Suggested Bereavement Reading

Welcome to our Bereavement Reading area designed to signpost some of the books and other reading material that our users have found most useful.

The main index below leads to a number of different sources of information, so please feel free to browse through in your own time.

Self-help and Practical advice about Bereavement >
Biographical Books and Stories about Bereavement >
Bereavement Books for Children and Young Adults >
Funeral Guides >

We are constantly looking to update this information so please do let us know of any other books, pamphlets or other information that you have personally found useful. If you would like to include a short review about how it helped, that would be fantastic as well.

Self-help and Practical advice about Bereavement

Death…And How to Survive it
A Unique, Practical and Uplifting Guide to Coming To Terms With The Loss of your Partner
By Kate Boydell

It is described as a ‘beginner’s guide to death’ and whilst very clear and practical it is also open, frank and conversational; I would describe it as a ‘best friend’s guide to death’.

You’ll Get Over It, The Rage of Bereavement
By Virginia Ironside

Virginia Ironside states that nothing on bereavement can be right for everyone but this well informed yet accessible book stemming from her reaction to becoming bereaved is highly recommended.

Living with Bereavement
By Alex James

This help book is easy to read and has a nice balance of examples woven into the chapters. Bereavement is so unique and the many case studies and examples discussed here help you to understand bereavement and your own feelings better.

On Grief and Grieving – Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
By Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler

Stemming from their many years working in the hospice and bereavement environments and follows on from a number of other books including ‘On Death and Dying’ in which Elisabeth identified the five stages of bereavement.

How to Survive the Loss of a Love
By Harold Bloomfield, Melba Colgrove & Peter McWilliams

A self-help style guide to guiding you through the loss of a love, from understanding and surviving through to healing and growing.

Living with Grief
By Tony Lake

A sympathetic book describing all the different aspects of grief following bereavement and how people can work their way through and come to terms with it.

Bereavement – Studies of grief in adult life (third edition)
By Colin Murray Parkes

This volume helps us to understand the roots of grief, the secondary harm that bereavement can cause and the steps that need to be taken to ensure that those who suffer it will emerge, not unaffected, but relatively undamaged.


Biographical Books and Stories about Bereavement

Dear Charlie, Letters to a Lost Daughter
By Reg Thompson

This is a collection of letters from a bereaved father to his lost daughter Charlie, killed in an accident at a train station in December 2005. Raw and personal, this book is an outpouring of love in letters not originally meant for publication.

Living on the seabed, A memoir of Love, Life and Survival
By Lindsay Nicholson

Living on the seabed is the memoir of Lindsay Nicholson who has suffered a double bereavement from leukaemia, firstly her husband John Merritt and then subsequently their first daughter Ellie. An intimate and stoical account of a family life lived with, and despite, two battles with Leukaemia

A Grief Observed
By C S Lewis

The story of a widower’s grief which inspired the film Shadowlands.

Next to you, Caron’s Courage Remembered by her Mother
By Gloria Hunniford

The heartfelt story of the life of Caron Keating from the eyes of her bereaved mother and with excerpts from Caron herself, who had started to write detailed notebooks about dealing with cancer.

Grief Journey – Finding Your Way After Loss
By Bill Webster

Beginning with the story of the loss of his own wife, Bill Webster tells of the many surprising emotions he experienced, and the tasks he had to fulfil to work through the loss and move on. The short chapters are designed to make reading easier for grieving people whose concentration may be affected.


Bereavement books for children and young adults

Grief Encounter Workbook
Written by Shelley Gilbert

This is a workbook to encourage conversations about loss between children and adults and is aimed at helping bereaved children between the ages of 8 and 15 primarily. Full of interactive activities it is now an award winning bestseller, for use at home or school.
“This book, silly as it sounds, became a lifeline for my children after their Dad died.” Bereaved Mum.

Badger’s Parting Gifts
By Susan Varley

It firstly tells the story of Badger who was old and knew he must die soon. Badger was not afraid of death and one evening he falls asleep and then feels himself going down a long tunnel, as if he had fallen out of his body. The book then talks about Badger’s friends who are very sad to be told of Badger’s death and over the coming months they talk about their memories of Badger, the joys he had given them and the things he had taught them to do.

Waterbugs & Dragonflies
Written by Doris Stickney

A great short book aimed at explaining death to young children through a story about the life cycle of waterbugs and dragonflies.

The Lonely Tree
Written by Nicholas Halliday

This beautiful and moving story follows the first year in the life of a lone evergreen tree growing in the heart of the ancient oak woodland of the New Forest.

Gilbert The Great
Written by Jane Clarke & Charles Fuge

A touching tale about love and loss that will warm the hearts of both adults and children.

Cooking with Daisy
Written by Josie Klafkowska

This is a cookery book for the whole family filled with practical and easy-to-prepare recipes that children will love. The inspiration for the book was a young girl called Daisy who died suddenly at the age of 18months. This book, written by her mother, is a tribute to an incredible daughter.

Funeral Guides

We need to talk about the Funeral, 101 Practical Ways to Commemorate and Celebrate a Life
By Jane Morrell & Simon Smith

This book is a detailed, practical manual on funeral arrangements to help the bereaved think about their alternatives and consider their preferences and the amount of involvement they might want to have.

The Good Funeral Guide
By Charles Cowling

The first independent consumer guide to the funeral industry with listings of best funeral directors and other best providers of services and merchandise.

The Natural Death Handbook
By The Natural Death Centre

The comprehensive funeral and death reference book: inexpensive, green and DIY funerals, incl. 200 natural burial grounds, biodegradable mailorder coffins, a Good Funeral Guide to the funeral trade, caring for the dying at home, living wills and much much more.

Complete Book of Funeral Planning, Readings and Music
By R Johnstone-Burt

How to plan and organize the funeral your loved ones would most appreciate

Do Not Go Gentle, poems for funerals
Edited by Neil Astley

A collection of poems for the bereaved including some of the well known traditional poems as well as a selection of powerful contemporary ones. The poems include ‘Funeral Blues’ by WH Auden and ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas. A selection to read if looking for inspiration for a funeral poem, or just inspiration.