Books about grief and grieving

Understanding the grief journey is important. Walter Carter Funerals has brought together a range of book titles that may help with your journey.

Grief

Grief is a journey by Dr Kenneth J Doka

Grief is a journey

By Dr Kenneth J Doka

The vital bonds we form with those we love in life continue long after death – and in very different ways. This book overturns the prevailing, often judgemental, ideas about grief and replaces them with a hopeful, inclusive and personalised approach. It offers a variety of self-help strategies for coping with grief.

A grief observed by CS Lewis

A grief observed

By CS Lewis

This book comprises the reflections of the great scholar and Christian on the death of his wife after only a few short years of marriage. Painfully honest in its dissection of his thoughts and feelings, this is a book that details his paralysing grief, bewilderment and sense of loss in simple and moving prose.

Coping with grief by Mal and Dianne McKissock

Coping with grief

By Mal McKissock and Dianne McKissock

This is a go-to book on the grieving process. Suitable for both the bereaved and their support team, it explains what to expect emotionally, psychologically and practically from the first day through the first year, as well as outlining the physical and emotional reactions to grief and some of the long-term consequences of bereavement.

Grief and remembering by Allan Kellehear

Grief and remembering: 25 Australians tell it like it is

By Allan Kellehear

Do you ever wonder why you don’t seem to be “getting over” your grief? Do you ever get annoyed by people’s pop psychoanalysis of your loss? 25 everyday Australians reflect upon these questions and more, as they describe their own unique experiences of grief.

Life after death by Dr Philip Bachelor

Life after death – Understanding bereavement and working through grief

By Dr Philip Bachelor

This book is a collection of 24 personal stories exploring grief and bereavement. Mourners share their feelings on faith, funerals, commemorative responses and personal memorials after the death of a friend, child, spouse, sibling, parent or grandparent.

Motherless daughters by Hope Edelman

Motherless daughters: The legacy of loss

By Hope Edelman

Although a mother’s mortality is inevitable, no book had discussed the profound, lasting, and far-reaching effects of this loss until Motherless Daughters, which became an instant classic. Twenty years later, it’s still the book that women of all ages look to for comfort and understanding when their mothers die.

No time for goodbyes by Janice Harris Lord

No time for goodbyes: Coping with sorrow, anger and injustice after a tragic death

By Janice Harris Lord

Survivors grieving the tragic death of a loved one will find in this book to be full of deep understanding and insight, as well as detailed practical information on dealing with legal and financial issues. Eloquent comments from survivors are combined with the author’s many years of research and experience to make this an incredibly helpful resource.

Now that the funeral is over by Doris Zagdanski

Now that the funeral is over: Understanding the effect of grief

By Doris Zagdanski

There is no easy way around grief. It is a natural response to the loss of someone special or someone we value. Unfortunately, friends can often disappoint and add to the sense of loss when they don’t know what to say at this difficult time. Find out how to choose the right response to support your grieving friend.

The courage to grieve by Jady Tatelbaum

The courage to grieve: The classic guide to creative living, recovery and growth through grief

By Jady Tatelbaum

Each of us will face some loss, sorrow and disappointment in our lives, and this book 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 emphasises the response to the death of a loved one, it can help with every kind of loss and grief.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie

By Mitch Albom

Maybe it was a grandparent, a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise who understood you when you were young and searching. They helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way though it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly 20 years ago.

Who dies by Stephen Levine

Who dies? An investigation of conscious living and conscious dying

By Stephen Levine

This book shows the reader how to be open to the immensity of living with death, and participate fully in life in preparation for whatever may come next. The author writes with calm compassion, rather than the frightening melodrama of death.

Children’s grief

Badgers parting gifts by Susan Varley

Badgers parting gifts

By Susan Varley

After the unfortunate death of Badger, his animal friends reflect on their memories of him. Despite the obviously sad theme that runs through this children’s book there is an element of hope and happiness that comes from what the animals say about Badger. This book can help children understand the trauma of death in a sensitive and caring way.

I'll always love you by Hans Wilhelm

I’ll always love you

By Hans Wilhelm

Elfie, a dachshund, and her special boy progress happily through life together. When she is young, Elfie is full of pep and pranks. But as her master grows taller and taller, Elfie grows fatter and slower. One morning Elfie does not wake up. The boy refuses a new puppy. He is not yet ready for another pet; but when he is, he will tell that one, as he told Elsie every night: “I’ll always love you.”

LIfetimes by Bryan Mellonie and Robery Ingpen

Lifetimes: The beautiful way to explain death to children

By Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

When the death of a relative, a friend, or a pet happens or is about to happen how can we help a child to understand? This book is a moving book for children of all ages, even parents too. It lets us explain life and death in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between.

Talking about death by Earl A Grollman

Talking about death: A dialogue between parent and child

By Earl A Grollman

Why do people die? How do you explain the loss of a loved one to a child? This book is a compassionate guide for adults and children to read together, featuring a read-along story and answers to questions children ask about death.

Teenagers and grief by Doris Zagdanski

Teenagers and grief

By Doris Zagdanski

Death, loss and grief are openly discussed in this book for young people. It is a well-respected resource for teens and their parents, as well as medical professionals and school counsellors, and includes a chapter titled ‘Questions that adults ask’.

Water bugs and dragonflies by Doris Stickny

Water bugs and dragonflies: Explaining death to young children

By Doris Stickny

Waterbugs and Dragonflies is a graceful fable written by Doris Stickney, who sought a meaningful way to explain to neighborhood children the death of a five-year-old friend.

What's heaven by Maria Shriver

What’s heaven?

By Maria Shriver

According to Maria Shriver, the death of her famous grandmother – Rose Kennedy – and its effect on her daughters (then aged five and six), led her to write this book. It is a series of conversations between a girl named Kate and her mother about the death and funeral of Kate’s great-grandmother.

Death of a child

On children and death by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

On children and death

By Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Based on a decade of working with dying children, this compassionate book offers the families of deceased and dying children the help and hope they need to survive. In warm, simple language, the author speaks directly to the fears, doubts, anger, confusion and anguish of parents confronting the terminal illness or sudden death of a child.

Sadako and the thousand paper cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Sadako and the thousand paper cranes

By Eleanor Coerr

The star of her school’s running team, Sadako is lively and athletic … until the dizzy spells start. Then she must face the hardest race of her life – the race against time. Based on a true story, the book celebrates the courage that makes one young woman a heroine in Japan. The story speaks directly to young readers of the tragedy of Sadako’s death.

The forgotten mourners by Suan C Smith

The forgotten mourners: Guidelines for working with bereaved children

By Susan C Smith

Children have long been the “forgotten mourners”. This book raises awareness of the sensitive issues involved for bereaved children, highlighting their needs and their emotional and behavioural responses when a bereavement occurs.

When bad things happen to good people by Harold S Kushner

When bad things happen to good people

By Harold S Kushner

When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and that he would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this 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.

Bereavement theory

Grief counselling and grief theory by J William Worden

Grief counselling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner

By J William Worden

Grieving over death is an innate, vital process that most people are able to experience and emerge from in a healthy manner. In this book, the author offers counselling techniques, incorporating a refined basic model of mourning and added information on special types of mourning.

The anatomy of bereavement by Beverley Raphael

The anatomy of bereavement

By Beverley Raphael

Grief is a universal human experience, painful and inevitable. In this wise and compassionate book, a psychiatrist who has done extensive work and research with the bereaved shares her broad experience, revealing how people cope with, understand, and eventually adapt to many different bereavements in the course of human life.