Joanita Wibowo


4 books on grieving you need to read

4 books on grieving you need to read

Losing a loved one is never easy, but it can be comforting to share the feeling with other people in similar pain. Books on grieving can offer solace and help you navigate through your experience. Here are four of the most popular suggested reads for dealing with loss and grief.

1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

The classic memoir tells the account of Didion’s year after the sudden death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne. Didion’s cold, precise way of making sense of her mourning process and how bereavements cloud her memories and perception have been praised as a difficult yet cathartic read.

Excerpt: “Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be. … Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”

2. Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman

First published over twenty years ago, the core wisdom from this self-help book still rings true today. Edelman built the book on her own experience as well as interviews with hundreds of women who also had lost their mothers. She dissected how a daughter’s sense of self and perception of those around her can be transformed in the face of difficulties brought about by the absence of a mother figure, all in an honest, personal lens.  

Excerpt: “Someone did us all a grave injustice by implying that mourning has a distinct beginning, middle, and end.”

3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The autobiography was posthumously published less than a year after the death of its author, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi. After he was diagnosed with inoperable, metastatic lung cancer, Kalanithi worked on the book to ponder about his place in the world as a medical professional in training, a patient, a husband and a father, as well as about what makes life truly worth living.

Excerpt: “Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”

4. I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can by Linda Feinberg

This guide was written by a grief therapist with years of experience counselling thousands of people in bereavement. Using real stories, she explained how a grief journey can be simultaneously unique to each individual and universal in the emotions and situations that it produced. She also offered advice on practical issues following the death of a loved one, including returning to work, finding support network and dealing with depression and anxiety.

Excerpt: “I cannot live the rest of my life without my husband. But I can live without him for one day.”

Do you have any recommendations when it comes to grieving? Let us know in the comments below.