In this section we endeavor to present a number of reading selections dealing with topics such as the grieving process, spirituality, and the afterlife. Please keep in mind that “taste” is subjective.
The After Journey Getting Through the First Year, by Laurie-Ann Weis, is a collection of insights from people who've lost partners and spouses. They share their experiences with moving forward, from taking off wedding rings, invitations for one, raising children alone to dating again. The book is simply a friend that can hold your hand when getting through the first and second year alone. Ms. Weis' book can be ordered from her web site.
bbc.co.uk Coping With Grief – Further Reading offers an extensive list of books relating to a myriad of grief issues such as dealing with losing a partner, losing parents, losing children, terminal illness, and sudden or violent death.
Bereavement – A Magazine of Hope and Healing offers a support group in print and a complete grief resource center including events and conferences, memorials, gift baskets, videos, books, and ecards.
Centering Corporation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and resources for the bereaved through the best grief literature possible. Grief Digest Magazine is a reader-friendly magazine which includes the best writers and speakers in the field of bereavement. The magazine provides interesting articles on coping and dealing with grief, help for the caregiver.
Companion Through The Darkness: Inner Dialogues on Grief, by Stephanie Ericsson. As a result of her own experience with many kind of loss, Stephanie Ericsson offers an intimate, profoundly touching guide for those in grief, legitimizing the complex and often taboo emotions we all feel when loss transforms our lives. In Companion Through the Darkness, Stephanie Ericsson defines grief as “the constant reawakening that things are now different.” Using a very simple format — which combines excerpts from her own diary writings with brief essays — she vividly speaks the language of loss and captures the contradictory, wrenching, and chaotic emotions of grief.
The Courage to Grieve Creative Living, Recovery, & Growth Through Grief, by Judy Tatelbaum. This unusual self-help book about surviving grief offers the reader comfort and inspiration. Each of us will face some loss, sorrow and disappointment in our lives, and The Courage to Grieve provides the specific help we need to enable us to face our grief fully and to recover and grow from the experience. Although the book emphasizes the response to the death of a loved one, The Courage to Grieve can help with every kind of loss and grief.
Death Without Notice, by Sandra Helene Straub. “When someone you love dies, you wonder if you will survive. Pain and fear washes over you in waves. You feel that you cannot possibly bear it. The death of a loved family member or friend brings a flood of feelings?sorrow, loneliness, abandonment, anger, and guilt. These feelings make the task of mourning one of our most painful human experiences. It is true that everything changes, nothing in your life will ever be the same as you once knew it. Death Without Notice was written to help the bereaved gain the necessary knowledge and skills to move effectively through their grief. In this book we examine the grief you are feeling, help you to understand what it means to mourn, and suggest some ways you can face the task of grieving.” – Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.
Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life: A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Happiness After the Death of a Loved One, by Jill Brooke. The title of this book is something of a misnomer. While Brooke, a parenting columnist for the New York Daily News and former CNN correspondent, does include some information about coming to grips with the death of close friend or family member, she also focuses quite a bit on what to do before people die to ensure their memory. Presented is guidance on how to videotape interviews with elderly family members, write love letters to express feelings before it's too late, and get the best possible family pictures. Brooke also stresses the importance of preparing wills and pre-planning funerals. This scattershot approach gets bewildering; although chapters are devoted to one topic, Brooke goes off on tangents within those chapters. For example, she jarringly inserts a paragraph on how to remember loved ones in the middle of a discussion on the death rituals of different cultures. A marginal purchase for public libraries. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide is a book republished to accompany the made-for-Hallmark documentary by the same name. The documentary is a groundbreaking look at the role of faith and suicide: where is my loved one now? Can they be forgiven? How I can still have faith and go on? As a survivor of suicide, it may be very well worth your while to in depth explore the website. The documentary can be purchased in book or video format.
Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies, by Marta Felber. This is a book everyone should read whether they have experienced a loss or not, because all of us will come into contact with someone in our lives who is experiencing loss. This will not only help you understand grief, but will allow you to understand what someone is going through. I think this book could also be used for when you have lost a very good friend who is very important to you as some of the same principles apply.
For Widows Only!, by Annie (Thompson) Estlund. An extraordinary book for widows, For Widows Only is personal, intimate, and honest. It contains straight from the hip girl talk, intended especially for widows. In addition to essential nuts and bolts advice, author Annie Estlund includes her most intimate feelings and those of more than eighty other widows, making this book relevant to widows of all ages, and at all stages. Organized into three sections, “What Happened?” “What Now?” and “What Next?,” For Widows Only guides the grieving widow through her most anxious moments and helps her find answers to her most pressing questions. You are invited to visit the support site.
The Four Agreements Wisdom Book, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Although the subject matter is not grief, this book may be helpful in managing your life after the loss of your spouse. Revealed in this book is the source of self-limiting agreements that rob people of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the four agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform anyone?s life to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. These agreements are deceptively simple: Be impeccable with your word (speak with integrity; say only what you mean); Don?t take anything personally (nothing others do is because of you); Don?t make assumptions (find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want); Always do your best (and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret).
Gay Widowers: Life After the Death of a Partner, by Michael Shernoff, reveals both personal stories and usable information on the reactions gay men have to grief. Through the use of anecdotes and timely analysis, one gets a more complete picture of the incredible passage gay men undergo in their grief journeys.
Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse, by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge, Robert Devries, Baker Book House, Robert C. De Vries. It's something no married person wants to imagine. Yet each year, eight hundred thousand individuals mourn the passing of a husband or wife. Coming alongside the grieving spouse, psychologist Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge and pastor/professor Robert De Vries provide much-needed support from a unique perspective–empathy. They each suffered the loss of their spouse at a relatively young age. Throughout Getting to the Other Side of Grief, the authors share their stories as living proof that if worked through properly, grief will lead the way to a fresh new life. Beginning with the premise that a full resolution to grief is possible, the authors extend this lifeline to readers: Complete healing doesn't happen without intentional effort (time alone doesn't heal), and this intentional effort, for complete success, must combine Christian faith and sound mental health practices. In offering these interwoven disciplines, the authors give readers the benefit of both the male and female perspective. Readers will find getting to the other side of grief less lonely and more promising in the empathetic company of these two authors. Those who assist grieving persons on their journeys–pastors, counselors, family members, friends–will find this a useful supplement to the support they offer.
Gili's Book: A Journey into Bereavement for Parents and Counselors “is the most comprehensive and enlightening book I've read yet — and I've read a LOT of books about bereavement and grief since my son died 3+ years ago! Kagan has a special insight to this. She is a bereaved parent. And she's a Ph.D. If you have ever dealt with a bereavement counselor or therapist who pathologized your grief — if you are dealing with family and friends who want you to just “get over it” — then you really, really, really, really need to read this book! Even if you have had great support all along, this book is amazing and a one-of-a-kind treasure.” Book Review by Kara L.C. Jones.
God's Gift of Love: After-Death Communications by Christine Marie Duminiak, confirms that our loved ones don't “die” and leave us behind. Like angels on our shoulders, they are eternally bonded to us bestowing love, comfort, and support. Grieving hearts will find enormous consolation from the touching stories of afterlife visits in this magnificent book! Valuable and insightful self-help information is also offered on receiving visits from loved ones–spiritual contacts which are gifts from God?s heart to ours.
Good Grief Wisdom Book, by Lolly Winston. This novel that may be better received by those further along in their journey. It's a gem of a book, filled with passages that will make you cry, make you shake your head in agreement and will make you laugh. For someone who has not been widowed, Ms. Winston accurately captures and touches upon many aspects of the widowed experience.
A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis. Lewis' journal is a testimony to his confrontation with the numbness of grief and the temptation to lose faith, written after the death of his wife in a straightforward and deeply personal voice.
A Grief Recovery Guide for Gay Men, by David Wayne Silva, provides readers with valuable information on how men grieve; and how they prepare for, and pass through, the death event. Personal stories of grieving men are combined with an action program containing step-by-step suggestions for identifying and combating depression, anger, and guilt. Readers are encouraged to define their present condition, build their own personal recovery program, and create a new identity. The book also contains information for terminally ill men and their partners, where they learn techniques for bonding as well as recording their shared experiences of love. This book is a resource guide for support personnel, a guide through bereavement.
Grief Resources Catalog is a resource center dedicated to providing grief support products for those who may be grieving the loss of a loved one. The grief support materials found here are designed to assist those in a journey through grief, and for friends, relatives, and grief professionals who want to help someone who is experiencing grief.
Healing After Loss, by Martha W. Hickman. For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, here are strength and thoughtful words to inspire and comfort.
Heavenly Hurts: Surviving AIDS-Related Deaths and Losses, by Sandra Jacoby Klein. “Those who survive AIDS-related deaths and multiple losses have unique needs that have not been acknowledged. Heavenly Hurts remedies that neglect by (1) defining HIV/AIDS issues; (2) enhancing knowledge and coping skills; (3) discussing the value of support systems; and (4) providing community resources. All who are affected by HIV/AIDS, including families; friends; and professional and non-professional caregivers, will gain an awareness of the grief issues surrounding this disease.” – Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.
I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One, by Brook Noel, Pamela D. Blair. This is an excellent book on death, grief and loss. Sooner or later death will touch everyone's life. We may not all react the same but most will experience the stages of loss and grief from denial to acceptance. It can be a long often agonizing and lonely road to recovery. Sadly the impact of loss and death can leave many with a loss of their own will to live.
I'm Grieving As Fast As I Can: How Young Widows and Widowers Can Cope and Heal, by Linda Sones Feinberg. This book sensitively guides young widows and widowers through the normal grieving process while highlighting the special circumstances of facing an untimely death. Hundreds of young widows and widowers, with whom the author has worked with for more than a decade as a counselor, share their thoughts and dilemmas about the situations that arise as a result of losing a loved one, among them what to tell young children experiencing a parent's death, returning to work and dealing with in-laws and other relatives.
It's So Hard When Someone You Love Dies, by John D., Rev. Martin, Frank D. Ferris. This book was written for individuals who are recently bereaved of someone very close to them — typically a partner, though the book has very wide application as a general bereavement resource. A narrator guides the flow as over 50 people tell their stories as examples for the reader to relate to. The key messages is that it's normal to be feeling bad, and that healing will come if you find safe ways to experience your emotions. Down-to-earth examples show how grief affects many areas of daily life, relationships with others, and hopes for the future. Practical tips in plain language are organized for easy reading.
Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief, by Vicky Whipple. The death of a life partner poses unique challenges for lesbians. Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief reveals the touching and very personal stories of twenty-five women, including the author, who were widowed at a young age and forced to create a new life without their life partners. The book follows the widows from the time the couple met, to the time when one of the partners died, and beyond, to show how the surviving partner coped with her loss. Many lesbians feel that the intimacy felt between two women in love goes deeper than what can be experienced by heterosexual partners. Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief reveals themes common to all these women?s experiences while offering practical advice about coping techniques and resources for support. The widows discuss their efforts to create funerals and memorial services, give their accounts of the overwhelming grief throughout the first two years, and explain the legal and financial discrimination they encountered. The author provides a chapter specifically for caring family and friends, another chapter for professionals working with this sensitive population, and a bibliography of helpful coping resources.
The Loss of a Life Partner, by Carolyn Ambler Walter. Although there is extensive research on the loss of a spouse, predominantly focusing on the experiences of widows, much less attention is paid to bereaved partners not married to their significant other, whether or not the partners are of the same sex. This first-of-its-kind work explores both socially sanctioned and disenfranchised grief, highlighting similarities and differences.
Love You, Mean It is a powerful memoir about four women who each lost their husband in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 — women who were once strangers but whose eventual friendship became a source of true strength as they began to find their way forward. Pattie Carrington, Julia Collins, Claudia Gerbasi and Ann Haynes first met in July of 2002, drawn together by the unthinkable — ten months previously their beloved husbands had been killed in the World Trade Center. These four thirty-something women soon discovered they had much more in common than their shared suffering. From that first meeting they formed an unshakable bond, one that was grounded in grief's unbearable intensity and a mutual determination to find ways to go on with their lives. Taking their inspiration from their husbands — men who had all chosen to “live life to the fullest” — Pattie, Julia, Claudia and Ann felt that their friendship was meant to be. They began calling themselves the Widows Club, signing off emails and phone conversations with a lighthearted phrase: Love you, mean it. “Feeling this love for one another meant our hearts were beginning to open again. It was a risk — love brought with it the ever-present possibility of loss. But this was a risk worth taking. More than ever, we understood how important it was to put love at the center of our lives.” In this shared memoir of loss and rebuilt lives, the four authors recount the experiences of the coming years, during which time they support and encourage one another toward brave new futures. LOVE YOU, MEAN IT is a book that will both console and inspire with its true story of friendship, empathy and emerging hope. Keep an eye on Pattie's, Julia's, Claudia's, and Ann's “under constructionLove You, Mean It web site and visit Hyperion.com for more information about this wonderful book.
A Man You Know is Grieving: 12 Ideas for Helping Him Heal From Loss, by Tom Golden, is really two books in one! One half gives tips for caregivers in helping masculine grievers and the other half is for the men. A handy, concise, and practical book for both men and women.
Many Lives, Many Masters, by Dr. Brian Weiss. The true story how, during a hypnosis session with a prominent psychiatrist, a young patient began to channel messages from 'the space between lives.' These messages revealed many secrets of life and death and about the influence of past life experiences on present behavior. They also dramatically altered the lives of both the patient and doctor.
Men Bleed Too by Thomas Brown. Written from a man’s point of view, “Men Bleed Too” provides basic information to help the male caretaker through the process and journey of this lonely battle for the life of a loved one.
Mourning Has Broken – A Collection of Creative Writing about Grief and Healing, foreword by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., researched and edited by Mara Koven and Liz Pearl. “This unique anthology contains 50 original submissions that focus on healing from the pain of losing a loved one. This inspirational book will make you smile and it will make you cry…it will always make you choose life.”
She Taught me to Laugh Again by Thomas Brown, is the story of two mid-forties people who recently lost their spouses to death. It describes the trials and tribulations of grieving, falling in love, and trying to build a new life together.
Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, by Tom Golden, is 136 pages of helpful information about healing from loss drawn from Mr. Golden's twenty years of clinical experience in helping people heal. This book is packed with information that will help you negotiate the tough terrain of grief and move to a place of healing and transformation. It is a book for men or women about the masculine side of healing from loss.
Walking in the Garden of Souls, by George Anderson, Andrew Barone. For 27 years, George Anderson, widely considered the world's greatest living medium, has listened to those on the other side, gaining a unique awareness of what those souls want his millions of believers to know, to understand, and to accept. Now Anderson shares this wisdom-and offers an incomparable perspective on the questions faced in day-to-day life.
When Things Get Back to Normal by M. T. Dohaney. In her journal, Dohaney?s sharp sense of humor and her impatience with conventional pieties lay bare the depth of her bereavement, yet at the same time they express the life force within her. She is frank about her anger at Walt for not being there to take care of the house and family; she faces her annoyance at sincere well-wishers who say exactly the wrong thing; and she exposes her distressing loneliness. When Things Get Back to Normal is a compassionate yet bracing companion for those struck down by loss, which indirectly gives practical advice about the changes that come with widowhood.
The Widowed Self: The Older Woman's Journey through Widowhood, by Deborah Kestin van den Hoonaard. Most books about widows usually focus on younger women; this book interweaves the voices of older widows their experiences and insights to show how they have come to terms with widowhood and have recreated their lives in new, unsuspected ways. The widows speak about how they relate to their children, their friends, to men. With powerful emotions they describe their husbands' final illnesses and deaths, and the challenging early days of widowhood. Disputing stereotypes about older women and widows, The Widowed Self allows the reader to visualize the impact of losing one's life partner and offers a new way of thinking about widowhood.
Widower: When Men Are Left Alone, by Scott Campbell and Phyllis R. Silverman. “The death of a spouse is one of the most traumatic experience one can have, the touch-stone against which all stressful events are measured. The man who loses his wife has lost more than a spouse?he has often lost a companion, lover, mother, teacher, caretaker, and social connector as well. Statistics show that widowed men are more vulnerable than other men to serious psychological disorders and very real physical problems, which could lead to an earlier death. In Widower: When Men are Left Alone, a journalist and a social worker explore the grief process as men experience it. The book contains the oral histories of twenty men, ranging in age from 30 to 94, who have lost their wives to a range of causes including cancer, alcohol, murder, and suicide. Taken together the stories guide the reader through the journey of widowhood, from the raw despair of the early weeks to the resolved perspective thirteen years later, offered by the only true authority on the subject?the men who have survived it.” – Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.
Widow's Walk: One Woman's Spiritual and Emotional Journey to a New Life, by Anne Hosansky. In a moving examination of love and loss, Hosansky alternates between recollections of her 34-year-long marriage; her husband Mel's 23-month fight with cancer; and her life since his death. Widows reading her controlled, yet wrenchingly eloquent prose will identify with what it means to face acute loneliness and cope with mixed emotions of despair, anger, and guilt while at the same time dealing with new financial and other practical responsibilities. The author relives the continual associations of places, objects, holidays, anniversaries–the moments of a shared life–that are equally painful whether they crop up unbidden or are deliberately evoked as therapy in support groups. Slowly, though, Hosansky comes to grips with her new life, and before setting out alone on a trip to Italy, she removes her wedding ring, declaring “with this ring . . . I thee unwed.” Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Winds of Change: A Guided Journey with Healing Music through Grief, Loss & Transformation, by Marcia Breitenbach, is an innovative and inspiring book with effective tools for managing grief and change. Included is a CD of 14 original songs that serve to uplift, encourage positive thoughts and choices, and to live a life with meaning, purpose and joy.
The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. In our quest to live life to the fullest, most of us have only a vague idea of what will happen to us when the people we love, the people closest to us, die. Sure, we know that death is inevitable for us all somewhere far off in our wished-for future. So we draw up wills and provide for the “rainy day.” And we expect that there will be a process called “grieving.” But as my own late mother used to say, repeating the Irish wisdom, “We'll deal with it when we have to.”
This Vast Being, A Voyage through Grief and Exhaltation by Ann Kreilkamp. This book invites the reader into the rich inner journey of a woman whose husband died of a heart attack and left her, bereft and alone, in a brand new town. This Vast Being plunges the reader into the dynamics of a difficult marriage that gradually evolved into a union of equals and opened both their hearts. And it reveals the complex inner reality of Jeffrey Joel, a mostly submerged Renaissance Man who, post-death, presented unusual phenomena to demonstrate his existence in a realm that she sensed only a hair-breath from ours; who continued to impart his wisdom after he died and, to her surprise and delight, who invited her into a deeper intimacy than he could afford while embodied.
Understanding Your Grieving Heart After A Loved One's Death, by Mary M. Wong. A clear, concise, yet comprehensive understanding of what you will encounter as you work through your grieving process and specific advice and counsel on how to handle these various situations. Many books touch upon the subject of grief, but none so comprehensively as Understanding Your Grieving Heart. Whether you've experienced the loss of a loved one last week or years ago, you'll find solace and comfort within these pages. Mary Wong's conversational writing style, coupled with her own personal experience, makes Understanding Your Grieving Heart an invaluable resource on your road to stability and healing.
You'll Get over It: Rage of Bereavement, by Virginia Ironside . Agony aunt Virginia Ironside takes an honest and refreshing look at the complex emotional reactions surrounding death in this practical guide for the bereaved.