Books for the Bereaved Parent (title, author)

1) The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child, Suzanne Redfern & Susan K. Gilbert

(I found this to be one of the most useful books on the topic of child loss because it is full of perspectives of other parents who have lost children and I learn the most from listening to others who have walked a similar path.)

2) Only Spring: On Mourning the Death of My Son, Gordon Livingston

(I found this book useful because it spoke of another parent's experience in losing his young son to cancer in such a short time frame after his diagnosis (6 months post diagnosis) which was reminiscent of our experience of losing Joseph (4 months post diagnosis.)

3) Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther

(I found this book useful because it shared the perspective of the author's son as he battled cancer and I am interested in learning about the experience if facing a terminal illness from those children who are old enough to process and communicate their feelings on that topic.)

4) Resilience, Elizabeth Edwards

(Regardless of one's political views, I found comfort in this read shortly after Joseph died.  I found this well-written book useful because I needed to read about another mother who had endured the loss of her son as well as other hardships.)

5) Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul, Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen

(This book was useful because its short, easy-to-read essays didn't require too much focus and after losing Joseph I had little focus and a short attention span so I found this book helpful.)

6) Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

(The above and below books by Mitch Albom were somewhat helpful to read because they offered some perspective and centered around death which is what I wanted to read about when I read them.  In addition, they offered insight about faith and the experience of embracing it.)

7) Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom

8) When the Bough Breaks, Judith R. Bernstein, Ph.D.

(I read this book around 18 months after Joseph died and found it very helpful and well-written.  I chose it because it addressed difficult issues peripheral to losing a child such as how marriage, faith, social circles, friends and perspectives often shift.  It also touched on the relationship with surviving children after the loss of a child.  These topics, especially ones related to parent/surviving children relationships are difficult to come across.  The author, who is a psychologist and a bereaved parent, offers helpful insight and includes insight from other bereaved parents on each topic.)

 9)  The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Kevin Malarkey

(I read this book because I wanted to hear about young Alex's encounters with Heaven and angels after a car accident that left him near dead.  It was an easy read may interest a reader struggling with issues about God, faith and hope after the loss of a child.)

10) A Grief Like no Other, Kathleen O'Hara, MA

(This book is born from the author's experience with the murder of her college-aged son, Aaron, 14 years ago.  The author is a Philadelphia based therapist who lays out a method to help the reader learn how to manage and accept the catastrophic loss of a child. Though her son's age and death is different from my son's, I found her book thorough and helpful in describing how to make grief a positive rather than destructive life force.

Books for the Bereaved Child

Younger Children:

1) The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D.

(This is one of the best children's books I have read about the topic of death.  I find that most miss the mark.)

2) Water Bugs and Dragonflies, Doris Stickney

(This book uses metaphors to gently explain death and heaven to young children.  It could also be condensed into a reading to comfort survivors about the death of a loved one.)

Older Children:

3) Tear Soup, Pat Schweibert 

(This book is regarded as one of the leading children's books on the topic of death.  I found the book to be wordy and long; however, the last pages of the book have very helpful information for those seeking to support someone who has experienced great loss.)

APPS for the Bereaved Parents

1) A Greif Observed, C.S. Lewis

(This is an thoughtful and introspective account by C.S. Lewis of his grieving way of life after the death of his wife.  In it, he challenges his faith in God, his faith in himself and the life that lay ahead of him wihout his beloved wife.  Though the loss is a spouse rather than a child, I found the emotions, tendencies and questions Lewis tackles to be very helpful and almost fully translatable to my own loss. I highly recommend this book/App.)

Groups/Websites for Bereavement: Loss of a Child

The Compassionate Friends:

Camp Sunshine (bi-annual bereavement retreats):

Centering Corporation:

"Centering Corporation" offers books and products mostly about grief and child loss.  Its publications seek to focus on the type of loss experiences (i.e. infant loss, child loss, suicide, murder, etc.) and speak to the person seeking comfort and guidance (parent, man, woman, sibling, grandparent, caregiver, friend, etc.).  

One of its recent publications called "Journaling Away Mommy's Grief" addresses stillbirth and infant loss.  It was written by my sister-in-law, Robin Lentz Worgan, after she lost her daughter, Margaret, at 33 weeks gestation on 8/13/97.   The book includes Robin's personal journal entries and experiences following the death of Margaret and encourages the reader to pen his/her own experiences and emotions.  Published 2010.

Here is a link to Robin's book:

Here is a link to Robin's website:

Songs for the Bereaved (title: artist)

1) You're Still Here: Faith Hill  

2) Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World: Isrrael Kamakawiwo'ole

3) To Where You Are: Kristy Starling (also performed by Josh Groban)

4) Slumber My Darling: Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor, Yo-Yo Ma

5) Address in the Stars: Caitlin and Will

6) Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

7) Keep me in your heart: Gale Mead

8) Let it Rain: Alan Pederson

9) Memories: Alan Pederson

10) The Shape of You: Jewel

11) Who You'd Be Today: Kenny Chesney

12) Fly: Celine Dion

13) Calling All Angels: Jane Siberry and k.d. lang

14) Somewhere Out There (Theme from the movie, "An American Tail"): Knights Bridge

15) Ever the Same: Rob Thomas

16) Santa will Find You: Mindy Smith

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