10 Best Grief Books After the Loss of a Loved One

After my husband died, and the friends and family all went home or back to work, I was on my own to figure out how to be a widow. I wanted to find a book, the one that tells you what to do after your husband dies and how to deal with grief. Here are a few of the books that helped me move forward and not feel so alone in my grief journey.

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  1.  HEALING AFTER LOSS: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief

By Martha Whitmore Hickman

If you only get one book, this should be it. Each day has a one page inspiring story and mediation to think about.  The passages are easy to read in under five minutes, which is a blessing for those of us dealing with the lack of concentration that comes with intense grief. The passages contain deep, thought provoking, yet hopeful reflections for those suffering from devastating loss.

2. IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE NOT OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

By Megan Devine

The title tells it all. We don’t need to fix or solve grief. It’s not something to get over. Megan writes, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” She offers a guide through stories and her experience as a widow and therapist to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.

3. THE LIGHT BETWEEN US: Stories from Heaven. Lessons for the Living.

By Laura Lynne Jackson

I was truly obsessed with the thought of what happens after we die. Convinced that there must be more to life, I found this book and it gave me hope that our loved ones are still with us. Laura is a certified medium with the Forever Family Foundation. She shares her life story and her work that has brought comfort to many families. After reading this book I spent a healing weekend at a grief retreat with this foundation which you can read about here: https://runawaywidow.com/2017/03/22/why-reaching-out-to-psychic-mediums-in-grief-can-be-comforting/

4. SIGNS OF LIFE: A Memoir 

By Natalie Taylor

After my husband died I went to the local library to get a book that would tell me how to be a widow. This was one of the only 3 books on the shelf so I borrowed it and was actually able to read the whole thing, not an easy task for a new widow since attention span is limited. Natalie, an English teacher, was pregnant and 24 years old when her husband unexpectedly died. She writes an account of the first 16 months as a widow and basically journals her feelings and experiences. Knowing that someone else had been through what I was going through helped me feel not so alone during those first few months.

5. CONFESSIONS OF A MEDIOCRE WIDOW: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity

By Catherine Tidd

Catherine tells about her husband’s sudden death that left her with 3 young children at the age of 31. The imperfect thoughts and actions she encounters as she wades through grief. Her experiences with single parenting and dating are fun to read and her book keeps it real and at times, even makes you laugh.

6. HEALTHY HEALING: A Guide to Working Out Grief Using the Power of Exercise and Endorphins 

By Michele Steinke-Baumgard

Michele is such an inspiration to the widowed community. She lost her husband suddenly in a plane crash when her children were little. Starting a blog called One Fit Widow, she focused on her healing after loss with exercise. She has since married and blended families and continues to inspire people with her exercise programs, healthy eating and small group adventure trips around the world.

7. FIGHTING FORWARD: A Widow’s Journey from Loss to Life

By Jan J. Owen

After the loss of my husband I joined several Facebook pages for widows and met Jan. She inspired me as we are similar in age and experience. After her husband died, she married again and also went back to school for a degree in counseling. Her book was helpful as I could relate to her journey and her ability to move forward after loss.

8. SIGNS: The Secret Language of the Universe

By Laura Lynn Jackson

After reading her first book and seeing her speak on several occasions I was excited to read her newest book.  She is a psychic medium who teaches us in this book how to recognize and ask for messages from loved ones on the Other Side. After hearing her speak at a local book store and learning how to reach out to my loved ones on the other side, I had a startling experience you can read about here: https://runawaywidow.com/2019/06/22/signs-from-beyond/

9. A WIDOWS GUIDE TO HEALING: Gentle Support and Advice for the First 5 Years

By Kristin Meekhof and James Windell

The author Kristin Meekhof lost her husband to cancer and shares with grieving widows what to expect in the first 5 years after loss. Dealing with finances, single parenting, working, this book gives guidance and then hope for a new future.

1O. I WASN’T READY TO SAY GOODBYE: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

By  Brook Noel and Pamela Blair

Understanding the difficulties that come with an unexpected death, the authors guide the reader through the first weeks of grieving to dealing with holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Helpful suggestions for navigating the grieving process and helping children cope with grief.

In addition to reading books, I joined several Facebook groups that can provide instant support and encouragement on the grief jouney.

If you prefer to listen, podcasts are available to listen to while you walk that can also give some support.

I highly recommend joining a bereavement group through your local hospital, church or hospice community.

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At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

8 Comments

  1. Its the one experience no one prepares for.
    Until I was widowed I didn’t really grasp the enormity of it.
    I’ll have a look again at the titles.

  2. I want to first thank you for taking time to right this. Just last week I loss my aunt in death. But I have found comfort in the Bible. Would you be interested in a article?

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