The best books about death and dying, grief, and loss

Julie Saeger Nierenberg Author Of Daddy, This Is It: Being-with My Dying Dad
By Julie Saeger Nierenberg

Who am I?

Since 2012, when I was fortunate to be a companion to my dying father, I have gained a deep appreciation for the topics of death, dying, grief and bereavement. Being with him during his final moments was a vitally transformative event in my life, and subsequent developments led me to become a writer and curator of content in this field. I am now an end-of-life educator and preparedness facilitator, whose role it is to assist others to prepare for their inevitable, eventual death. Being prepared, by making informed choices and documenting them, can be one of the greatest gifts we give to our loved ones. I coach my End-of-Life Matters clients to do just that.


I wrote...

Daddy, This Is It: Being-with My Dying Dad

By Julie Saeger Nierenberg,

Book cover of Daddy, This Is It: Being-with My Dying Dad

What is my book about?

My father lived an inspiring End of Life, a journey of courage, sorrow, wonder and assurances of Eternal Love. And before he passed, he encouraged me to share the story of his transition with you. With courage and amazing grace, he lovingly prepared our family for his passing. As our time together came to an end, I was grateful to be present.

Although death is an inevitable part of life, how we choose to be-with the dying and the bereaved is up to us. I encourage you to prepare and to embrace the possibility of a lovingly supported transition and, to that end, I include some resources that may help you. Being ready to be-with is a wonderful way to live.

The books I picked & why

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Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life

By Victoria Brewster, Julie Saeger Nierenberg,

Book cover of Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life

Why this book?

This book is an anthology of over 50 perspectives on death and dying, grief, and bereavement shared by professionals who work in supporting the dying and bereaved and by those who have lived their own unique experiences of loss. It is a comprehensive cross-section of this topic and one which can be a valuable resource to anyone going through their own such experience or those who are preparing to support others in grief.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

By Atul Gawande,

Book cover of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Why this book?

Gawande takes a compelling look at the medical profession, making the case that quality of life can take precedence over merely extending life by any medical means or invasive procedures that are available. He shares examples of ways our society can more responsibly care for its elderly, preserving dignity and a good life until death.

Leaning Into Love: A Spiritual Journey Through Grief

By Elaine Mansfield,

Book cover of Leaning Into Love: A Spiritual Journey Through Grief

Why this book?

Mansfield’s poignant story of her beloved husband’s journey through cancer and his eventual death is a heartfelt telling of the intimate story of how she becomes a widow and how she meets that event with courage and spiritual exploration. She rises from the ashes of her grief and soars like a phoenix to give back to others, a brilliantly told tale.

With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

By Kathryn Mannix,

Book cover of With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

Why this book?

Dr. Mannix studied and practiced in palliative care for over thirty years. In her book she shares insightful stories, highlighting the value of approaching death with an open, clear understanding. She makes the case for forethought and preparation to meet death gently. Each unique story nudges the reader toward a greater appreciation for the depths of meaning of each special life.

Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth

By Jane Duncan Rogers,

Book cover of Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth

Why this book?

Rogers has an unexpected message to share. It’s possible to be grateful amidst a loved one’s death. In her case, it was the loss of her husband, and the story is told through blog posts he composed during his final year of life along with her own journal entries. By seeing her way through her own depths of grief, Rogers points the way for readers to seek and find their own gifts embedded in the grief of loss.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in grief, quality of life, and death?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about grief, quality of life, and death.

Grief Explore 53 books about grief
Quality Of Life Explore 11 books about quality of life
Death Explore 178 books about death

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Letters to the Lost, Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, and I Miss You: Grief and Mental Health Books for Kids if you like this list.