Most of us will remember 2020 as the year that changed our lives dramatically. Nobody could have imagined that as we left 2019 full of hope and optimism for what the new year would bring us that we would quickly find ourselves living through a global pandemic, and that we would be losing our loved ones in their thousands.
If you are going through a bereavement, be it from Covid19 or from any other cause and you need a helping hand to process your feelings and emotions, we have put together a small list of books dealing with grief for you to consider. This selection looks at grief from many different angles, with a variety of approaches and experiences included from first person accounts to Tibetian teachings.
We hope that if you are seeking information and help that you can find something of comfort here, and if you have any recommendations for us from your own experiences with reading about grief and bereavement please do let us know so we can help other families.
On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Dr. Kubler-Ross first explored the now famous five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations, she gives the reader a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve the patient, and the patients family, bringing hope to all who are involved. Click here to purchase.
A Grief Observed by CS Lewis
This classic text of grief is still one of the best books on this subject, even though it is viewed through the lens of a religious feeling in an increasingly secular world. This book was written from the four journals that Lewis kept whilst dealing with the loss of his wife to cancer after only three years of marriage. This is a ground level study of grief, and the observations that Lewis makes in response to his wife’s death are moving and profound. Click here to purchase
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway wrote his memoir at the end of his life to address the writer and man he was at the beginning of his life. It details his years in Paris with his first wife, Hadley, and it is an account of a man grieving for the happiness that accompanied those early years. The grief, in old age, for ones youth, comes to us all in some form, and no one expresses this grief so beautifully and poignantly as Hemingway does in this little book. Click here to purchase
A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir
When someone is dying of cancer there is a kind of pre-grief that happens while the dying person becomes less themselves through to the changed to their physical body brought about on by the cancer. This short memoir is a powerful account of De Beauvoir’s mothers last days, written in a brutally honest prose that spares the reader nothing of the horrors of an individual life coming close to death. Click here to purchase
Healing Grief by Barbara Ward
A practical guide to help people through all kinds of grieving processes. The author considers divorce and separation, life-threatening illnesses, living with handicap, bereavement and children, death and dying. In each case, her material is illustrated by stories of people she has worked with. Click here to purchase
The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum
This unusual self-help book about surviving grief offers the reader comfort and inspiration. Judy Tatelbaum gives us a fresh look at understanding grief, showing us that grief is a natural, inevitable human experience, including all the unexpected, intense and uncomfortable emotions like sorrow, guilt, loneliness, resentment, confusion, or even the temporary loss of the will to live. The emphasis is to clarify and offer help, and the tone is spiritual, optimistic, creative and easy to understand. Click here to purchase
The Early Days of Grieving by Derek Nuttal
This simple and straightforward book is for those who have recently lost a loved one, offering direct and personal support, explanation, and information. Click here to purchase
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Written by the Buddhist meditation master and popular international speaker Sogyal Rinpoche, this highly acclaimed book clarifies the majestic vision of life and death that underlies the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It includes not only a lucid, inspiring and complete introduction to the practice of meditation, but also advice on how to care for the dying with love and compassion, and how to bring them help of a spiritual kind. But there is much more besides in this classic work, which was written to inspire all who read it to begin the journey to enlightenment and so become ‘servants of peace’. Click here to purchase
‘You’ll Get Over It’: The Rage of Bereavement by Virginia Ironside
The death of a loved one is the most traumatic experience any of us face. No two people cope with it the same way: some cry while others remain dry-eyed; some discover growth through pain, others find arid wastes; some feel angry, others feel numb. Virginia Ironside deals with this complicated and sensitive issue with great frankness and insight, drawing on other’s people’s accounts as well as her own experiences. Click here to purchase