Comforting Words: A Reading List On Loss And Grief

November 18, 2015 by Miller Funeral & Cremation Services Staff  


Books can be a powerful healing tool for those recovering from the death of a loved one. They can offer insight and validation of the experience of loss and grief. They can sometimes even make us feel less alone, knowing that the writer has been in our shoes and has faced similar emotions.

During the winter months, many of us, too, have the tendency to spend more time inside. Reading, however, can help you stay connected, enlighten, and provide comfort, particularly when energy reserves remain low.


7 Important Books On Loss And Grief Recovery

At Miller Funeral & Cremation Services and Cremation Society of Texas, we recommend using all of the tools at your disposal to heal from a life-changing loss. For some, this might include reading uplifting and empowering titles.

Here are a few of our favorites and recommendations from those who have faced an experience similar to your own.


  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – Following the loss of her husband and the numerous medical challenges faced by her daughter, the author explores the concepts of shock and the physical and emotional manifestations of grief.
  2. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald – After the sudden death of her father, MacDonald retreats to the natural world. A longtime falconer, she finds comfort and eventual transformation from grief through her devotion to a hawk she names Mabel.
  3. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis – Hailed as one of the preeminent books on grief and dying, Lewis beautiful walks us through the philosophical and spiritual questions when a loved one dies and how to find our way back to faith.
  4. Bough Down by Karen Green – A poignant and prose-filled memoir about the loss of a spouse to suicide. Green bridges the contradictions of madness and logic, anger and compassion, to bring clarity and light in the aftermath of devastation.
  5. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala – In the ensuing confusion and horror of the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the author recounts the days following the loss of her family. Her struggle to survive through the guilt of surviving those she loved and subsequent despair shed light on the fragility of life and the necessity of hope.
  6. The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander – After the unexpected death of her husband, Alexander finds strength and gratitude in the life she has led (including the poem she delivered at President Obama’s first inauguration) and the enormous love she shared with her departed spouse.
  7. 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, PhD – A practical manual for those who can benefit from coping skills and recommendations to navigate their grief. Through the stages of grief, the authors provide concrete, effective strategies for healing and recovery.


Sometimes the most powerful channels of healthy grieving can be found in a few sentences – sentences that make us feel less alone. If you have lost a loved one, we encourage you to reach out and grasp all of the things that provide comfort and catharsis. We wish you peace of mind as you move through this time of loss. For more recommendations and resources, please visit our Grief Support Library.

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