Finding books to help deal with death

In the last month, four people have died suddenly or tragically who I did not know well but I am close friends with some of their families, friends or co-workers.  And, I’ve just heard about a nephew planning to get married later this year.  So I eerily feel like I’m writing a story called “Four Funerals and a Wedding.”  During this emotional time, knowing that I work in libraries, some friends have asked me for suggestions on what to read maybe now or later.  Here are just a few of the helpful ones found by searching in the catalog.

Moving Beyond Loss: Real Answers to Real Questions from Real People deals with grief following situations that include sudden death and declining health. Experiences are grouped in categories covering the beginning, stages of grief, and unique situations. It’s moving to read the many true and hard stories about what others are going through. Russell Friedman and John W. James have written a few books together on grief.  This one provides many heartfelt responses that help grievers, family and friends realize the immediate time period is indeed dark and challenging and the future holds new beginnings and choices to make.

How to Heal a Grieving Heart by Doreen Virtue has a butterfly on its cover that encourages one to open the book to find short messages, one per page, that give practical and spiritual help. It’s a book to pick up, read a few pages, put down for a few hours and keep going back to for more.

A pediatrician’s teenage son and his girlfriend, while walking, get hit by a teenage drunk driver. Her experience as the parent is told clearly in Crash: A Mother, A Son, and the Journey from Grief to Gratitude. It’s difficult to read the detailed account of a DUI accident that leads to one death and the hard road of recovery for another teen and his family, yet this book is written in a compassionate manner.

A few other titles, depending on what one wants to read more about, include:

The Call of Everest: The History, Science, and Future of the World’s Tallest Peak

Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in An Uncertain World

Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death

What Happens When We Die: A Psychic’s Exploration of Death, Heaven, and the Soul’s Journey After Death

The Widower’s Toolbox: Repairing Your Life After Losing Your Spouse

The Seattle Public Library has many print and online resources on the topics of death and dying, terminal care, grief and bereavement. Stop by any location or use Ask a Librarian for suggestions on searching the catalog and using the online databases.

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