The best books for embracing life’s challenges

Rachel Blythe Kodanaz Author Of Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time: What to Do with Your and a Loved One's Personal Possessions
By Rachel Blythe Kodanaz

Who am I?

Rachel is a heart-minded professional specializing in current and relevant approaches in support of individuals and workplaces following a loss or trauma. She is a best-selling author, seasoned keynote speaker, and business consultant. She began her career serving in management of Fortune 500 companies, overcoming her own adversity following the sudden death of her husband while raising a 2-year-old. She was immediately confronted with the see-saw created when personal and professional trajectories collide, giving her the opportunity to provide invaluable insights about loss. Her books include best-selling Living with Loss One Day at a Time, Finding Peace, and Grief in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide for Being Prepared.


I wrote...

Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time: What to Do with Your and a Loved One's Personal Possessions

By Rachel Blythe Kodanaz,

Book cover of Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time: What to Do with Your and a Loved One's Personal Possessions

What is my book about?

Personal possessions tell a beautiful story of a person’s life regardless of age. But when we find that we have accumulated too much or a loved one passes, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with all of these belongings. Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time provides tools for how to thin, repurpose, and redistribute these possessions in a way that can capture and cherish our memories and those of our loved ones so they continue to be with us today and for future generations.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Different After You: Rediscovering Yourself and Healing After Grief and Trauma

By Michele Neff Hernandez,

Book cover of Different After You: Rediscovering Yourself and Healing After Grief and Trauma

Why this book?

This is an inspiring book of hope after loss. Michele provides readers with current and relevant ideas on how to integrate the love of your past with the pain of the present to find joy in the future.  She shares her personal journey with great vulnerability, emphasizing the self-doubt that occurs while navigating the endless decisions that arise following the loss of a partner. As you read Michele's candid personal stories you will find her words relatable, sharing tears with her as well as great laughter. It is uplifting, practical, and written in a very caring way. 


A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief and Trauma with Intention

By Susan Hannifin-Macnab,

Book cover of A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief and Trauma with Intention

Why this book?

The book is a great collection of healing methods, with practical application ideas. Each of the healing techniques described has been used by the author and others who share how it worked for them. I encourage anyone needing help to find a way through their grief journey to use this book.


Radical Survivor: One Woman's Path Through Life, Love, and Uncharted Tragedy

By Nancy Saltzman,

Book cover of Radical Survivor: One Woman's Path Through Life, Love, and Uncharted Tragedy

Why this book?

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has suffered multiple losses of loved ones, whether it be a spouse, family member, or friend. Nancy Saltzman's story will enter into your soul and give you the strength of a woman who lost her husband and two children in a plane crash. She shares her story of love, loss, and rebuilding of a future as a radical survivor of cancer and loss of her family. Her spirit and desire to live life to the fullest are prominent in her story.


Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms

By John Polo,

Book cover of Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms

Why this book?

Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms is a great read for widows and widowers, but really anyone that had a loss or knows of someone that has. It's excellently written, easy to read, and thoroughly engaging but mostly will make your heart smile. A beautifully told, heartbreaking love story, but mostly it will leave you with optimism and lingering warmth. It gives one hope that brighter days are ahead and love survives, even in death.


Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living

By Nancy Sharp,

Book cover of Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living

Why this book?

This poignant memoir is beautifully written in short, powerful chapters that mirror the shock and heartache of caring for and losing a beloved spouse while showing the resilience of the human spirit. I like that it is written in such short, easy-to-digest chapters, since it is so difficult for most bereaved to focus attention and concentrate, especially early on. At the same time, Nancy manages to convey, with clarity and honesty, all the personal details of her journey through grief and what she learned along the way.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death, grief, and widows?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about death, grief, and widows.

Death Explore 203 books about death
Grief Explore 55 books about grief
Widows Explore 43 books about widows

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Overstory, Anxious People, and The Island of Sea Women if you like this list.