While offering condolences to a grieving friend often entails a heartfelt note, a simple hug or a cheerful bouquet of flowers, you may occasionally find yourself wanting to do more to show your support and care. Books to help through the grieving process are often a practical and helpful way to help a friend get through the grieving process, which can often be difficult to understand and experience for both the mourner and those around them.
Fortunately, many books have been written on the subject. Both self-help books as well as novels centered around grief and grieving can provide welcome insight and comfort to those mourning the loss of a loved one. Here are six great titles to consider gifting to a friend who has lost a loved one:
Grieving, a Beginner’s Guide, by Jerusha Hull McCormack
McCormack’s guide to grieving is both relatable and practical, as it leads mourners through the various phases of grief and what they may experience and the many different methods of coping with those experiences and emotions. The author herself lost her husband when her children were young, so her voice is one of first-hand experience, which is often a comfort in itself.
A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis
Originally published under a pseudonym, C.S. Lewis–yes the C.S. Lewis who wrote The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe–wrote A Grief Observed while he was dealing with the death of his wife back in 1960. The volume encompasses Lewis’ reflections on loss and faith and the process of trying to find get through the loneliness of pain and maintain or regain faith.
Healing After Loss, by Martha W. Hickman
Though it’s an older book, the daily meditations in Healing After Loss are a timeless resource for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. The book is packed with single-page passages that will help readers explore and reconcile their feelings, emotions and experiences in a manageable and gentle way.
It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay by Megan Devine
The seeming goal of Devine’s It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay, is to validate the experience of mourners as natural, rather than medicalizing the process and attempting to cure it. In the book, readers will find various stories of grief as well as practical tips and advice for coping without hiding or stuffing emotions.
More Beautiful Than Before, by Steve Leder
Though not exclusively about grief, Steve Leder’s More Beautiful Than Before has a goal of guiding readers through the process of triumphing over suffering, including the suffering that results from the loss of a loved one. Leder is actually a rabbi that drew from his personal experiences helping people through times of hardship and back into healthy, productive and content lives to create this helpful, practical and touching book.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers, by Max Porter
In Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers, the protagonist is a man who suddenly lost his wife and is struggling with his own grief as well as that of his two sons. The metaphorical antagonist is a bird that represents grief and its various stages, who follows the trio as they mourn, face their emotions and move forward with their lives. It’s a story full of understanding and hope, likely to offer a bit of catharsis to readers in mourning.