Books – Things to Relate To

General Bereavement
  • A Grief Observed.  S. Lewis
    C.S. Lewis accounts for his personal loss of his wife, with a selection of his journal recordings during her passing. An intimate account of rediscovered faith.
  • Grief: The Courageous Journey.  Lang & Caplan
    If you’re grieving a loss, this book takes your hand and guides you, at your own pace, along the path of your own healing journey. Grief’s Courageous Journey provides a compassionate program of steps to take for coping with day-to-day life and accepting the changes in yourself and others.
  • Help me I Hurt.  John D. Martin and Elaine M. Egan
    Using the Three R’s, realize, recognize, and rebuild the authors present a manner for navigating the process of grief.
  • How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies.  Fando, Therese
    In this compassionate, comprehensive guide,  Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., bereavement specialist and  author of Loss And Anticipatory  Grief, leads you gently through the painful but  necessary process of grieving and helps you find  the best way for yourself.
  • Life After Loss.  Deits, Bob
    With great compassion and insight, Deits provides practical exercises for navigating the uncertain terrain of loss and grief, helping readers find positive ways to put together a life that is necessarily different, but equally meaningful.
  • Life’s Losses:  Living Through Grief, Bereavement and Sudden Change.  Wylie, B.J.
    Analyzes some of the reasons for, & the meaning of, the many & continuous losses we all meet, & shows how to be sensitive to pain & loss without becoming either callous or overwhelmed.
  • Living Beyond Loss:  Death in the Family.  Walsh, F. & McGoldrick, M.
    clinical framework identifies variables that heighten risk for individual, couple, or family dysfunction and describes key processes that foster healing and growth.  Addresses spirituality, gender issues, suicide and other traumatic deaths, unacknowledged and stigmatized losses, and resilience-based approaches for families.
  • Living Through Mourning.  Sarnoff Schiff, Harriett
    With sensitivity and wisdom, Harriet Sarnoff Schiff shares advice to help mourners find comfort admist grief and hope when a loved one has passed.  Supported by interviews with the bereaved and with funeral directors, therapists, and clergymen, this reference helps guide mourners through the grieving process.
  • Living When a Loved One has Died.  Grollman, Earl
    Explains what emotions to expect when mourning, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to work through feelings of loss. Suitable for pocket or bedside, this gentle book guides the lonely and suffering as they move through the many facets of grief, begin to heal, and slowly build new lives.
  • The Courage to Grieve.  Tatelbaum, Judy
    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 provides the specific help we need to enable us to face our grief fully and to recover and grow from the experience.
  • The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions.  Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. De Vries
    Whether you’ve lost a spouse, parent, child, friend, or sibling, this book 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.
  • The Mourning Handbook: A Complete Guide for the Bereaved.  Fitzgerald, H.
    Shares comforting, practical advice for anyone caught in the turmoil of losing a loved one, from everyday concerns such as placing an obituary and cemetery visits, to the myriad of complicated emotional issues involved–especially with accidental death and suicide.
  • Understanding Grief:  Helping Yourself Heal.  Wolfelt, Alan
    This classic resource helps guide the bereaved person through the loss of a loved one, and provides an opportunity to learn to live with and work through the personal grief process.
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  Kushner, Harold
    A straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being.
  • What Helped Me When My Loved One Died.  Grollman, Earl
    Personal stories of many who have mourned the death of a beloved. The contributors are people from all walks of life: parents, wives, husbands, children, and friends who have lost loved ones to accidents, long illness, suicide, sudden infant death syndrome, and war.
  • What Will Help Me?  How Can I Help?  Miller, James
    Helpful suggestions for how one can move through one’s grief in a healthy, healing way. Held the opposite way (so the back cover becomes the front cover), it’s a book for those who want to help someone who is grieving.
Men's Grief
  • Swallowed by a Snake.  Golden, Tom
    A book for men and women about the masculine side of healing from loss. Discover new and powerful ways to heal. How the genders differ in their healing. Greater understanding between partners.
  • When a Man Faces Grief /  When a Man You Know is Grieving.  Golden, T. Learn about the distinctive way grief is sometimes expressed and dealt with when a more “masculine” mode is employed (which may happen with either gender). This book is written in a concise format for the griever himself, for those who wish to understand, validate and support the more masculine mode of grief. 
  • When Men Grieve:  Why Men Grieve Differently and How You Can Help.  Levang, E.
    Psychologist Elizabeth Levang, author of Remembering with Love, explains the special ways that men grieve so those who love them can better understand what they’re going through
When should I seek help?

Most individuals are able to work through their grief with the help of the friends, family, and their own personal resources. However, there are some guidelines that might be useful in determining whether additional help should be sought:

  • If the individual is having difficulties functioning from day to day, is not able to sleep enough for basic needs, is not eating, or is not able to perform everyday activities that are required to take care of himself/herself.
  • The individual expresses a wish to die, has shared plans to harm himself/herself, or repeatedly expresses ongoing severe guilt, self-blame, and/or negative thinking that causes a sense of paralysis in daily life.
  • The individual is isolated or has little to no support available.
  • Some individuals may choose to seek the help of a professional to work through issues that may be more complicated in nature or that they may not be comfortable sharing with others who know them or who also may be affected by their loss.
Am I normal?

Grief counsellors are frequently asked this question. One bereaved individual aptly expressed an answer to this question by stating, “Normal is just a cycle on my washing machine.” Certainly, when our lives are upended and our view of the world is shattered, we are not going to feel normal. It is important to be aware of the many, diverse ways that grief is experienced and expressed. Not all grieving individuals experience sadness. Sometimes, feelings of anger or numbness are more pronounced. In addition, grief may manifest in some individuals through an inability to focus or concentrate rather than through emotions. It is also not uncommon for our bodies to react to the stress of the loss experience through physical symptoms, which still should be checked out medically. Although grief is a universal experience, the ways that people experience grief are varied and unique.

What do you say to someone who is newly bereaved?

Many bereaved individuals will say that they feel others avoid them or are uncomfortable around them. Probably the reason for this is that people just don’t know what to say, or they are afraid to say the wrong thing. Unfortunately, this avoidance reinforces feelings of isolation and pain that the bereaved individual may already be feeling as a result of the loss. We suggest that you be honest and realistic in what you say. Avoid using clichés and telling bereaved individuals that you know how they feel, or that time heals all wounds, because you can’t really know what another person is feeling and time doesn’t heal all wounds. You might tell the person that you are sorry that they are hurting so much. You can share your own memories of the deceased individual, using the name of the person who died when you share your thoughts. If you offer to be of assistance or to help in some way, be specific and concrete in your offer; for example, to take children to an event, to cook a meal, to drive with the person somewhere.

Are grief and depression the same?

Grief and depression are not the same thing, although there can be some overlaps. Grief is an adaptive response that provides the ability to adapt to a loss in our lives. It may be painful and difficult, but it is a healthy response and usually does not require treatment. Depression is a clinical condition that requires professional intervention due to the way it can affect functioning and thinking over a long period of time. Bereaved individuals who struggle with symptoms of depression may benefit from treatment, but symptoms that are strictly related to grief typically do not respond well to medication.