Processing grief is a difficult challenge after experiencing the loss of a loved one. Grief causes many emotions to surface and it can be hard to comprehend. However, reading about grief from other person’s view can be helpful, or even cathartic. There are many authors who have penned down some of the best books while grieving, that can offer comfort and help navigate through loss. Here are 7 best books for dealing with grief and loss.

The Year Of Magical Thinking by Jeanne Didion

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Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book1)

The Year of Magical Thinking is a memoir from an iconic writer, Joan Didion. In her classic grief memoir Joan Didion explores marriage and life, in both good times and bad. In 2003, some days before Christmas Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne’s daughter Quintana fell ill. At first it was flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock and then she was put into an induced coma and placed on life support.

The night before New Year’s Eve while their family was just sitting down for dinner after visiting the hospital, John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, the partnership of 40 years was over. In her memoir Joan Didion talks candidly about dealing with her grief while caring for her ill child. The story is about managing grief while life continues all around us. The Year of Magical Thinking is a stunningly powerful book filled with honesty and passion.

A Grief Observed by CS Lewis

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Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book 2)

A Grief Observed by C.S Lewis is a poignant tale that concerns the death of his wife, the poet Joy Davidman. Lewis wrote A Grief Observed as a means of surviving and keeping himself together. A Grief Observed talks about the mad midnight moments during Lewis’s mourning and loss. In these moments he questioned what he had previously believed about life and death, marriage, and even God. It is a remarkably honest reflection on emotions and the pain that comes from loss. Lewis explores his experiences in coping with this difficult period in his life and makes a new discovery of self that was once lost.

The Last Act Of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink 

Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book 3)

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink is a heartbreaking memoir about losing her brother.  In the summer of 1990 Cathy Rentzenbrink’s brother Matty was hit by a car on the way home from a night out. He suffered serious head injuries and was left in a permanent vegetative state (PVS). Over the following eight years, Cathy and her parents took care of Matty. They talked to him, fed him, bathed him, and loved him. However, there came a point at which it seemed that the best thing they could do for Matty and for themselves was to let him go.

In The Act of Love, Cathy describes the pain of losing her brother and the decision that changed her family’s lives forever. She explores the past and memories that were buried for many years. Through those memories Cathy reconnects with the bright, funny, adoring brother she lost and can see the end of his life as it really was – a last act of love. The Last Act of Love is an honest and emotionally raw memoir.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book 4)

When Breath Becomes Air is a medical memoir by Paul Kalanithi. Paul at the age of 36 was on the verge of completing his decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He went from treating the dying to being a patient struggling to live. When Breath Becomes Air narrates Kalanithi’s story from a medical student to a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain and to a patient and new father tackling his own mortality. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi talks about how to face mortality and try to understand what makes life worth living.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg et Adam Grant

Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book 5)

Option B is a book from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton’s top-rated professor Adam Grant. After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. However, her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. Option B is a combination of Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s research on finding strength in the face of adversity. The book begins with the moment when Sheryl finds her husband, Dave Goldberg has collapsed on a gym floor.

She describes the grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. Option B explores how a vast range of people have overcome hardships including illness, unemployment, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories show the capacity of the human spirit to persist and to rediscover joy. The book also shows how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces.

The Art Of Losing It by Rosemary Keevil

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Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book 6)

The Art of Losing It by Rosemary Keevil is a memoir of a struggling mother who finds her way from one side of grief and addiction to the other. When Keevil’s brother died of AIDS and her husband died of cancer in the same year, she was left on her own with two young daughters and addiction problems. The memoir centers on a young mother struggling from emergency to emergency and fighting with her addictions while trying to raise her two little girls who just lost their father. Finally, after a stay in rehab and sobriety her family finds tranquility that they desperately needed. The Art of Losing It by Rosemary Keevil is a heartrending but hopeful memoir.

It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine

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Best Books For Dealing With Grief And Loss (Book 7)

With It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine offers a new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we help others who have endured tragedy. Megan has experienced grief as both a therapist and a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her partner. In this book she gives deep insights about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She discredits the culturally advised goal of returning to a normal, happy life by telling readers to replace it with a healthier one that is to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it. In It’s OK that You’re Not Ok, Megan offers stories, research, life tips, and creative and mindfulness-based practices to guide readers through grief.

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