a personal journey that everyone takes. The thing about grief is that we don't have to do it alone. There are tools and resources that can help us process and manage our grief. 

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Grief manifests differently for everyone. And there are many types of loss. Here is a list of books that deal with the common types of loss. Consider them to help you with your grief.

Best Grief Books on the Loss of a Parent

Losing a parent is very difficult. Parents bring you into the world and it can feel lonely to no longer have them in your life. We've picked some books that may help you manage your grief after the loss of a parent.

1. How to Survive the Loss of a Parent: A Guide For Adults By Lois F. Akner C.S.W. with Cathrine Whitney 

Losing a parent can cause a lot of complex feelings. The author of How to Survive the Loss of a Parent is a therapist. She reveals the reasons why parent loss can be difficult to navigate.

Consider this book if you want to be better prepared for when this loss occurs. 

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2. Knocking on Heaven’s Door By Katy Butler 

Knocking on Heaven's Door is about an adult daughter's experience taking care of her elderly parents.

Caring for her dying parents became a full-time job. She writes about the joys and hardships of her role. 

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3. Dear Darkness by Kevin Young 

Grief is expressed in many forms. In Dear Darkness, the author explores death and loss through poetry. After the tragic loss of his father, he turned to poetry to help him cope.

Through humor and a love of food, the author paints a dynamic picture of what unpacking grief can look like. 

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4. The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change After the Death of Our Parents by Alexander Levy 

Parent loss can bring a lot of confusion and uncertainty.  In The Orphaned Adult, Levy introduces the idea that parent loss can feel like being orphaned.

He addresses this type of loss with compassion and grace. Reading this book could help you do the same. 

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5. No Matter What by Debi Gliori

No Matter What is for children who have lost a parent. It serves as a comforting story to remind children that their parents love lives on.

It addresses the fear and anxiety that arise after the loss of a parent. 

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» MORE: How do you host a virtual funeral? Start here

 

Best Grief Books on the Loss of a Spouse

The loss of a spouse can leave you feeling hopeless. It's a type of loss that forces a state of independence. If you have experienced the loss of a partner, these books are a must-read. 

6. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant 

Written by Sheryl, COO of Facebook, Option B is about the tragic loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg. It reveals the lessons she learned while navigating her new life as a widow.

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7. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion 

The Year of Magical Thinking explores the grief of partner loss and the idea of "magical thinking." Didion describes a time in her life when she was expecting her husband to return.

She writes candidly about dealing with her grief while caring for her ill child. This story talks about managing your grief while life continues around you. 

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8. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis 

Everyone grieves. In A Grief Observed, famous writer, C.S. Lewis, shares his journey with grief after the loss of his wife, Joy. He explores the idea that grief is a long winding road. And eventually, it may reveal a new landscape for life. 

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9. Bearing The Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore, PhD

Bearing the Unbearable is a guidebook for navigating life after a traumatic loss. It explores the many types of grief and suggests that we all grieve at our own pace. We shouldn’t wait for permission to grieve or judge our grief. 

This book explores the psychological process of grief and how we can best cope with loss. It provides practical tools to navigate traumatic loss without getting overwhelmed. 

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10. Please Be Patient, I'm Grieving by Gary Roe

Please Be Patient, I'm Grieving introduces the idea that grief does not have a timeline. It permits us to meet grief without rushing. The author is a hospice chaplain and grief specialist.

He observed the grief of many people. He shares tools to help family members and loved ones provide support in times of grief. 

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Best Grief Books on the Loss of a Child

Child loss calls us to bear the unbearable. It's a heartbreaking path. But it's important to know you are not alone. Here is a list of books written by parents who have lost a child. May they bring you peace if you are traveling this road. 

11. How Far Is It to London Bridge? by Joan Hurley

How Far Is It to London Bridge? is an intimate look into a mother's diary while she cared for a dying daughter. It navigates the topics of love, family, sorrow, and unspeakable loss.

She uncovers the grief that we all go through. Her words are relatable and easy to read. 

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

Two mothers joined together to write A Broken Heart Still Beats. They share poetry, quotes, and stories from famous writers.

It is a tool of hope that they wished they had while grieving. It is hard to find the words during a great loss, but these mothers did their best. 

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13. When The Bough Breaks by Judith R. Bernstein, Ph.D.

When the Bough Breaks features 50 interviews with parents who lost children. The author illuminates the common traits and the resiliency that each parent exhibits.

It explores the psychology of grief. And it puts great emphasis on healing and the power of the human spirit. 

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14. A Bereaved Father by Steve Younis 

A heartbreaking story of a father losing not one, but two children. In A Bereaved Father, the author explores grief through the lens of a father and a man.

The author reminds us to welcome our grief. Even if it looks and feels uncomfortable at first.  

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15. Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child by Nine bereaved mothers

In Beyond Tears, nine mothers share their stories of what it is like to lose a child and how they survived it. They share their honest and raw feelings. Their stories provide coping mechanisms for bereaved parents. 

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Best Grief Books on the Loss of a Sibling

Siblings play an important part in our life. They are the ones that we get to explore and grow with. This type of loss can feel overwhelming and survivor guilt may be present.

Coping with this type of loss requires tools and family support. Here are some books we have selected to help you on your healing path.

16. Surviving the Death of a Sibling by T.J. Wray

Surviving the Death of a Sibling explores adult sibling loss. The author lost her forty-three-year-old brother. She opens up about this deep loss. 

She explains how family dynamics change with sibling loss, and suggests how to manage those changes. Stages of grief are also discussed in a direct relationship to sibling loss. 

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17. Recovering From The Loss Of A Sibling by Katherine Fair Donnelly

Donnelly is a grief-expert. And has published other how-to guides for surviving loss. In Recovering From the Loss of a Sibling, she provides practical tools for recovering from sibling loss. In this book, she includes interviews with people who have lost siblings. 

The author places special emphasis on feeling the pain of loss. She also reminds us that we can heal from a loss. 

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18. The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss by Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

The Empty Room is a haunting reflection on what life is like living with a sibling with an autoimmune disorder. DeVita-Raeburn's brother, Ted, died from an autoimmune disorder. She shares her experience of losing her brother at a young age. 

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19. Healing the Adult Sibling's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Brother or Sister Dies by Alan D. Wolfelt

Healing the Adult Sibling's Grieving Heart has 100 ideas to help aid in understanding and accepting sibling loss.

The author approaches loss from a place of self-acceptance and compassion. He wrote this book in hopes it will provide a healthy guide on how to survive sibling loss. 

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20. Sibling Loss: A Sister's Journey from Despair to Celebration by Laura Prince 

Sibling Loss: A Sister's Journey from Despair to Celebration tackles the taboo of talking about sibling loss. The author lost her brother at a young age. She shares her experience dealing with the pain. The book reveals her transformation from grief to celebration. 

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Best Grief Books on the Loss of a Friend

The loss of a friend is heartbreaking. Regardless of how close you were, the ache is still the same. If you have lost a friend, we hope these books offer you tools and comfort in your time of grief. 

21. Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief by Rebecca Sofer and Gabrielle Birkner 

Modern Loss offers a contemporary perspective into loss. It is great for teenagers and young adults who are facing grief. The stories shared are relatable. And can help a young person with their grief.

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22. When Things Fall Apart By Pema Chodron

Written by a Buddhist nun, When Things Fall Apart suggests a meditative way to approach loss and death.

She encourages her readers to accept the reality of loss. That acceptance can allow for great healing. 

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23. The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr

The Goodbye Book simple story of a goldfish dying can be an educational moment. This book helps children relate to death and the loss of their friends, both humans, and pets. (Explore other children’s books on grief here

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24. Honoring Grief by Alexandra Kennedy

Honoring Grief explores what honoring grief might look like. It is a guide for self-compassion and awareness. Kennedy provides tools and rituals that can play a key role in the healing process.  

Use it during a time when things feel like they are falling apart. 

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Managing Your Grief

Grief can be a difficult monster to tackle and you never “get over it.” Wherever you might be in the stages of grief, turn to these books for support and guidance. 

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