Three Grief Books
This is a brief reference guide to three books I turn to as resources for bereaved clients, those supporting grieving loved ones, and those who are seeking to make peace with death. All are good resources for therapists.
So often, our society is not an accommodating place for grief and grievers. This can make for an incredibly isolated grief experience, magnifying the pain of losing a loved one. Each of these books offers its own kind of real, compassionate, sturdy companionship along the heartbreaking path of loss.
It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
by Megan Devine
The author is a therapist who tragically lost her partner in an accident. She pushes back against societal pressure to return to “normal,” instead showing the way to coexist with grief in a healthier way, validating the grief experience. Devine also provides helpful resources through her online community Refuge in Grief. This includes information on how to support those who grieve.
Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief
by Joanne Cacciatore, Ph.D.
The author is a counselor, researcher, bereavement educator, and Zen priest who experienced the traumatic loss of her child. The book is broken into 52 brief chapters, making the experience of processing this information more accessible and less overwhelming. An important part of this book details how symptoms of traumatic bereavement overlap with PTSD, helping with an understanding that intense symptoms are a normal response to a horrific event. Dr. Cacciatore established Selah Carefarm near Sedona, AZ as a place for people to be with their grief in nature and alongside rescued animals: a beautiful model of compassionate care.
Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death by Joan Halifax
The author is a Zen priest and anthropologist. This book offers the wisdom of the Buddhist approach to death to people of all backgrounds. It is a help for those caring for someone who is dying, facing their own death, or seeking to understand the dying process. This book supports an inner process of finding presence, self-compassion, and being able to in turn offer compassion to others who are suffering.