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.”

The books I picked & why

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

By Judy Tatelbaum,

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

Why 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.


Who Dies? An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying

By Stephen Levine, Ondrea Levine,

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

Why 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.


Living When a Loved One Has Died

By Earl A. Grollman,

Book cover of Living When a Loved One Has Died

Why 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.


Awakening from Grief: Finding the Way Back to Joy

By John E. Welshons,

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

Why 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.


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

By Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

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

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in death, mourning, and grief?

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

Death Explore 178 books about death
Mourning Explore 73 books about mourning
Grief Explore 53 books about grief

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Something Very Sad Happened: A Toddler's Guide to Understanding Death, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, and The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving After Grief and Loss if you like this list.