Books about Grief, Loss, Illness, and Hope

for Adults

  1. Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul: Stories about Life, Death and Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One by Jack Canfield

Published by Health Communications, Inc., 2003

ISBN: 1558749020

This collection of inspirational stories will undoubtedly touch many hearts. Written by authors who have lost loved ones, these stories offer comfort, peace and understanding to those going through the grieving process.  Individual people deal with grief in their own ways and within their own time, but the guidance and supportthey receive from others is what helps them through it. One of the key messages of Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul is that togetherness and sharing are the keys to moving on. In these stories people share their experiences with coping and they share deep memories. Each one has found that putting thoughts and feelings into words is not only cathartic, it allows them to reconnect with their loved one and others. Words of encouragement are plentiful in this edition and they go straight to the heart. Chapters encompass the complete grieving experience and include: Final Gifts, the Power of Support, Coping and Healing, Those We Will Miss, Special Moments, Insights and Lessons, and Living Again.  Readers will be comforted and inspired by the stories of regaining strength and hope, such as holding meaningful services, performing thoughtful deeds and cherishing special memories. Most important, just as the writers have come to appreciate life through the grieving process, readers will discover how to do the same. This soothing bowl of stories is the perfect gift to bring comfort, strength and courage.

  1. Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan , Patricia Kelley

Published by Random House Publishing Group, 1992

ISBN: 0553378767

In this moving and compassionate book, hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years experience tending the terminally ill. Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts—of wisdom, faith, and love—that the dying leave for the living to share. Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, Final Gifts shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end.

  1. Finding Your Way after Your Spouse Dies by Marta Felber

Published by Avenue Records, 2000

ISBN: 0877939322

If you have suffered the death of your spouse, you have experienced one of the most painful and disorienting experiences life can offer. In the days immediately following the loss, you may need everything from advice on finances to a home-cooked meal. But there is nothing you need more than the warm, reassuring voice of one who has traveled this path before and survived.  In Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies, Marta Felber offers just such a voice--caring, hopeful, always pointing ahead to a tomorrow that will be a little easier than today. Having experienced her own spouse's death, Felber is never glib or simplistic. She knows the grief her readers are feeling, and she encourages them to give it full expression. At the same time, she offers sound, practical suggestions on how to navigate difficult days.

  1. Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge , Robert C. De Vries

Published by Baker Publishing Group, 1998

ISBN: 080105821X

This sensitive and biblically oriented book offers a roadmap for bereaved spouses on the journey through grief to resolution.

  1. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry Sittser

Published by Zondervan

ISBN: 0310258952

An expanded edition of this classic book on grief and loss---with a new preface and epilogueLoss came suddenly for Jerry Sittser. In an instant, a tragic car accident claimed three generations of his family: his mother, his wife, and his young daughter. While most of us will not experience such a catastrophic loss in our lifetime, all of us will taste it. And we can, if we choose, know as well the grace that transforms it.A Grace Disguised plumbs the depths of sorrow, whether due to illness, divorce, or the loss of someone we love. The circumstances are not important; what we do with those circumstances is. In coming to the end of ourselves, we can come to the beginning of a new life---one marked by spiritual depth, joy, compassion, and a deeper appreciation of simple blessings.

  1. Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

Published by Harper Collins Publishers, 2011

ISBN: 0060652381

Written with love, humility, and faith, this brief but poignant volume was first published in 1961 and concerns the death of C. S. Lewis's wife, the American-born poet Joy Davidman. In her introduction to this new edition, Madeleine L'Engle writes: "I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul's growth." Written in longhand in notebooks that Lewis found in his home, A Grief Observed probes the "mad midnight moments" of Lewis's mourning and loss, moments in which he questioned what he had previously believed about life and death, marriage, and even God. Indecision and self-pity assailed Lewis. "We are under the harrow and can't escape," he writes. "I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace." Writing A Grief Observed as "a defense against total collapse, a safety valve," he came to recognize that "bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love." Lewis writes his statement of faith with precision, humor, and grace. Yet neither is Lewis reluctant to confess his continuing doubts and his awareness of his own human frailty. This is precisely the quality which suggests that A Grief Observed may become "among the great devotional books of our age."

  1. How to Go on Living when Someone You Love Dies by Therese A. Rando

Published by Random House Publishing, 1991

ISBN: 0553352695

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.  Now, 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.  Whether the death was sudden of expected, from accident, illness, suicide, homicide, or natural causes,  Dr.  Rando will help you learn to:  Understand and resolve your  grief; Talk to children about  death; Resolve unfinished business; Take  care of yourself; Accept the help  and support of others; Get through  holidays and other difficult times of the  year; Plan funerals and personal  bereavement rituals.  There is no way around the  pain of loss, but there is a way through it. Dr.  Rando offers the solace, comfort, and guidance to  help you accept your loss and move into your new  life without forgetting your treasured  past.

  1. 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

Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.

ISBN: 1402212216

This updated edition of the best-selling bereavement classic will touch, comfort, uplift and console. Authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. explore sudden death and offers a comforting hand to hold for those who are grieving the sudden death of a loved one.  I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye covers such difficult topics as the first few weeks, suicide, death of a child, children and grief, funerals and rituals, physical effects, homicide and depression. New material covers the unique circumstances of loss, men and women's grieving styles, religion and faith, myths and misunderstandings, I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye reflects the shifting face of grief. These pages have offered solace to over eighty thousand people, ranging from seniors to teenagers and from the newly bereaved to those who lost a loved one years ago. Individuals engulfed by the immediate aftermath will find a special chapter covering the first few weeks. Tapping their personal histories and drawing on numerous interviews, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D, explore unexpected death and its role in the cycle of life. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye provides survivors with a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.

  1. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch , Jeffrey Zaslow

Published by Hyperion, 1998

ISBN: 1401323251

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."  —Randy Pausch

A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?  When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"—wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

  1. Living When a Loved One Has Died by Earl A. Grollman

Published by Beacon, 1997

ISBN: 0807027197

When someone you love dies, Earl Grollman writes, "there is no way to predict how you will feel. The reactions of grief are not like recipes, with given ingredients, and certain results. . . . Grief is universal. At the same time it is extremely personal. Heal in your own way."  If someone you know is grieving, Living When a Loved One Has Died can help. Earl Grollman 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.

  1. Living When a Young Friend Commits Suicide by Earl A. Grollman

Published by Beacon, 2010

ISBN: 0807095540

In the last thirty years, the suicide rate among young people has tripled. In this book addressed to the young survivors of this epidemic, Earl A. Grollman, the internationally known lecturer, writer, and grief counselor, and Max Malikow, a psychotherapist and pastoral counselor, offer solace and guidance to adolescents who are confronted with someone of their own age who is contemplating or has committed suicide.

  1. The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke

Published by Penguin Group, 2001

ISBN 1594487987

From one of America's foremost young literary voices, a transcendent portrait of the unbearable anguish of grief and the enduring power of familial love.   What does it mean to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief? After her mother died of cancer at the age of fifty-five, Meghan O'Rourke found that nothing had prepared her for the intensity of her sorrow. In the first anguished days, she began to create a record of her interior life as a mourner, trying to capture the paradox of grief-its monumental agony and microscopic intimacies-an endeavor that ultimately bloomed into a profound look at how caring for her mother during her illness changed and strengthened their bond.  O'Rourke's story is one of a life gone off the rails, of how watching her mother's illness-and separating from her husband-left her fundamentally altered. But it is also one of resilience, as she observes her family persevere even in the face of immeasurable loss.  With lyricism and unswerving candor, The Long Goodbye conveys the fleeting moments of joy that make up a life, and the way memory can lead us out of the jagged darkness of loss. Effortlessly blending research and reflection, the personal and the universal, it is not only an exceptional memoir, but a necessary one.

  1. Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst

Published by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, 1998

ISBN: 0684844958

In Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst turns her considerable talents to a serious and far-reaching subject: how we grow and change through the losses that are an inevitable and necessary part of life. She argues persuasively that through the loss of our mothers' protection, the loss of the impossible expectations we bring to relationships, the loss of our younger selves, and the loss of our loved ones through separation and death, we gain deeper perspective, true maturity, and fuller wisdom about life. She has written a book that is both life affirming and life changing.

  1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom 

Published by Crown Publishing Group, 2002

ISBN: 076790592X

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher. Someone older who understood you when you were young and searching, who helped you see the world as a more profound place, and gave you advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.  Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of your mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?  Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college.  Tuesdays With Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift to the world.

  1. Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matt Logelin

Published by Grand Central Publishing, 2011

ISBN: 0446564303

Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008.  Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward— to make a life for Maddy.   In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. In honoring Liz's legacy, heartache has become solace.

  1. When Will I Stop Hurting?: Dealing with a Recent Death by June Cerza Kolf

Published by Baker Publishing Group, 2002

ISBN: 080106385X

You've lost someone you loved, and now the pain seems unendurable. June Cerza Kolf understands. She, too, has suffered the wound of grief, and as a veteran of hospice work, has counseled many mourning people. In this gentle, empathic book, Kolf leads you through the stages of grief, helping you understand what to expect as time goes on and making you mindful of potential pitfalls such as feeling anger or guilt, dealing with holidays, and experiencing physical distress. No matter what the loss has been, it takes time and heart-wrenching work for the wound to heal. Kolf takes you by the hand and helps you do this painful—yet vital—work. She offers practical and therapeutic ways of dealing with depression and easing pain and gives creative ideas for expressing your love and remembrance. The grief exercises provided in this book are an outlet for working through your pain on your own or in a small-group setting. Most of all, as When Will I Stop Hurting? guides you through the rough terrain of grieving, it will also point you to God, the one true source of healing.