Here are some recommended readings. Our list is not exhaustive. As you read, you will discover other authors.
Click on the title of the book to access a description.
For the bereaved
Alan D. Wolfelt, Companion Press, 2010
Someone you love has taken his or her own life. You are confronted with profound grief and the need to find continued meaning in your own life.
Think of your grief as a wilderness — a vast, mountainous, inhospitable forest. You are in the wilderness now. You are in the midst of unfamiliar and often brutal surroundings. You are cold and tired.
Yet you must journey through the wilderness. You must become acquainted with its terrain and learn to follow the sometimes hard-to-find path that leads to healing.
This book is a compassionate, gentle guide to finding your way through the wilderness of grief after the suicide death of someone you love. An excerpted version of the comprehensive Understanding Your Suicide Grief, this is a more concise resource, making it appropriate for mourners who might be overwhelmed by a lengthy text.
Alan D. Wolfel, Companion Press, 2003
Since its debut in 1992, this favorite by one of the world’s most beloved grief counselors has found a place in the homes and hearts of hundreds of thousands of mourners across the globe. Filled with compassion and hope, Understanding Your Grief helps you understand and befriend your painful, complex, yet normal thoughts and feelings after the death of someone loved.
Understanding Your Grief is built on Dr. Wolfelt’s Ten Touchstones—basic principles to learn and actions to take to help yourself engage with your grief and create momentum toward healing. This second edition includes concise additional wisdom on new topics such as the myth of closure, complicated and traumatic grief, grief overload, loneliness, the power of ritual, and more.
If you’re grieving a death or a significant loss of any kind, this refreshed bestseller will be your rock and steadfast companion as you journey through the wilderness of your unique grief.
David Kessler, Scribner, 2019
In this groundbreaking new work, David Kessler—an expert on grief and the coauthor with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of the iconic On Grief and Grieving—journeys beyond the classic five stages to discover a sixth stage: meaning.
In this book, Kessler gives readers a roadmap to remembering those who have died with more love than pain; he shows us how to move forward in a way that honors our loved ones. Kessler’s insight is both professional and intensely personal. His journey with grief began when, as a child, he witnessed a mass shooting at the same time his mother was dying. For most of his life, Kessler taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about end of life, trauma, and grief, as well as leading talks and retreats for those experiencing grief. Despite his knowledge, his life was upended by the sudden death of his twenty-one-year-old son.
How does the grief expert handle such a tragic loss? He knew he had to find a way through this unexpected, devastating loss, a way that would honor his son. That, ultimately, was the sixth state of grief—meaning. In Finding Meaning, Kessler shares the insights, collective wisdom, and powerful tools that will help those experiencing loss.
Joan Didion , Knopf, 2005
From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage–and a life, in good times and bad–that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.
Leo Buscaglia, Henry Holt and Company, 1982
The beloved classic from New York Times bestselling author Leo Buscaglia that has helped thousands of children and adults come to grips with life and death. Appropriate for all ages—from toddlers to adults—and featuring beautiful nature photographs throughout, this poignant, thought-provoking story follows Freddie and his companions as their leaves change with the passing seasons and the coming of winter, finally falling to the ground with winter’s snow. An inspiring allegory that illustrates the delicate balance between life and death, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf has helped a generation of readers navigate death and dying, grief and bereavement, the passage of time, and loss of a loved one.
How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies, Therese A. Rando, Lexington Books, 1988
Mourning the death of a loved one is a process all of us will go through at one time or another. But wherever the death is sudden or anticipated, few of us are prepared for it or for the grief it brings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve; each person’s response to loss will be different. In this compassionate, comprehensive guide, Therese A. Rando, leads you gently through the painful but necessary process of grieving and helps you find the best way for yourself.
Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner Inspired by the website that the New York Times hailed as “redefining mourning,” this book is a fresh and irreverent examination into navigating grief and resilience in the age of social media, offering comfort and community for coping with the mess of loss through candid original essays from a variety of voices, accompanied by gorgeous two-color illustrations and wry infographics.
Brook Noel and Pamela D Blair Ph.D. , Sourcebooks, 2018
Whether you’re grieving the sudden loss of a loved one or helping someone else through their grief, this book offers a comforting hand to help guide you through the grieving process, from the first few weeks to the longer-term emotional and physical effects. It then reveals some of the myths of the grieving process and what really happens as you navigate through the pain.
Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Wisdom Publication, 2017
This book is for anyone dealing with the traumatic death of a loved one and is general enough to apply to most relationships whether you are dealing with the loss of a child, spouse, or friend. Organized into fifty-two short chapters, Bearing the Unbearable is a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the very essence of our shared humanity. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore—bereavement educator, researcher, Zen priest, and leading counselor in the field—accompanies us along the heartbreaking path of love, loss, and grief. Through moving stories of her encounters with grief over decades of supporting individuals, families, and communities—as well as her own experience with loss—Cacciatore opens a space to process, integrate, and deeply honor our grief.
Alexander Levy , Perseus Publishing, 1999
Losing our parents when we ourselves are adults is in the natural order of things, a rite of passage into true adulthood. But whether we lose them suddenly or after a prolonged illness, and whether we were close to or estranged from them, this passage proves inevitably more difficult than we thought it would be. From the recognition of our own mortality and sudden child-like sorrow to a sometimes-subtle change in identity or shift of roles in the surviving family, The Orphaned Adult guides readers through the storm of change this passage brings and anchors them with its compassionate and reassuring wisdom.
Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. De Vries, Bakerbooks, 2001
Whether you’ve lost a spouse, parent, child, friend, or sibling, The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions invites you to journey through grief toward life-giving healing. You’ll learn how to incorporate new traditions on special days like anniversaries and birthdays, create memorials that honor and affirm your loved one’s life, rebuild your individual sense of identity, and more. Most of all, you’ll discover a new sense of joy that can become a special part of future holidays.
Lexi Behrndt, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
On Coming Alive: Journaling Through Grief is a 100 prompt guided journal aimed at guiding you through the darkness that often accompanies grief. Featuring inspiring quotes from writers, and other visionaries paired with open-ended questions and prompts, with plenty of room for writing and reflecting, this journal is the perfect companion to guide you through the complexities of grief
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, David Kessler, Scribner, 2014
Ten years after the death of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, this commemorative edition of her final book combines practical wisdom, case studies, and the authors’ own experiences and spiritual insight to explain how the process of grieving helps us live with loss. Now with an introduction by Maria Shriver and an additional resources section.
Patrice Karst Parents
Educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string. “That’s impossible!” the children insist, but still they want to know more: “What kind of string?” The answer is the simple truth that binds us all: An Invisible String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart, and know that you are always connected to the ones you love. This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us, and opens up deeper conversations about love.
Friends and Caregivers, Alan D. Wolfel, Companion Press, 2001
A child you care about is grieving. But how can you help? This book offers 100 practical, kid-friendly ideas for helping children mourn well so they can grow to live well and love well again.
Turn to any page and seize the day by supporting this child today, right now, right this minute. Some of the ideas teach about children’s unique mourning styles and needs. Others suggest simple activities and “companioning” tips. A compassionate, easy-to-read resource for parents, aunts, and uncles, grandparents, teachers, and volunteers, and a great refresher for professional caregivers.
Phyllis R. Silverman, Oxford University Press, 2009
When children lose someone they love, they lose part of their very identity. Life, as they knew it, will never be quite the same. The world that once felt dependable and safe may suddenly seem a frightening, uncertain place, where nobody understands what they’re feeling. This deeply sympathetic book offers wise guidance on virtually every aspect of childhood loss, from living with someone who’s dying to preparing the funeral; from explaining death to a two year old to managing the moods of a grieving teenager; from dealing with people who don’t understand to learning how and where to get help from friends, therapists, and bereavement groups; from developing a new sense of self to continuing a relationship with the person who died. Throughout, the authors advocate an open, honest approach, suggesting that our instinctive desire to “protect” children from the reality of death may be more harmful than helpful.
For the bereaved
Nadine Beauthéac, Les Éditions Albin-Michel, 2008
When death occurs in the family, men and women often struggle to understand each other. Couples, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters share the pain of loss but then drift apart. Containing emotions or letting tears flow, expressing grief or remaining silent, thinking or feeling, projecting into the future or connecting with the past… are differences in attitude that can add suffering to suffering.
Nadine Beauthéac, psychotherapist, specialized in the support of grief, addresses the male and female way of dealing with it. Based on the words of the bereaved, strong, fair, courageous and lucid, she shows that if the loss of a loved one can separate couples and families, it can also strengthen ties. The slow healing of the absence leads to the rediscovery of the value of love.
Pascale Brillon, Les Éditions Québécor, 2012
This book was written for the bereaved who have experienced a devastating loss that still shocks them. A source of information, reflection and peace of mind, this book, written by a specialist, is intended to facilitate your grieving process. Despite such a shock, despite such a loss, the author reminds us that serenity and life await us…
Christophe Fauré, Les Éditions Albin Michel, 2007
Christophe Fauré approaches all the aspects of this suffering unlike any other: the depths of guilt, anger, depression and despair, the temptation to end one’s own life, the difficulties in relating to others, the extreme solitude, the distress of loved ones.
Based on many personal testimonies, which reflect the infinity of situations, it addresses the person who remains when the other is gone, and the people around him who are powerless to help him. These words on the unspeakable are there to help the reader not to forget, but to name his suffering so that the healing takes place, slowly, knowing that this wound will never completely heal.
Christophe Fauré, Les Éditions Albin Michel, 2018
Nowadays, death has become taboo, and we no longer grieve after the loss of a loved one. We live it in silence. Yet it is a trauma, a wound whose repercussions are felt throughout life.
With examples, this book explains, day by day, the path of grief, different according to the identity of the deceased and the history of each person. It answers the many questions of the bereaved.
Corine Goldberger, Les Éditions Albin Michel, 2005
Every year, 30,0000 women and men under 55 years old, married or not, are confronted with the loss of another person and experience being widowed. Today, there are 360,000 early widowers in France, 80% of whom are under the age of 40. And in the vast majority of cases, widowhood results in single-parent families. But what do we know about young widowers?
Corine Goldberger met with them to help them better understand their own reactions, which are sometimes confusing, in order to overcome one of life’s cruelest experiences and to authorize themselves, one day, to go on with their lives and love again.
The book is also addressed to all the relatives who wish to help the young widow or widower and struggle to find the right words, gestures and tone.
Josée Jacques, Les Éditions Québec Livres, 2016
There are many losses in our lives: breakup, illness, layoff, retirement… But how can we overcome them, especially those related to death? A few months or years after a death, many people see it as an undeniable source of growth. However, this does not take away the suffering that follows and the impression of never being able to regain one’s balance when a loved one dies.
How can the complex journey that follows the loss of a loved one give meaning to an event that seems to have none? Inexorably, the seasons of grief follow their rhythm, with their bad weather, their rainbows, their rainy days and that sun that always comes back!
Jean Monbourquette, Les Éditions Novalis, 2021
Are you experiencing a loss, whether it is a separation, the loss of health, the grief of a loved one? This book is intended to support you on the road ahead.
It invites you not to deny your pain; with the healing teaches Mr. Monbourquette, you will discover a new maturity and a greater possibility to love. This book is inspired by the testimonies of people who have successfully grieved.
Jean Monbourquette, Les Éditions Novalis, 2016
Today’s urban effervescence is at odds with the principle of the funeral ritual. Society encourages people to believe that they will live forever, and grief is passed over in silence. This denial, however, reveals a disturbing reality, and even a deep discomfort among our contemporaries.
And what about the fate of the bereaved? They often feel neglected and marginalized by their loved ones, as if there were something indecent about the loss of a loved one. This social void has abolished a fundamental period of reflection, internalization and living the time of grief.
This bestseller lifts the veil on this social taboo and seeks to humanize this moment. It is addressed to bereaved people who wish to live this transition serenely, in order to overcome their blockages and free themselves from established conventions.
Louise Racine, Les Éditions du CRAM
This book shows how, through a relational process, the bereaved can come to accept the loss, facilitate the “letting go”, through intimate and public rituals, in order to resolutely turn towards the other polarity of mourning, the light and the life that continues. How to choose life? The author exposes the different mechanisms that will allow the bereaved to find a meaning to their new life without the other…
Louise Racine, Les Éditions du CRAM, 2011
This book is very comprehensive and simple and warm. It is intended for the person who is bereaved or who is experiencing a loss, for those who surround him or her in this obligatory passage, for those who work in helping relationships, and for the professional staff and volunteers who support the bereaved.
The reader will find many words of bereaved people in which he or she will recognize himself or herself, and a strong dose of empathy that will give him or her the hope and strength to break the impasse of a recent or unresolved grief.
An essential book for anyone who is grieving by death, of course, but also for anyone who has suffered a significant loss in their life.
Louise Racine, Les Éditions du CRAM, 2011
This book is about the life mission that the bereaved person must now choose and specify, in order to harmoniously complete the process of healing from a loss, following a bereavement, a separation, an illness, a relationship obstacle or a depression.
The author invites the reader one last time to explore at his or her own pace the paths to rebirth and self-fulfillment and to put into practice the various exercises that will lead him or her to create a brand new life in his or her own image, on the way to fulfillment.
Marielle Robitaille, Les Éditions Académie Impact, 2003
How do you support a person who does not seem to understand the reality of death? How do we deal with their reactions to a death, two or three years after the departure of a loved one? How do you deal with the emotional burden and confusion of the voiceless?
This guide simply addresses all the dimensions of this complex issue and proposes effective tools to make concrete concepts that are difficult to understand both intellectually and emotionally…
Bereavement of children
Josée Masson, Les Éditions Logiques, 2010
They are babies, children or teenagers, and already death has taken hold of someone they love with all their heart. As these young people discover life, they must put a lot of energy into understanding this mysterious and inconceivable death.
In front of their distress, their silences, their questions, their smiles, we often feel powerless and do not always know how to react. What is the difference between their grief and the grief of adults? What do they understand about death at their age? How can we tell them about the passage of death? How to support them?
This book will guide parents, caregivers and anyone who is affected by the grief experienced by a child or teenager. A good knowledge of this subject will help these young people who, behind their tears, have so much to share.
Françoise Fafard Sindon, Éditions Louise Courteau, 1999
This book gathers testimonies of parents following the death of their child. It shares with us their pain but also their desire to rebuild their lives and continue their journey. It succeeds in putting into words emotions that will touch the parents concerned.
Suzy Fréchette-Piperni, Les Éditions de Mortagne, 2005
This book is designed to provide parents with effective support and suggestions to help them cope with difficult times, regardless of the perinatal loss they experience: early or late miscarriage, medical termination of the pregnancy, delivery of a dead child or of a newborn who died within hours or weeks of birth.
This book, enriched with hundreds of testimonies from other parents who have gone through a similar experience, will help parents from the first day of grief to the next pregnancy, to better understand their emotions so that they can free themselves from them and find the serenity that will allow them to enjoy life again.
Through this book, all those who are close to grieving parents-grandparents, siblings, friends, and co-workers-who are touched by their loss and watch helplessly in despair will find ways to comfort them with respect and compassion.
Francine de Montigny, Éditeur Hôpital Ste-Justine, 2017
By giving voice to several bereaved fathers, this book paints a picture of a socially misunderstood grief: the grief of a baby during pregnancy or a few weeks after childbirth. It highlights the interplay between the mother and the father, and provides a better understanding of the differences between them in this complex bereavement, particularly in terms of possible reactions, perceptions and communication of the distress. It also explains the issues of vulnerability and help-seeking for many men.
Magda Vandendorpe, Les Éditions du CRAM, 2017
The loss of an infant is one of the most trying grief for parents. Shame, denial, anger, fear and anxiety are buried deep inside, in a silence that the years make more and more heavy.
In this book, Magda Vandendorpe tells the story of a journey – her own – in which many parents will recognize themselves. After the sudden loss of her three-month-old baby in 1973, she shut herself up behind a wall of silence that lasted more than thirty-five years.
With an air of self-control, she had five more children, unconsciously imagining that this would make her forget the first-born who had died too soon. But when the shell cracked, she had to face this unresolved grief. A sensitive book that will inspire and guide many parents.
Christrophe Fauré, Les Éditions Albin Michel, 2016
“…Knowing what is going on and what to expect in the last days and hours helps to make this special time a little less scary. It doesn’t eliminate the suffering, but it does help to gain some distance.” This true guide to the end of life answers in a clear and accessible way the countless questions we all ask ourselves. It offers a precious source of peace of mind and helps to communicate with caregivers…”
Christrophe Fauré, Les Éditions Albin Michel, 2002
Dr. Christophe Fauré, a psychiatrist specializing in support for patients and their families, addresses the suffering of those who live with the patient. He speaks to the relatives, helping them to :
For people at the end of their life
Marie de Hennezel, Les Éditions Albin Michel, 2005
‘’Everyone can prepare for his or her death – the day and hour of which he or she does not know – by living as consciously as possible in accordance with his or her values. Everyone can approach his death with open eyes, if death is not denied, if those around him accept it, if there is enough truth and love around the one who is dying. Everyone can make his death a lesson in life for others.‘’
Based on the experience of her friend, the philosopher Yvan Amar, who, suffering from an untreatable chronic illness, chose to die “with his eyes open”, Marie de Hennezel speaks of the last moments of life as an opportunity for awakening.
A profound reflection, a wonderful message of hope, compassion and love.
David Servan-Schreiber, Les Éditions Robert Laffont, 2011
Vibrant testimony of this doctor and neuroscience researcher who lived with cancer for 19 years. 3 months before his death, he published his last book in which he shared his deepest thoughts. He passed away on July 22, 2011, but not without having experienced that we can say goodbye more than once.
In his own way, he shows us an inspiring and deeply touching and human way to end of life.
Mario Proulx, Les Éditions Bayard Canada, 2010
Our society does not teach us to die. Everything is done to hide death, so that we live without thinking about it. In reality, the last moments of life have a great value. They are the occasion for a deep reflection on the meaning of life. They are of capital importance, as much for those who are leaving as for those who remain. However, the denial of death deprives us of a much more intense life.
The result of a long investigation carried out on two continents, Mario Proulx presents the complete interviews of a dozen personalities who collaborated on the series Vivre jusqu’au bout broadcast on Radio-Canada’s First Channel: philosophers, doctors, sociologists, thinkers and writers engage in a necessary reflection on the question of the meaning of life, and of death.