Books About Grief

A PSP member asks: "The memorial is next week. The social worker recommended I peruse the book store for books on grief. Does anyone have any books on grief to recommend?"


Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
"It really is written so beautifully and speaks so well to that feeling of bewilderment after you lose someone you love so dearly."
"It is a memoir of grief for a different situation (the loss of the author's husband), but she captures the senselessness of it all beautifully."

A Broken Heart Still Beats - After Your Child Dies by Mary Semel and Anne McCracken
"It's not a book that writes about grief, but instead a compilation of excerpts of literature and poetry by people who lost children or other loved ones (eg. Walt Whitman, Dostoyevsky, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, etc...) and also excerpts of fiction and poetry about grief and bereavement. The pieces are organized in chapters that deal with certain issues around grief like anger, siblings, holidays, and the legacy of grief which makes it easy to return to over time as my grief has changed over time.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
"Short and beautiful about the loss of his wife and quite spiritual, he was very Christian."

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner
"He is a Rabbi who lost his son to a rare disease [...] I felt happy to be able to be with my son during his illness and death - he was such a gift - so I never say that something bad happened to us, but he did suffer and it was rare, so it was helpful to think about those questions which are inevitable."

The Disappearance by Genevieve Jurgensen
"This is a hard one, so painful, so honest, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to everyone.  But I guess it helped me to know that people can survive the loss of their child.  She lost two daughters and then went on to have two more children. It speaks both to the fragility if life and the great strength that mothers are capable of."

Year Of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
"It's a novel about a woman in England in the 17th century when the Black Plague hits her town. Kind of off topic but I still think of the main character's strength."

Comfort by Ann Hood
"She lost her 5 year old to a virus. Even though her story was different than mine, it helped to read about her experiences and emotions."

Beyond Tears by Ellen Mitchell

Death of a Child: Reflections for Grieving Parents by Elaine Stillwell

Grieving Mindfully by Sameet Kumar
"The book focuses more on the loss of a relationship, not necessarily a child.  It, or a book like it, might be a good starting place for you at this time, depending on what you feel like you can handle."


Further Reading on Park Slope Parents

We also have a PSP Bereavement Group. This is a group to help members who are dealing with miscarriage, bereavement and loss related to pregnancy and birth. This group provides compassion & advice from others who understand what you're going through.

Organizations and Resources

All articles in the Miscarriage, Bereavement and Loss section