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Books to support the grieving process

07 August 2020

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”

Mortimer J. Adler

Books are an endless source of entertainment, information and comfort. They can transport us to another a time and place. They can support us with knowledge and guidance. They can connect us with loved ones through the sharing of a good story. They are the gift that keeps on giving.

On National Book Lovers Day, we asked the team at the Centre for Care & Wellbeing to provide some of their top book recommendations to read when grieving.

The centre has a brilliant library of books available to support people in their time of grief. But they also encourage people to read as a way to cope and to manage their grief. Drifting away into a good book for an hour or two can be a wonderful way to bring back a sense of calm and focus your thoughts for a time.

So here are our top 5 suggested readings for dealing with grief and bereavement:


Alan Wolfelt – Library of Grief related books

The first suggestion for anyone visiting the Centre for Care & Wellbeing and in need of support in grief would be the books of Dr Alan Wolfelt. There is a wide selection of his books available at the centre.

Dr. Alan Wolfelt is one of North America’s leading grief and bereavement educators, authors and grief counsellors. He shares compassionate messages about healing in grief, based on his own personal losses as well as his professional experience supporting people of all ages over the last three decades.

“Mourning in our culture isn’t always easy. Normal thoughts and feelings connected to loss are typically seen as unnecessary and even shameful. Instead of encouraging mourners to express themselves, our culture’s unstated rules would have them avoid their hurt and ‘be strong.’ But grief is not a disease. Instead, it’s the normal, healthy process of embracing the mystery of the death of someone loved. If mourners see themselves as active participants in their healing, they will experience a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in life.” - Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Dying to Know: Bringing Death to Life – by Andrew Anastasios

This book aims to cut through the taboos and discusses death as part of the circle of life. Covering subjects such as: planning a personalised funeral; ways to help people who are terminally ill; making an emotional will; organ donation; creating online memorials; opening the conversation with children; things to do before you die; and, other topics.

This is a practical guide for ways to discuss death and mourning with loved ones.

If you’d like to know more about discussing and planning with loved ones, visit our Plan section of the website.



Coping with Grief - by Mal & Dianne McKissock

This new edition of the bestselling classic offers sensitive and practical advice on how to deal with the grieving process, from coping with the funeral to managing anniversaries and special dates. Suitable for both the bereaved and their support team, it explains what to expect emotionally, psychologically and practically from the first day through the first year, as well as outlining the physical and emotional reactions to grief, why men and women react differently, how children deal with grief and some of the long-term consequences of bereavement.


Stuck for Words - What to Say to Someone Who Is Grieving - by Doris Zagdanski

Doris Zagdanski talks to grieving people almost every day, and invariably they bring up the subject of what someone said that puzzled or upset them.

Here, Doris enlists the help of grieving people to tell you what they need from you. She has adapted communication skills and counselling techniques to enable us to speak confidently with a grieving friend, relative, colleague, or client.

After Life, After You – by S.K. Reid

After Life After You explores love, loss, and the eventual awakening of new life after loss. This book is written with the bereaved partner in mind, yet is also an invaluable resource for friends, family and support workers who wish to have greater understanding about the anguish, heartache and life challenges facing the ones left behind.


For additional support with grieving, make sure to take a look at our resources and services at the Centre for Care & Wellbeing. While we do not profess to ease the grieving process, we are here for each and every person at a time when they need us most.