The best books to read when grieving

The Books I Picked & Why

The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving After Grief and Loss

By Shawn Doyle

The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving After Grief and Loss

Why this book?

This book is the first one I read after losing my husband. I was 31-years old, with a toddler and a newborn, and I had no idea how I was going to survive the rest of my life, better yet make it a life worth living. In The Sun Still Rises: Surviving and Thriving After Grief and Loss, author Shawn Doyle shares his story of loss, but more than that he shares hope with his reader. Hope that there is still light in the darkness of grief. At that point in my loss, hope was what I needed most. However, he didn't stop there, he also provided practical tips and suggestions about dealing with both the logistical matters that come with loss, as well as providing emotional support. This book helped me live my best life, in spite of my loss.


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Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief

By Martha W. Hickman

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief

Why this book?

When I became a widow, I wanted to find books that would help me work through my grief, but it was so hard for me to find the energy to pick up even a small book. The physical and emotional effort required to read sometimes seemed like too much. I was in a bookstore when a stranger saw me looking at the depressingly small shelf dedicated to grief and grieving, and recommended Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief. When she handed me this book and I saw that it had short daily meditations, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. While a full-sized book was too much, this book filled with quotes and short daily meditations was exactly what I was looking for. The author's insight, provided daily in a few small paragraphs, gave me the support I needed without overwhelming me.


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Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss

By Claire Bidwell Smith

Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss

Why this book?

With the loss of my husband and then the loss of my daughter, I found myself carrying around a lot of fear and anxiety. While it seemed like my losses were related to my emotional turmoil, I didn't know what to do with it. That was until I stumbled upon Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss. I wish someone had given me this book right when my husband died, but even reading it years later verified to me that my grief and anxiety were related. However, it did much more than that. This book shares stories of loss while using prompts that really helped me focus on reducing my anxiety and letting go of my fear. I live a much healthier, less stressful life now, thanks to this book. I hope it can help you the same way.


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Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

By Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Why this book?

When someone you love dies, your future plans go out the window. Yet you still have to figure out how to live your life and move forward carrying your grief. The entire concept of living your Option B really resonated with me because I truly believe if we reach for it, we can always find another way to move forward into a happy future, even while we carry our grief. One thing that I enjoyed about this book was the statistics that were provided about loss. Having a very scientific-focused mind, I appreciated being able to connect something like grief, which in many ways is abstract, into facts. These statistics intermingled with the author's story provide a unique experience and left me pondering my own option B.


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It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too)

By Nora McInerny Purmort

It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too)

Why this book?

Did you know that it's ok to laugh when you are grieving? Did you know it's ok to cry when you are grieving? I didn't. I thought I had to be strong. I thought I had to behave properly and seriously or else people would assume I didn't really love the people I had lost. Guess what? That's complete nonsense.  With grief, your emotions are all over the place, often at the same time, and that's ok. It's Okay to Laugh: (Crying Is Cool Too) is an amazing book that really helps you recognize that your emotions are not mutually exclusive. In sharing (and laughing) about her own experiences, the author really helped me give myself permission to feel my feelings. To feel happy and sad, sometimes at the same time, and to know that whatever I feel in my grief, it's ok. This book often left me laughing out loud and really helped show me how healing laughing can be, even in grief.


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