The best books on grief and loss

Who am I?

Allen Klein is a former hospice volunteer and the former director of The Life-Death Transitions Institute in San Francisco. He has also spoken at over 100 hospice events around the world. In addition, several of his books have dealt with death, dying, and grief. Among them are, The Healing Power of Humor, The Courage to Laugh, and Embracing Life after Loss. Klein’s interest in the connection between humor and death and dying came out of the death of his wife, who had a wonderful sense of humor. He saw how humor helped her, and those around her, cope with this challenging circumstance.


I wrote...

Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief

By Allen Klein,

Book cover of Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief

What is my book about?

After my wife died at a young age, I searched for grief books that would ease my pain. Most did not. Most told me about how I might be depressed, lose sleep or not be able to eat. That is not what I needed to hear. What I needed at the time was a book that would hold my hand, comfort me, and help me through the process. Finding none, I wrote my own.

Embracing Life After Loss does exactly that. With simple easy-to-read thoughts and inspiring quotations on which each page is built, it leads the reader through five steps from Loss to Laughter. As Stephen Kiernan, author of Last Rights, said about the book, “If life sometimes feels like a bucket full of small dark stones, Allen Klein’s insights are like bright pennies waiting to be found.”

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Courage to Grieve: The Classic Guide to Creative Living, Recovery, and Growth Through Grief

Allen Klein Why did I love this book?

Experiencing a loss may feel overwhelming. That is why you need to read this comforting book; it can ease that feeling. Written by a Gestalt therapist, this book feels like the author is in the room with you helping you deal with your sorrow, guilt, loneliness, resentment, confusion, and encouraging you to take part in life again after your loss.

By Judy Tatelbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Profound loss and disappointment are emotions that each of us will experience at some point in our lives. Loss is one of the most difficult experiences to come to terms with. The Courage to Grieve explores how we can deal with every kind of grief, revealing:

- How grief manifests itself in many ways, ranging from anguish, exhaustion, emptiness, resentment, longing, tension, confusion, sleeplessness and sometimes the temporary loss of the will to live.
- How we can help ourselves and others to cope with the immediate experience of death and the grief and mourning period that follows.
- How…


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

Allen Klein Why did I love this book?

Technically this is not really a “grief” book in that it doesn’t provide information on how to manage a loss. What it does provide, as the subtitle says, An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying. In other words, how to live life fully knowing that someday we will no longer be here.

By Stephen Levine, Ondrea Levine,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book that explains how to open to the immensity of living with death—and how participating fully in life is the perfect preparation for whatever may come next.

In Who Dies?, the Levines provide calm compassion rather than the frightening melodrama of death.


Book cover of Living When a Loved One Has Died

Allen Klein Why did I love this book?

This book explores what to expect during your mourning, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to work through feelings of loss. A well-written guide to ease suffering while moving through the many facets of grief.

By Earl A. Grollman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living When a Loved One Has Died as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Grief is a universal emotion, the pain of loss will affect all of us at some stage of our lives, but grief is also the most personal of emotions, you feel as though the pain will last forever and has never been felt by anyone else in this way.

This is a book that will support you, allow you to grieve in your own time and your own way while reassuring you of the normality of the process. Grief is something that people do not get over but are changed by for the rest of their lives.

Death only ends…


Book cover of Awakening from Grief: Finding the Way Back to Joy

Allen Klein Why did I love this book?

This meditation teacher shows those who have experienced a loss new ways to embrace the pain so that they can feel joy again. Written for all types of loss, Welshons shows readers how grief can provide a unique opportunity to live a fuller and richer life in spite of our losses.

By John E. Welshons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Awakening from Grief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this remarkable book, Welshons weaves together his own personal awakening with those of others he's counseled to bestow a deeply felt and exquisitely expressed primer on dealing with grief. We learn new ways to embrace our pain so that our hearts can open to feel joy. We discover how grieving gives us the unique opportunity to develop deeper and fuller life experiences. Written for people who have experienced any type of loss—whether through death, divorce, or disappointment—this compelling and memorable guide will take its place among the insightful works of grief management.


Book cover of On Death & Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy & Their Own Families

Allen Klein Why did I love this book?

Not exactly a guide on how to deal with grief but an important groundbreaking book dealing with death and dying. A classic in the field helping readers understand the five stages we go through in the dying process. A must-read to better understand life’s final days.

By Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked On Death & Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The five stages of grief, first formulated in this hugely influential work forty years ago, are now part of our common understanding of bereavement. The five stages were first identified by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her work with dying patients at the University of Chicago and were considered phases that all or most people went through, when faced with the prospect of their own death. They are now often accepted as a response to any major life change.

However, in spite of these terms being in general use, the subject of death is still surrounded…


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Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

Book cover of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

Alan Pearce Author Of Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a journalist, I'm driven to find stories that have not been covered before and to make clear the incomprehensible. I like people, and I like asking questions. I've covered wars and disasters, and on any given day, I could expect to see people at their very worst and at their very best. With my book about comas, I've met some of the finest people of my career, doctors, nurses, and other clinicians who are fighting the system, and coma survivors who are simply fighting to get through each and every day. This is the story I am now driven to tell.

Alan's book list on consciousness that demonstrates there is more to life than we know

What is my book about?

What happens when a person is placed into a medically-induced coma?

The brain might be flatlining, but the mind is far from inactive: experiencing alternate lives rich in every detail that spans decades, visiting realms of stunning and majestic beauty, or plummeting to the very depths of Hell while defying all medical and scientific understanding.

Everything you think you know about coma is wrong. Doctors call it 'sleeping' when in reality, many are trapped on a hamster wheel of brain-damaging, nightmarish events that scar those that survive for life. Others are left to question whether they touched levels of existence previously confined to fantasy or whether they teetered on the brink of this life and the next. Coma is not what you think.

Coma and Near-Death Experience: The Beautiful, Disturbing, and Dangerous World of the Unconscious

By Alan Pearce, Beverley Pearce,

What is this book about?

Explores the extraordinary states of expanded consciousness that arise during comas, both positive and negative

Every day around the world, thousands of people are placed in medically-induced comas. For some coma survivors, the experience is an utter blank. Others lay paralyzed, aware of everything around them but unable to move, speak, or even blink. Many experience alternate lives spanning decades, lives they grieve once awakened. Some encounter ultra-vivid nightmares, while others undergo a deep, spiritual oneness with the Universe or say they have glimpsed the Afterlife.

Examining the beautiful and disturbing experiences of those who have survived comas, Alan and…


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Interested in death, grief, and mourning?

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