10 Grief Support Books for Your Funeral Home Library

Because every person grieves differently, it’s important for funeral professionals to offer a variety of grief support resources to help individuals through the most difficult times in their lives. In addition to aftercare activities such as hosting grief support groups, sponsoring holiday memorial services and helping families recognize milestones after a loved one’s death, providing a library of grief support books can be valuable to your client families and others in your community.

As you build or refresh your firm’s grief support library, be sure to consider that different people will find different types of books meaningful. Some individuals benefit from books based in spirituality or specific religious beliefs. Others may prefer memoirs about grief and loss because they can discover common ground in the authors’ experiences. Some may find value in practical guides to living life after loss, or resources that address specific circumstances such as the death of a parent. It is also helpful to include a selection of books to help parents talk to young children about the death of a loved one. Below is a list of highly rated books to consider for your funeral home’s library.

General Grief Support Books

There are many grief support books that provide assistance for individuals who are experiencing different types of grief. These books are a great starting point for those who have lost a loved one and are looking for general insights about the grieving process.

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss

Renowned psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is best known for her theory on the five stages of grief, which she developed through her work with terminally ill individuals. She went on to publish her findings in her book On Death and Dying and wrote and contributed to many other publications on the topics of coping with the reality of one’s own death or the deaths of loved ones. She co-authored On Grief and Grieving, which she hoped would “become a beacon by shedding light, hope and comfort on the most difficult time we will all experience in our lives.”

Learn more about On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief

After funeral services, families are faced with learning to adopt a “new normal.” Martha Whitmore Hickman’s Healing After Loss provides a thought-provoking quote and reflection passage for every day of the year. The book has been praised for its format, which gives readers a new entry to look forward to every day.

Learn more about Healing After Loss by Martha Whitmore Hickman

Living with Loss: One Day at a Time

Bestselling author and lecturer Rachel Blythe Kodanaz became a widow at age 31, and her experiences with grief helped her touch the lives of others who are grieving through her book, Living with Loss. The book takes a day-by-day approach to learning to live without a loved one and has been recognized as a resource that “can help make the journey a bit more bearable and perhaps even more meaningful.”

Learn more about Living with Loss by Rachel Blythe Kodanaz

Good Grief

For more than 50 years, Westberg’s Good Grief has offered comfort for families who have lost a loved one. The book explores the role of religious faith in grief and covers many different emotions that individuals may experience, such as depression, guilt and anger.

Learn more about Good Grief by Granger E. Westberg

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss

Tear Soup is a resource that can provide support for both children and adults who have lost a loved one. The illustrated book sheds light on the process of grieving through the story of a woman who is creating a “tear soup” with various ingredients that contribute to her experience.

Learn more about Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert, Chuck DeKlyen (Authors) and Taylor Bills (Illustrator)

Books About Specific Grief Topics

It can be particularly helpful to share resources for a person that are related to a specific type of loss, for example, there are many excellent books that can help people navigate their grief after the loss of a parent, or for certain situations, such as an unexpected death.

I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

A loved one’s death is difficult for any family, and a sudden, unexpected death can bring a unique set of challenges. Through advice and personal stories, the book provides support for many different types of experiences. One reviewer wrote that I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye “is both practical and instructive, taking a developmental approach to grief with the understanding that one doesn’t simply ‘get over it,’ but deals at various stages down the road.”

Learn more about I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye by Brook Noel and Pamela Blair, PhD

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

While attending graduate school, writer Hope Edelman began an essay about the grief she experienced after the death of her mother. This piece became the foundation of Motherless Daughters, her book chronicling the stories of women who had lost their mothers. The book has been praised as “a moving and valuable treatment of a neglected subject.”

Learn more about Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies

In the Healing Your Grieving Heart series, widely recognized author, educator and grief counselor Dr. Alan Wolfelt addresses specific losses, such as the death of a child, sibling or, in the case of Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart, a husband or wife. In the book, Wolfelt affirms that although there is no such thing as “getting over” grief, “if you mourn well, over time and with the support of others, your grief will soften.”

Learn more about Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD

Grief Books for Children

When someone close to a child dies, their parents or other caregives are faced with difficult questions about how to help the child understand the situation and process the many feelings that come with it. These resources can help provide guidance in a way that's easy for children to understand.

I Miss You: A First Look at Death

“Every day someone is born… and every day someone dies. Death is a natural part of life. All living things grow, change and eventually die.” Throughout I Miss You, author Pat Thomas explains the meaning of death in simple-to-understand terms. With a suggested age range of four to eight years, this illustrated book is intended to help parents and caregivers talk to children about dying.

Learn more about I Miss You by Pat Thomas (Author) and Leslie Harker (Illustrator)

The Invisible String

The Invisible String is a resource to help children work through the emotions they may experience as a result of separation from loved ones. Through the story of siblings Jeremy and Liza, it gently explains the lasting connections that people form with those they love, despite separation through distance or even death.

Learn more about The Invisible String by Patrice Karst (Author) and Geoff Stevenson (Illustrator)

On your funeral home website’s grief support resources page, include a frequently updated list of the books that are available in your firm’s library. By letting families know about resources they can borrow, and by sharing that you’re available to help locate additional materials, you’ll demonstrate that you’re willing to support your community long after funeral services.

What other books and resources have you felt were particularly valuable for the families in your community or for helping you with your own grief experiences? Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below.

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