Death can be a lonely experience. Sometimes you simply need to know you're not alone in your grief. These books can help you deal with your loss in a healthy, productive way.
Losing a child is difficult. Its pain is so deep that no “pep” talk will ever suffice. Yet, well-meaning individuals often give pep talks because they don’t know what else to do. They don’t understand that pep talks cut like a knife. They don’t realize that grievers see pep talks as hurtful and inconsiderate attempts at forcing the griever to move on—as if to say “Your child didn’t matter enough for you to carry on this way.”
If you’ve put your foot in your mouth when trying to console a grieving parent, or if you’re desperately seeking ways to show that you truly do care, consider the simple jester of giving a small gift basket filled with love. In your gift basket, include a box of tissues, a blank journal, a pen, a coupon for one shoulder to cry on, a coupon for one ear to listen and a grief book that matches the needs of the griever.
Books written by parents who’ve already lost a child offer comfort because they tell grievers that they are not alone; that someone out there truly does understand the exasperating, tiresome, and overwhelming pain they are experiencing; and that while you don’t understand how deep the loss is yourself, you are attempting to understand—to provide a safe haven to rest their weary bodies.
Below are six books on grief that deal with death, loss, and grief—from a parent’s perspective.
Don't Take My Grief Away By Doug Manning
This handbook, written by Doug Manning, is meant to give you an overview of what happens when someone dies, and the choices that need to be made. It is a very easy read that is meant to help you prepare for the funeral and deal with people who do not understand your loss.
I especially love his story on how the book was named and how he developed a new compassion for those that grieve. At one point, he heard a story about a young mother who said, "Don't take my grief from me. I deserve it. I am going to have it." Though he did not hear the words spoken from her mouth, those words haunted him enough to change the concept he had towards those that grieved and the recovery that would follow. He began to understand that though we need to recover and move on, we also need to experience the loss. That we need to move in our own time, not someone else's.
Five Cries of Grief By Merton P. Strommen
What I love about this book is that it takes a HE said/ SHE said approach. The book is written by parents who lost a 25 year old son and each has a voice to share. The chapters alternate between the father's journal and the mother's journal, with each realizing that the pains and how they deal with the loss are so completely different. This is the only book my husband was able to relate to, as it came from a father's view, didn't appear to be all mushy and was not preachy.
Forgiving God By Carla Killough McClafferty
This book is about a woman’s struggle with God’s answer to say, “No.” If you have lost a child to a home accident, this book may help you deal with your unique grief—the one that is often accompanied with tremendous amounts of guilt. Carla McClafferty's son, Corey, had fallen out of a swing at home and ended up dying. She shares her disbelief, the agony of the hospital stay and her anger at God for not answering her prayers to save her child. It’s also the perfect book for anyone who has not lost a child but is desperately trying to understand the pain of that loss so that they can help others grieve by showing true empathy and compassion. This is a really emotional book that will cause tears to flow in buckets.
Gift of Forgiveness By Charles F. Stanley
This book was written for those who suffer with bitterness towards oneself and others. This book helps you heal at your own pace while it teaches you to stop lashing out at others who—especially those who are trying to offer help. Mr. Charles Stanley is very straight forward and honest in his writing. It seems that he holds nothing back. He offers steps to help us forgive ourselves and others, based on biblical principles and he offers us reassurance and comfort such as, "Regardless of what you have done, you have not stretched God beyond his limits. His love knows no limits."
Gone But Not Lost By David W. Wiersbe
David Wiersbe allows us to step outside our grief, from time to time, in order to see the whole picture. What is amazing about this book is that he seems to hit on every core of grief, but from a more solidified aspect. I especially find the three page chapter on marriage to be of grave importance! Each individual grieves differently and it can often be unbearable and intolerable to see how your mate is grieving compared to how you grieve. It is a known fact that the death of a child destroys marriages because the pain is so grave and often occupancies such distance. In less than three pages, he has given details to save one's marriage during such a loss. And I can attest that what he says is true and beneficial!
Roses in December By Marilyn Willett Heavilin
Marilyn has captured the pain of losing a child vividly in each page. She has not lost one, but three children. Whether your child was an infant, a stillborn, or an adult, this book will help you cope with your loss. Roses in December digs deep into the emotions of losing one's child and helps the reader deal with anger, sadness, depression, and other aspects of grief in a productive way. This is a must read for anyone who has ever lost a child, or knows someone who has.
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