Here are some grief books that we have found to be most helpful.
Drawing upon extensive interviews and assessments of school-age children who have lost a parent to death, this book offers a richly textured portrait of the mourning process in children. The volume presents major findings from the Harvard Child Bereavement Study and places them in the context of previous research, providing insights on both the wide range of normal variation in children’s experience of grief and the factors that put bereaved children at risk. The book also compares parentally bereaved children with those who have suffered loss of a sibling to death, or of a parent through divorce, exploring similarities and differences in these experiences of loss. A concluding section explores the clinical implications of the findings and includes a review of intervention models and activities, as well as a screening instrument designed to help identify high-risk bereaved children.
Renowned author and educator Alan Wolfelt redefines the role of the grief counselor in this guide for caregivers. His new model for “companioning” the bereaved gives a viable alternative to the limitations of the medical establishment, encouraging counselors and other caregivers to aspire to a more compassionate philosophy. This approach argues that grief need no longer be defined, diagnosed, and treated as an illness but rather should be an acknowledgement of an event that forever changes a person’s worldview. Through careful listening and observation, the caregiver learns to support mourners and help them help themselves heal.
Grief is a universal human response to the loss of a loved one, not a psychopathological condition; nonetheless, mental health professionals are often called upon to help families in grief. Accessibly written, Grief as a Family Process draws on many sources, such as developmental psychology, psychoanalytic and family systems theory, and cultural anthropology. It extends and integrates these approaches into a systemic developmental model that emphasizes the ways grief can enhance the emotional growth of the family system. The model presented here views grief as a natural process through which a therapist can help families live, and even grow. Using examples from a wide variety of cultural traditions, this book argues for a transformation of attachment to, instead of detachment from, the deceased family member to sustain and enhance family development.
The book focuses in turn on the bereaved adult, child, and family, bringing sociocultural perspectives on bereavement to bear on the discussion. After an overview of the systemic developmental approach, the individual grief of adults and children is viewed in systemic developmental context. The treatment course of a 36-year-old woman following the death of her husband clearly illustrates how a grieving individual can create a new sense of self through transformations in her or his inner relationship with the deceased. Chapters on bereavement in childhood emphasize the important role of grieving parents in determining the range of possibilities available to grieving children, who even more than adults need an enduring image of their dead family member in order to proceed with their still unfolding development.
The book then looks at grieving families and their shared development, using ideas from family systems theory and family development to demonstrate how shared strategies for stability are a necessary part of family adjustment to the death of a family member. Clinical vignettes illustrate family responses to grief, traditionally interpreted as pathological, reframed in a normal developmental context, including special situations such as the death of a child. Chapters on cultural and social factors in bereavement supply a cross-cultural perspective, examining how cultural beliefs can be both resources and barriers in providing support for grieving families. The final chapter outlines the approach to assessment and treatment that is implicit throughout the clinical examples in the book. The result is a clinically useful volume that also provides a new perspective on the process and outcome of grieving.
The systemic developmental model offered in this book allows practitioners from different disciplines to support grieving families as they create new sources of relational stability that will enhance ongoing development. Abundant in clinical detail, the book is indispensable to any helping professional who works with grieving families, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists, physicians and nurses who work with dying patients and their families, hospice and patient home-care workers, clergy, and many others. The book also serves as a text in courses on bereavement, family development, family and child therapy, and child developmental psychopathology.
Guiding Your Child Through Grief, by the founders of the New England Center for Loss & Transition and The Cove, a highly praised program for grieving children, takes away the uncertainty and helpless feelings we commonly feel as we reach out to children who mourn. This caring and compassionate guide offers expert advice during difficult days to help a child grieve the death of a parent or sibling. Based on their experience as counselors–and as parents of grieving children–the authors help readers to understand:
- The many ways children grieve, often in secret
- Changes in family dynamics after death–and straightforward, effective ways to ease the transition
- Ways to communicate with children about death and grief
- How to cope with the intense sorrow triggered by holidays
- The signs grief has turned to depression–and where to find help
- And more insights, information, and advice that can help a child heal
With sensitivity and insight, this series offers suggestions for healing activities that can help survivors learn to express their grief and mourn naturally. Acknowledging that death is a painful, ongoing part of life, it explains how people need to slow down, turn inward, embrace their feelings of loss, and seek and accept support when a loved one dies. Each book, geared for mourning adults, teens, or children, provides ideas and action-oriented tips that teach the basic principles of grief and healing. These ideas and activities are aimed at reducing the confusion, anxiety, and huge personal void so that living their lives can begin again.
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. This volume addresses what to expect from grieving young people, and how to provide safe outlets for children to express emotion. Included in each book are tested, sensitive ideas for “carpe diem” actions that people can take right this minute—while still remaining supportive and honoring the mourner’s loss.
Explaining the important difference between grief and mourning, this book explores every mourner’s need to acknowledge death and embrace the pain of loss. Also explored are the many factors that make each person’s grief unique and the many normal thoughts and feelings mourners might have. Questions of spirituality and religion are addressed as well. The rights of mourners to be compassionate with themselves, to lean on others for help, and to trust in their ability to heal are upheld. Journaling sections encourage mourners to articulate their unique thoughts and feelings.
For Grieving Children
This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie. How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter’s snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a warm and thought-provoking story and both children and adults will be deeply touched by this inspiring book. This 20th anniversary edition of this beloved classic has helped thousands of people come to grips with life and death.
With sensitivity and insight, this series offers suggestions for healing activities that can help survivors learn to express their grief and mourn naturally. Acknowledging that death is a painful, ongoing part of life, they explain how people need to slow down, turn inward, embrace their feelings of loss, and seek and accept support when a loved one dies. Each book, geared for mourning adults, teens, or children, provides ideas and action-oriented tips that teach the basic principles of grief and healing. These ideas and activities are aimed at reducing the confusion, anxiety, and huge personal void so that the living can begin their lives again. Included in the books for teens and kids are age-appropriate activities that teach younger people that their thoughts are not only normal but necessary.
Lifetimes is a moving book for children of all ages, even parents too. It lets us explain life and death in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between. With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants. About animals. About people. It tells that dying is as much a part of living as being born. It helps us to remember. It helps us to understand.
Lifetimes… a very special, very important book for you and your child. The book that explains—beautifully—that all living things have their own special Lifetimes.
We also have a great library of resources if you would like to come by and browse our titles to find a book that would be helpful to you.