The best books on creating a higher, broader perspective on loss and grief

Who am I?

I have been working with grieving individuals for over 30 years. Early in my career, I realized that my purpose in life was to help people who were grieving the loss of a loved one. I wrote my first book about grief over 25 years ago. It has been my mission to help people find light in the darkness. One way to do this is to have a broader perspective, to realize that there is more going on than we can see or understand. When you have a higher, broader perspective on your grief, you’re able to make meaning out of loss and find beauty in the brokenness.  


I wrote...

Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make It Meaningful

By Ashley Davis Bush,

Book cover of Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make It Meaningful

What is my book about?

Death doesn’t end a relationship, it simply forges a new type of relationship—one based not on physical presence but on memory, spirit, and love.

There are many wonderful books available that address acute grief and how to cope with it. But they often focus on crisis management and imply that there is an "end" to mourning, and fail to acknowledge grief’s ongoing impact and how it changes through the years. This book looks at grief over time and shows readers how to navigate the powerful grief journey, including ways to make meaning, to celebrate love, to stay connected to their loved ones, and to transcend to a level of healing.

The books I picked & why

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Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Why this book?

I first read this book while in graduate school in the late 1980s. I have read it many times since as a reminder about a broader perspective on life and tragedy. This book is about psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's experience in the Nazi death camps. Frankl was in four different camps, including Auschwitz, between 1942 and 1945. He survived but his parents, brother, and pregnant wife were all killed. In spite of horrific conditions and monumental losses, Frankl writes about the ability to choose one’s response to tragedy, find meaning in it, and furthermore, how to live with purpose. This book is surprisingly uplifting and spiritually inspiring.


I'm Still With You: Communicate, Heal & Evolve With Your Loved One on the Other Side

By Sherrie Dillard,

Book cover of I'm Still With You: Communicate, Heal & Evolve With Your Loved One on the Other Side

Why this book?

This book leaves you feeling close to your loved ones on ‘the other side of the veil,’ as if they are but a breath away.

Sherrie Dillard is a psychic medium with an amazing ability to connect with people who have died. Her stories show how love is stronger than death and that an entire world is going on that we’re unaware of. She describes how important it is to know that our loved ones still communicate with us. She also has exercises and meditations to help you continue with your own soul’s journey.


Hamnet

By Maggie O'Farrell,

Book cover of Hamnet

Why this book?

This book helps you understand how universal and timeless the experience of grief is for all of humanity.

It takes place in England during the 1580s, during the Black Plague. The novel follows the life of a Latin tutor (who happens to be William Shakespeare.). We watch as he falls in love with an eccentric young woman and builds a life with her in spite of family enmeshments and dysfunctions. When one of their children eventually succumbs to the plague, the experience of parental bereavement is hauntingly powerful and universally true.


Many Lives, Many Masters

By Brian L. Weiss,

Book cover of Many Lives, Many Masters

Why this book?

I encountered this book decades ago and it totally changed how I envisioned past lives and soul contracts.

Psychiatrist Brain Weiss was skeptical when one of his patients began remembering past-life traumas. However, the memories seemed to relate to her present-day nightmares and panic attacks. She began to channel messages from another realm, including messages for him, and he began to believe in the reality of past lives. This book provides compelling evidence that past-lives are very real.


Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying

By Stephen Levine, Ondrea Levine,

Book cover of Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying

Why this book?

I read this book again and again when I want to remember that death is not something to be terrified of. In fact, when I read this book, death feels more like a natural process that can be welcomed. I feel a kind of calmness towards the whole human race as we all seek to live, knowing that we will eventually die. To truly understand death, you also have to understand life.


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