The best books on coping with grief and loss through suicide

Who am I?

At age 13, the unthinkable happened and my father took his own life. Barely into adolescence, this trauma shaped the rest of my life. It created a deep compassion within me for the suffering of others and an understanding of the impact death can have. It ended everything and in learning to live, learning to laugh and smile, and dare to be happy again, I found my passion to help others rise to the surface in adult years. For anyone having to face the trauma of suicide, I am deeply sorry, and I know that there are no words that will alleviate the pain, but if you are looking for some comfort (when you are ready for it) I hope these books will help. 


I wrote...

Surviving Suicide: A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind

By Amanda J. Evans,

Book cover of Surviving Suicide: A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind

What is my book about?

Surviving Suicide: A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind tells the story of a family and how they have coped with suicide.

Inside you will find the writings of the author, her sister, and her mother as they all share their story of how suicide has affected them. This book is aimed at promoting suicide awareness and helping others get through what is an extremely difficult time, filled with questions that can never be answered.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

Amanda J. Evans Why did I love this book?

This fiction story touched my heart and while it isn’t about suicide, it is about grief and loss from a sudden death and tells the story of two young boys and their father and the crow that refuses to leave until they no longer need him. This book had moments of raw emotion as well as unexpected humour that I found a tonic. It’s sad and funny and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It is a story that stayed with me for a long time. 

By Max Porter,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Grief Is the Thing with Feathers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 NOVEL OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Winner of the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize and the Sunday Times/Peter, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother's sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow - antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family…


Book cover of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

Amanda J. Evans Why did I love this book?

I went through a stage of reading books on grief from experts and this is one that stood out for me because it looks at the sixth stage of grief which is meaning. In this book, the author discusses his own grief with the tragic and sudden loss of his son. I found it to be very sensitively written and practical and it helped me to understand grief in a different way and let me know that what I’d experienced was okay. I found his words very comforting.

By David Kessler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A brilliant, caring, practical guide to help us understand grief' Daniel J Siegel, M.D.

'Finding Meaning is Kessler's poignant response to society's insensitivity, [a] how-to in the very best sense' LA Times

David Kessler - the world's foremost expert on grief and the coauthor with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross of the iconic On Grief and Grieving - journeys beyond the classic five stages to discover a sixth stage: meaning.

David has spent decades teaching about end of life, trauma and grief. And yet his life was upended by the sudden death of his twenty-one-year-old son. How does the grief expert handle such…


Book cover of The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss

Amanda J. Evans Why did I love this book?

For me, this book gave me an insight into loss as an adult and more perspective into how my mother must have felt on having to live life as a single parent and the loneliness she must have felt. This book is a deeply emotional and personal account of this man’s grief, but it really resonated with me and gave me a lot of understanding.

By Richard Coles,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Madness of Grief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Immensely moving and disarmingly witty' Nigella Lawson
'Such a moving, tough, funny, raw, honest read' Matt Haig
'Beautifully written, moving and gut-wrenching, but also at times very funny' Ian Rankin
'Captures brilliantly, beautifully, bravely the comedy as well as the tragedy of bereavement' The Times
'Will strike a chord with anyone who has grieved' Independent

Whether it is pastoral care for the bereaved, discussions about the afterlife, or being called out to perform the last rites, death is part of the Reverend Richard Coles's life and work. But when his partner the Reverend David Coles died,…


Book cover of Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving

Amanda J. Evans Why did I love this book?

This book is a collection of stories that offers clear advice for anyone seeking comfort after loss. It talks about building new habits that can help you as you try to rebuild your life and contains personal stories of loss told with great compassion and sensitivity and I learned something from each and every one of them. I guess it helped me to not feel so alone and realise that there were others going through the same thing.

By Julia Samuel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Grief Works as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*** Sunday Times Bestseller ***

'Fascinating. A wise and compassionate book full of insight and understanding that would help anyone experiencing grief, or those surrounding them' Cathy Rentzenbrink

'A wonderfully important and transforming book - lucid, consoling and wise' William Boyd

____________________________________________________________________

Grief Works is a compassionate guide that will inform and engage anyone who is grieving, from the 'expected' death of a parent to the sudden unexpected death of a small child, and provide clear advice for those seeking to comfort the bereaved.

Julia Samuel guides you gently through her eight practical pillars of strength - that include the…


Book cover of No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

Amanda J. Evans Why did I love this book?

This book although released back in 1999 it is still relevant today. The author speaks openly and honestly about the different emotions including guilt and loneliness which really resonated with me. The book is full of stories of pain and heartache that I could relate to as well as courage and inspiration. This book is honest and felt like a group therapy session that I didn’t want to leave at times. This book doesn’t hide the brutality of suicide, the stigma, the tragedy, and most of all the suffering and pain of those left behind. 

By Carla Fine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time to Say Goodbye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. Even incest is now discussed freely in popular media, but the suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about--or even admit to their closest family or friends. This is just one of the many painful and paralyzing truths author Carla Fine discovered when her husband, a successful young physician, took his own life in December 1989. And being unable to speak openly and honestly about the cause of her pain made it all the more difficult for her to survive.

With No Time to…


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Book cover of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

Marianne C. Bohr Author Of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

New book alert!

Who am I?

I married my high school sweetheart and travel partner, and followed my own advice to do graduate work, and started my career working for the French National Railroad in New York City, mapping itineraries for travelers to Europe. Travel means the world to me and if I don’t have a trip on the horizon, I feel aimless and untethered. I worked in book publishing for 30 years and dropped out of the corporate rat race to take a gap year abroad. I wrote about our “Senior year abroad” in my first book Gap Year Girl. I returned to the US to teach middle school French and organize student trips to France. 

Marianne's book list on by women about outdoor adventure

What is my book about?

Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica — the GR20, Europe’s toughest long-distance footpath — to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.

From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an “I’ll show them” attitude. But hiking GR20 forces her to transform a lifetime of hard-won achievements into acceptance of her body and its limitations.

The difficult journey across a remote island provides the crucible for exploring what it means to be an aging woman in a youth-focused culture, a physically fit person whose limitations are getting the best of her, and the partner of a husband who is growing old with her. More than a hiking tale, this is a moving story infused with humor about hiking, aging, accepting life’s finite journey, and the intimacy of a long-term marriage—set against the breathtaking beauty of Corsica’s rugged countryside.

By Marianne C. Bohr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twenty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great for fans of: Suzanne Roberts's Almost Somewhere, Juliana Buhring's This Road I Ride.


Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica-the GR20, Europe's toughest long-distance footpath-to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.


From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an "I'll show them" attitude. But hiking The Twenty forces her to…


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