Support After Loss



Featured Book: 
Inspired by contemporary grief research and ancient mindfulness techniques.
Five Star Reader Reviews at Amazon. Available in Kindle or Paperback.
A valuable voice in holistic grief healing. 
Author's web site: mindfullnessandgrief.com


1. Akner, Lois F., C.S.W., How to Survive the Loss of a Parent: A Guide for Adults, New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993.

Based on a grief therapy group for coping with the death of a parent. Filled with real life stories of sadness and hope. The author shows how it is possible to work through grief and gives practical advice on coping with conflicted emotions about our deceased loved ones.

2.  Barfield, Dana. My Friend Just Lost Her Husband. TBG Publishing, LLC, 2010.  

Edited Product Description:

The loss of her husband has been described as the most difficult thing a woman ever encounters because what was once a source of security, has disappeared into a sense of profound uncertainty. My Friend Just Lost Her Husband provides the tools necessary to rebuild the sense of sustained security that women intrinsically seek. Written as the result of Dana Barfield's years of experience in providing financial advice and management for widows and divorcees, it combines these first-hand shared and observed experiences, with extensive interviews from other women who have rebuilt their lives after the loss of their mate.

My Friend Just Lost Her Husband is unique because it the first financial book to consider topics, though seemingly unrelated to finance, that forcefully impact financial decision making: Changes to her thinking as a result of the loss; how her grieving affects her decision making; who is a trustworthy friend; how and why that friend must help at this time; criteria for obtaining the right financial advice; how and why women find themselves involved in a financial or relational horror story; and dealing with taxes, health insurance and investments.

In clear and simple language, Barfield describes the need for a benevolent friend and guide who has only the well-being of the surviving spouse and family in mind. The author has the moral investment experience to offer solid guidance, encouragement and wise support. He understands the emotional shock and crisis of the sudden death of a spouse, with insight into the issues of vulnerability. Barfield offers safeguards that protect the new widow from the greedy, clever and persuasive offers of help from persons intent on diverting assets from the spouse [and family] into their own accounts through deception.


3. Bell, Dawn M. Wife of the Deceased: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Learning to Live Again. Self-published, 2014. Kindle or paperback.

From Amazon.com: Ms. Bell's goal in writing Wife of the Deceased is to help anyone in a similar situation by sharing her account of the stages of grief; the extreme rage she felt, the seemingly insane thoughts that went through her head on a day-to-day basis, and the physical assault her body suffered. Ms. Bell's aim is to attest to and validate what grievers are feeling and perhaps ease a fraction of the pain and anguish they are living with every day. 

Honest and hopeful. Gets 5-star reader reciews at Amazon.  Author's web site: http://dawnmbell.com


4. Bennett, Stephen. (New Author) From Grief to Growth: Coming to terms with the death of a loved one AND getting the most out of your life. 2016. Available on Amazon Kindle only. 

Stephen Bennet's beloved wife Belinda died in 1997 after a five year battle with cancer. This is the heartfelt story of his journey from grief to growth. 

Product description:  I know you are hurting. It’s only natural. The good news is that it’s not the end – believe me. Death ends a life - not a relationship. What you now have is a spiritual relationship instead of a physical one. From Grief to Growth will help you to come to terms with the loss of your loved-one and go on to achieve the best life possible for yourself.

5. Cento, W. F. (Bill). Alone / For All Those Who Grieve. Tasora Books, September 2011. Hardcover and paperback.

From the Itasca Books web site:

Alone / For All Those Who Grieve is a collection of poems and prose about coping with the strain of caregiving, and grief and healing after [the author’s] dementia-stricken wife’s long goodbye. It is written to help those who suffer a grievous loss to work through their grief and discover a road to redemption.

“W. F. (Bill) Cento didn’t set out to write a book for people who are grieving, but Alone is not only a wonderful tribute to his wife, Vera Ann, it is a heart-wrenching and spirit-lifting account of his days as spouse and caregiver.”–The Catholic Spirit (by Pat Norby)

Mr. Cento is a retired reporter and editor. He lives in St. Paul, MN—alone.

6. Commins, Patricia. Remembering Mother, Finding Myself: A Journey of Love and Self-Acceptance. South Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc. 1999.

Abbreviated from the back cover: At any age, a mother's death may leave a daughter with feelings of anger, abandonment and profound sadness that taint the way she views herself, her world and every relationship around her.

This book offers a unique path to healing by giving you the opportunity to understand your mother as a woman. Through stories, advice and exercises, you'll gain insight into why negative and positive issues repeat themselves in your life, how much you are like your mother, and why you are decidedly different.

By understanding your mother as a woman who came before you, in the context of her friends, family and the cultural archetypes of her generation, you will be better able to love, understand and accept yourself.

The chapter entitled 'The Traumatic Relationship' is especially helpful if you have complex, negative or conflicted feelings about your mother, living or deceased.

7. D'Arcy, Paula. Gift of the Red Bird: The Story of a Divine Encounter. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1996.

I am not the only one who has experienced soulful redbirds.
When the author lost her husband and baby in a car crash, she began a search for faith that was greater than fear. Grief, as she shows us, is an ongoing process.

Eclectic in its approach to spirituality, Gift of the Red Bird is a profound story of loss and spiritual renewal through the power of nature. The reflection guide at the end of the book is useful for individual meditation or group discussion.

8. Fitzgerald, Helen. The Mourning Handbook. New York:
Simon and Schuster, A Fireside Book, 1994.

From the Publishers:

No one should be left to grieve alone.

Even with the help of friends and family, grieving the death of a loved one can be a complex, sometimes overwhelming, process. The Mourning Handbook is written as a companion to those mourners in need of practical and emotional assistance during the trying times before and after the death of a loved one.

Having counseled thousands of people who have experienced loss, Helen Fitzgerald gives special attention to the complex emotions that can accompany especially traumatic situations, such as when a loved one has been murdered, when there have been multiple deaths, when a body has not been recovered, or when the mourner has been the inadvertent cause of death.

Designed to conform to the special needs of the bereaved, The Mourning Handbook is written and organized in an accessible style punctuated by real stories of people who have experienced every kind of loss. With many subchapters and cross references, it can be consulted for a specific problem or read at length.

About the Author:

Helen Fitzgerald is the author of The Grieving Child: A Parent's Guide. She is the coordinator of the first grief program in the nation established in a community mental health center (The Mt. Vernon Center for Community Mental Health in Springfield, Virginia). A certified death educator, Fitzgerald devoted herself to the field after the death of her husband left her a widow with four children. She lectures across the country on the subject. The success of her program has led to the creation of similar programs nationally. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

9. Hershner, Kevin. Doubly Blessed: An Inspirational Memoir. Booklocker.com, Inc., 2015. 172 pages. 

Product description: Doubly Blessed is an inspirational, true story about the author's life as a younger man and how he dealt with his first wife's death from cancer at the young age of 26. It conveys the message that no matter how bleak the situation, if you look hard enough and long enough, you can usually find a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a story of hope.

Author bio: Kevin Hershner lives in Ohio with his wife Melissa and his daughters Hannah and Haylee. Twenty years after losing his first wife to cancer, Kevin was compelled to tell the story about his loss, his struggle to move on, and his eventual, newfound happiness with the hope that it can provide inspiration to others.

Author web site: DoublyBlessed.net


10. Hickman, Martha Whitmore. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief. New York: Perennial Press, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.

Quiet strength and gentle comfort. The author's teenage daughter died in a horseback riding accident. Eclectic in its approach, the author offers honest and compassionate words for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.

Healing After Loss makes a thoughtful gift for a grieving friend or loved one. At $10.00 a copy, it is affordable for most. This is the book I turned to every day during the first year after my mother's death.

11. Kaiser Stearns, Ann. Living Through Personal Crisis. Idyll Arbor, Second Edition, 2010.

Originally published in 1985, this book was out-of-print for a while, but was updated and published again in 2010. The compassionate advice is timeless.

Written in a clear and jargon-free style by a psychologist, this book is for anyone who is hurting because of loss and for friends and family who want to help those who struggle with loss. New chapters include acts of terrorism and the battlefield.

Dr. Stearns writes: "All of us have the rights and responsibilities to take our losses seriously. Grief and pain, when ignored, can do us in, harming us in a dozen ways. Unresolved pain keeps us from being complete. Facing our losses is how we find our freedom again."

12. Kennedy, Alexandra. Losing a Parent: Passage to a New Way of Living, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

For those who prefer a nontraditional approach to spirituality, this book is a gentle shaman's journey through grief and healing. Written in the new age genre, it is rich with ideas for personal grief rituals and healing the spirit. Do not buy this book if you are searching for a mainstream approach to grief and loss.

13. Levy, Alexander. The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change After the Death of Our Parents. DeCapo Press, 2000.

From the Library Journal:

The death of one's parents is "the ultimate equal-opportunity" experience; becoming an orphan as an adult happens to nearly everybody. Yet despite the flood of self-help books on death and the grieving process, very little has been written on parental loss [until recently]. Incorporating his own personal experience with the accounts of others who have lost their parents, psychologist Levy examines this profound life-changing event with compassion and understanding. Since our parents "project an illusion of permanence," writes Levy, their deaths force us to confront our own mortality and to adjust to our new identities as orphaned adults.

My own note: Mr. Levy's work gets good reader reviews for the most part. I believe the few poor ratings arise out of not understanding the book's target audience because this book focuses on the deaths of elderly parents and the grief of middle-aged adults.

14. Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed. HarperOne. 2001. Originally published in England, 1961, after the death of his wife from bone cancer.

From an Amazon review: Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis joined the human race when his wife, Joy Gresham, died of cancer. Lewis, the Oxford don whose Christian apologetics make it seem like he's got an answer for everything, experienced crushing doubt for the first time after his wife's tragic death.

A Grief Observed contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period: "Nothing will shake a man--or at any rate a man like me--out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself," Lewis writes.

This is the book that inspired the film Shadowlands, but it is more wrenching, more revelatory, and more real than the movie. It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings. Review written by Michael Joseph Gross

In my opinion, this is a description of grief at its most raw, most profound--and most healing. I believe it is one of the most honest accounts of grief ever written.

The added bonus is that Lewis was a gifted writer. To be fair, some people find his writing stiff and of another time, but for me, the words soar with eloquence.

15. Redfield-Jamison, Kay. Nothing Was the Same: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.

CJ's Review:

I have read Nothing Was the Same by Kay Redfield Jamison and I am disappointed. She calls it a memoir, and it is, because most of the book is a testament to the loving relationship she had with her husband Richard Wyatt. I believe the book is healing for her personally, but I'm not sure how helpful it is for other grievers because she devotes most of the book to their life together and his final battle with cancer.

The strengths of the book are her honesty and writing ability. She is an eloquent writer with a subtle sense of humor. The chapter titled "Mourning and Melancholia" is helpful because the author clearly describes the differences between depression and grief. For example, Dr. Jamison writes that grief does not alienate us from others while depression does: "The rituals of grief defend against alienation. Depression by its nature alienates." She points out that isolation is healing during grief, but it is dangerous in depression. She includes some beautiful Tennyson grief poetry in this chapter that comforted me.

Because I thought that this was primarily a grief book, the weaknesses of it, for me, are focusing on the life she shared with her husband and how her bipolar illness affected their relationship. There is precious little space given to the life she created for herself after his death. I was hoping for a book that concentrated on life after loss.

If you want an honest, well written story about the power of love, or one that chronicles a loved one's final illness and death, this is the book for you. I believe you will be disappointed if you are searching for a book that focuses on grief healing after the death of your spouse.

I also found myself thinking how uncommon her experiences were because she lives in a rarefied academic world that few of us encounter. When I buy a book about grief, I try to focus on the author's similarities with my own journey. I had trouble relating to a lot of Dr. Jamison's story because her life is so unlike my own.

Please remember that my review is but one woman's opinion. Nothing Was the Same may turn out to be the best grief book you have ever read because we all grieve differently. You need ask only one question: Does this book comfort or help you? When it comes to grief, comfort and support mean something. Whatever works, works. Unfortunately, Dr. Jamison's book didn't work for me. I have included it on this page because of the chapter that describes the differences between grief and depression.


16. Van Praagh, James. Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss. New York: New American Library, 2000.

James Van Praagh is a well-known medium and author of the best-selling book Talking to Heaven. Here he shares spiritual messages from deceased loved ones, who shed new light on grief and loss. The stories, along with his personal experiences of grief, help us view loss as part of our soul's evolving spiritual journey--one that will move us beyond the devastating sorrow of grief to a life of renewed purpose.

Besides the death of loved ones, the author looks at all types of loss, including divorce, aging, losing a home or job, catastrophic illness, prenatal death, pet loss and mental illness. There is a question and answer section and a chapter on how to heal after any loss with practical advice, activities and meditations. The writing is heartfelt, wise and compassionate.

I have one criticism of Mr. Van Praagh's writing: He can be too in love with his own abilities at times and is very much a celebrity name-dropper. Still, his writing comforts me and isn't that the greatest gift I can receive from anyone who writes about grief? 

17. Wolfelt, Alan D. Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas. Fort Collins, CO:
Companion Press, 2001.

A companion book to the one listed in the helping section
by the same author. Wolfelt is a grief counselor and writes that when someone you love dies, you must express your grief outside of yourself if you are to heal. In other words, you must mourn. Over time, and with the support of others, to mourn is to heal.

You can turn to any page and take a small step today towards healing with simple ideas such as keeping a journal, allowing for numbness, eating comfort food (within reason), writing a letter to your deceased loved one, and understanding the six needs of grievers.

The author suggests practical ways to outwardly express your grief (mourn) through compassionate advice and simple activities. Concludes with a Mourner's Code which is ten principles of being compassionate with yourself after loss.

Also by Alan Wolfelt:

Healing A Child's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers.
Companion Press, 2001.

Product Description:

A compassionate resource for friends, parents, relatives, teachers, volunteers, and caregivers, this series offers suggestions to help the grieving cope with the loss of a loved one. Often people do not know what to say, or what not to say, to someone they know who is mourning; this series teaches that the most important thing a person can do is listen, have compassion, be there for support, and do something helpful.

Healing a Friend's Grieving Heart provides the fundamental principles of companioning a friend, from committing to contact the friend regularly to being mindful of the anniversary of the death. Healing a Child's Grieving Heart and Healing a Teen's Grieving Heart addresses what to expect from different ages of grieving young people, and how to provide safe outlets for children and teens to express emotion. Included in each book are tested, sensitive ideas for actions that people can take right this minute-while still remaining supportive and honoring the mourner's loss. 

Healing A Spouse's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies.
Companion Press, 2003.

From the Publisher:

Helping widows and widowers learn how to cope with the grief of losing their helpmate, their lover, and perhaps their financial provider, this guide shows them how to find continued meaning in life when doing so seems difficult. Bereaved spouses will find advice on when and how to dispose of their mate's belongings, dealing with their children, and redefining their role with friends and family. Suggestions are provided for elderly mourners, young widows and widowers, unmarried lovers and same-sex partners. The information and comfort offered apply to individuals whose spouse died recently or long ago.

18. Worden, J. William. Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Professional. Springer Publishing, 4th Edition, 2008.

Why would I place a grief counseling book here? Below is an Amazon reader review from the third edition that explains it:

"My mother passed away suddenly this past January. I was going through so many emotions I thought I was going crazy, so someone suggested I get grief counseling, but I'm not the group counseling type. Then someone suggested I get a book and I came across this one and it helped me to understand that everything I was going through was normal. It is amazing how everything in that book pertained to me and exactly how I was feeling. I still have a ways to go but the craziness of it all has subsided and I can better deal with things."

So, in a sense, the woman grieving the death of her mother gave herself grief counseling. If you are also not the group counseling type, maybe the book will help you better understand your thoughts and feelings right now. I do know that it has a good reputation in the grief counseling field.

In the fourth edition, Dr. Worden presents his most recent thinking on bereavement drawn from extensive research, clinical work, and the best of the new literature. Besides addressing a number of new topics, the book includes the best vignettes from the first three editions to bring bereavement issues to life for students, practitioners and anyone else interested in the topic. The book is well-written and easily read.

19. Wray, T.J., Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.

Based on the experience of the author and many others, Wray helps readers realize that they are not alone in their unique struggle over the death of an adult brother or sister. She offers practical advise for each stage of the grieving process. The book includes: a search for meaning in your sibling's death; use of a grief journal to record your journey; choosing a grief partner to help you through tough times; and how to deal with the insensitive remarks made by others. The book is warm, personal, and a rich resource of insights and coping strategies.

For more support: Grief Healing Discussion Group: Loss of a Sibling or Twin

You can also find much information at Grief Healing.com:
Death of a Sibling or Twin.


Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and Remembrance by Kathy Eldon. Chronicle Books, 2007, 128 pages.

Product Description: Over the past decade, this classic work has helped thousands find meaningful ways to overcome the despair of losing a loved one. Now, Angel Catcher has been revised and updated to convey its powerful message of hope to a new audience. Featuring brand new illustrations and a fresh updated look, the tasteful pages of this journal guide the user through the process of mourning and onward to a lasting sense of peace in the face of loss. Written after the author's son was murdered, it also makes a thoughtful gift for a grieving friend.


Go to next page: Holiday Grief Support

The Grieving Heart is getting a new home...
Grief has no timetable, but the launch of a new website does: August 1, 2019.                                                                     
The updated design will be easy to use, secure and mobile-friendly.
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A Word About E-mail: One way to decrease SPAM caused by Internet bots is to deactivate the live address link. You can still contact me by typing this address into your own e-mail program using @, a period, and no spaces, the standard e-mail format. Thank you.

Note to Visitors:
I read and respond to grief email at the end of each month when I update this site. If you need a more timely response, please visit a well moderated grief healing discussion group. It is free to use and requires registration to participate. I am not part of this group, but certified grief counselors are there to help, support and comfort grievers and those who love them. Because the counselors lost funding for the site, they are grateful for voluntary donations.
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How complicated and individual mending is,
the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
Mary Jane Moffat
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