top of page

Books about Grief and Loss

  • Grief Works: Stories of life, death and surviving, by Julia Samuel

Psychologist Julia Samuel tells the stories of those who have experienced great grief and survived. Sections cover death of a parent, partner, sibling, child and facing your own death. Her insights reveal how when grief is approached in the right way, healing can follow.

  • Thinking Out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad, by Rio Ferdinand

When Rio Ferdinand spoke out about his grief following the death of his wife from cancer in 2015, it helped open up a national debate about grieving and encouraged other men to talk about their feelings of loss. In this book shares openly and honestly the hard journey he's been on along with his three children, and the support and advice that's getting them through.

"I didn't even know how to work the washing-machine. All i knew was that my kids needed me, and if I was going to help them, I was going to have to ask for help too... I was about to find out that the tools I had learned as a footballer were the last thing my children needed from their dad when tragedy struck."

  • The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

This is another grief 'classic', and for a reason. The night before New Year's Eve, Joan Didion and her husband and partner of 40 years were just sitting down to dinner when John suffered a massive and fatal coronary. 

"The Year of Magical Thinking is Didion's attempt to make sense of the weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness... about marriage and about children and memory... about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself."

  • An Introduction to Coping with Grief, by Sue Morris

A self-help book which includes questions and exercises to help manage your grief and track your progress. It outlines strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which are clinically proven and can help you cope with grief and bereavement.

  • It's OK that you're not OK; Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand, by Megan Devine.

In this book. Megan Devine argues that we need to move away from the idea that grief can be solved or cured and that we need to learn how to build a life alongside grief instead. She writes from the perspective of a therapist as well as someone who lost her partner in a tragic accident. 

  • Sisters and Brothers: Stories about the death of a sibling, by Julie Bentley and Simon Anthony Blake.

Sometimes those who have lost a sibling can feel like forgotten mourners. This book is a collection of short contributions discussing sibling loss. It tells the very individual story of 12 people's individual experience of bereavement when facing the death of an adult sibling. 

  • Grief Demystified: An introduction, by Caroline Lloyd.

A book written for those who support bereaved people, which will also be useful to anyone who wants to go into a bit more detail about theories of grief and grieving, and learn how grief 'works'. Chapters cover grieving styles, the interaction of grief and mental health, what to say to bereaved people and how to support them.

  • A Plain Guide to Grief, by John Wilson

This book tells you what to expect in the days, weeks, months and years after someone dies. It's written in plain, simple language. It includes chapters on grieving during the pandemic and covers losses other than someone dying (loss of a pet, a job or a relationship). It can also help you decide whether or not you need counselling.

  • Grief is the thing with feathers, by Max Porter

This book is part fiction, part poetry and part difficult to define. It tells the story of a grieving family who are visited by a crow who threatens to stay until he is no longer needed.

"Moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project."

Poetry Corner


Is a river you wade in until you get to the other side.

But I am here, stuck in the middle, water parting

around my ankles, moving downstream

over the flat rocks. I'm not able to lift a foot,

move on. Instead, I'm going to stay here

in the shallows with my sorrow, nurture it

like a cranky baby, rock it in my arms.

I don't want it to grow up, go to school, get married.

It's mine. Yes, the October sunlight wraps me

in its yellow shawl, and the air is sweet

as a golden Tokay. On the other side,

there are apples, grapes, walnuts,

and the rocks are warm from the sun.

But I'm going to stand here,

growing colder, until every inch

of my skin is numb. I can't cross over.

Then you really will be gone.

- Barbara Crooker

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it

and everything you’ve held dear

crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

thickening the air, heavy as water

more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you down like your own flesh

only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face

between your palms, a plain face,

no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you

I will love you, again.

- Ellen Bass

The Torment
Sorrow swallowed me into the cruel black sea,
The icy cold water washed over me,
Memories spin around in my mind,
Causing dark lucid dreams of every kind.
Grief and misery played their part,
Leaving behind a broken heart

The Healing
Slowly the water ebbed away,
The blackness mellowed to a shade of grey,
Time as the healer showed the way,
Helping me to cope day by day,
Fear subsiding, confidence reigns,
Ready to face the world again

The Future
The waters now are calm and clear,
My life again is full of cheer,
Smiles return and with them light,
The grey is replaced by colours so bright,
Though life was cruel, when it took you away,
I look to the future as a brand new day.

- Bridgid Patrick

Miss Me But Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little-but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me-but let me go

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.

- Christina Georgina Rossetti

dandelion logo _edited.png
bottom of page