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.

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The books I picked & why

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Michele Neff Hernandez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Different After You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Life-Affirming Process That Provides Transformative Support

No one who lives and loves will be immune from grief and trauma. While this suffering is universal, living through a devastating event often leaves people feeling alone and even alienated. Michele Neff Hernandez experienced this when her thirty-nine-year-old husband died after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Her most transformative realization was that grief changes us. There is no going back or bucking up. Life is now different.

In Different after You, Michele presents easy-to-digest steps based on her work with thousands of widowed people and her innovative grief…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Susan Hannifin-Macnab,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A to Z Healing Toolbox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When grief and trauma come barreling into life, how does one restore, renew, and rebuild a new sense of self? What does one do after hopes, dreams, assumptions, and core beliefs have been shattered? Social worker and educator Susan Hannifin-MacNab tackled these difficult questions after her husband was killed suddenly, leaving her to pick up the pieces of her young family's life. She eventually realized that grief and trauma healing do not occur by waiting for time to pass. Action and intention are the pillars needed to lay a foundation for rebirth and build a powerful roadmap for healing mind,…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Nancy Saltzman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Radical Survivor" chronicles elementary school principal Nancy Saltzman's extraordinary saga as a two-time cancer survivor who lost her entire family in a small plane crash. Told with honesty, insight and laugh out loud flashes of humor, Radical Survivor traverses the full spectrum of human emotions. Several aspects of this book make it unique among memories. *The book is enriched by letters to the author interwoven with narrative throughout the book. Most of the notes were received after the death of her family, but some are mementos from her husband and entries from her son's journals. *The author has experienced an…

Book cover of Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms

Why did I love 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.

By John Polo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join Hope & Empowerment Coach, author and speaker, John Polo, as he takes you on a journey into the mind of a young widower in this unique and eclectic book. You will laugh. You will cry. You will question why. “This is the best grief book I have read. Ever.” – Phyllis “You sir have found your calling. OMG! You have no idea what your book has just done for me.” – Jennifer “This book made me cry so hard, and then laugh even harder. Have Kleenex ready and go pee before you start. Because you won’t want to put…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Nancy Sharp,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Both Sides Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past is simply part of our story; just not the whole story...On the very day that Nancy Sharp delivered premature twins, she learned that her husband's brain cancer returned after eighteen months in remission.  Less than three years later, at the age of 37, she became a widow. But while many in that situation would crumble, Nancy had an innate ability to hold life and death in the same moment. She learned to "see beyond the frame's edge."  In BOTH SIDES NOW: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living, Nancy shares her unforgettable journey - one that…

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