By Victor M. Parachin
Along with being fully and compassionately present with someone who is grieving, one of the most effective ways of bringing comfort lies in reading or giving a book dealing with grief recovery. Here are some exceptional books to share with the bereaved.
Healing Grief by Victor M. Parachin (Chalice Press, 2001). This brief book of 75 pages covers the range of grief topics. Unlike most others, however, this one has a section titled “Especially For Men.”
Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers and Hope by Albert Y. Hsu (InterVarsity Press, 2002). The author, an editor at InterVarsity Press, has written an eloquent and personal book upon experiencing the suicide death of his father. Hsu tackles the complex issue of suicide with clarity and compassion. The chapter titled “Is Suicide the Unforgivable Sin?” is noteworthy.
Living With Loss, Healing With Hope by Rabbi Earl A. Grollman (Beacon Press, 2000). Rabbi Grollman’s goal with this book is to deal with the anguish of losing a loved one, whether it is a spouse, parent, sibling, child, or dear friend. And his book is “also about life, healing, and finding a way through your grief.” He covers the many faces of mourning and concludes with a lengthy section on healing and recovering.
A Decembered Grief by Harold Ivan Smith (Beacon Hill Press, 1999). Smith has emerged as America’s premiere bereavement writer and grief educator. This book is unique because it addresses the issue of managing the holidays while grieving. While others are being festive and joyful in December, that same month often magnifies sadness and loneliness for those who have lost a loved one. Smith offers practical tips for managing and even enjoying the holiday while grieving.
Grievers Ask: Answers to Questions About Death and Loss by Harold Ivan Smith. (Augsburg Fortress, 2004). This easy-to-read book is done in a question-and-answer style. Twenty-five short chapters answer specific questions all grievers share. For example: “Questions about God,” “Questions About Grief and Spirituality,” “Questions About the Death of a Child.” For a 200-page book it is remarkably comprehensive.
Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge, RN, EdD, and Robert C. De Vries, DMin, PhD (Baker Books, 1998). The authors, one a nurse educator and the other a pastor and professor, both lost their spouses. As a result, many of their insights come from personal experience combined with their own academic training. The book begins on a positive, hopeful note titled “Choosing the Journey.” In that chapter the authors encourage grievers to destroy grief myths that “death is God’s fault” (it’s not); that “God doesn’t understand” (God does); and that “you will never be happy again” (you can).
The Lord Is My Shepherd: A Psalm for the Grieving by Victor M. Parachin. (Liguori Triumph Books, 1992). The 23rd Psalm has delivered comfort to grievers for thousands of years. In this book, the author examines the 23rd Psalm, line by line, making applications for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. Each short chapter concludes with a prayer, affirmations, and a reflection for a bereaved person to consider.