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A Time to Mourn

Often the anguish of death is too much to be borne alone. Deep, seemingly perpetual depression is exhausting to the mind and the body as well as the spirit. Know that there are others who have trod the path of grief and are willing to listen to your thoughts and memories, and that there are others who have written works that may show a healing mirror to your own journey.

A reaction to loss can be rage or tears, years of the silent pain of denial or a dedication to a project in memory of the life of the beloved.

Friends and family members may not know how to talk about the death or know what to say to the dying or the bereaved. They often worry about explaining death to children.

The library and the Web offer valuable resources on this topic:

 

For Family and Friends | Explaining Death to Young Children | Especially For Teens | Special Situations | Personal Reflections | For Counselors | Local Support

For Family and Friends

Books marked with an asterisk (*) have sections devoted to eulogies or words of consolation. Unless otherwise indicated, this list uses publishers' descriptions for annotation.

 Arise from Darkness: When Life Doesn't Make Sense by Benedict J. Groeschel
"If you are struggling with fear, grief, loss of a loved one, hurt, anger or anything that makes life difficult--or the road through it dark--then this book was written for you. If offers practical suggestions on how to keep going and to grow with God's grace."

*The Art of Condolence: What to Write, What to Say, What to Do at a Time of Loss by Leonard M. Zunin and Hilary Stanton Zunin
"Based on the authors' extensive research, their workshops, and their professional experience, and filled with personal stories and anecdotes, this heartfelt, practical, and easily accessible resource covers the three most common areas of concern: 'What can I write?' 'What can I say?' and 'What can I do?' The authors address such issues as: Special circumstances -- sudden death, suicide, the death of a parent or childHow to compose a letter of condolence -- including a variety of sample letters; How to be of service -- from ideas for thoughtful gifts, to assisting with business affairs and funeral arrangements, to suggested ways of helping in the aftermath; When more help is needed -- the benefits of grief therapy and support groups, with a listing of recommended reading and other resources."

The Art of Dying: How to Leave This World With Dignity and Grace, At Peace With Yourself and Your Loved Ones by Patricia Weenolsen
"Practical and encouraging in tone, it leads us through the conflicts we all seek to resolve in our 'end time'--from early physical concerns about pain and changes in appearance; to emotional concerns over relatives and reconciliation; to psychological concerns over loss of control and loss of identity; to spiritual concerns and the need to feel that our life has had meaning. Author Patricia Weenolsen, Ph.D., has helped thousands of men and women struggle with these universal yet seldom-discussed issues. With the help of case histories, exercises, and Weenolsen's own warm yet straightforward advice, we learn to integrate the many positive gifts that death and dying bestow upon us."

As Much Time as it Takes: A Guide for the Bereaved, Their Family, and Friends by Martin J. Keogh
"A guide for the bereaved, their family, and friends from a grieving person's viewpoint. Helps to navigate with sensitivity through awkward moments of comforting those mourning the loss of a loved one. Articulates the overwhelming waves of grieving emotions, and assists friends of the grieving to avoid clichés and find the right words at the right time."

Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life: A Practical Guide to Reclaiming Happiness After the Death of a Loved One by Jill Brooke
"Although they are no longer physically with us, we can keep our loved ones emotionally and spiritually close by incorporating their memories into our daily lives. Not only can we draw comfort from their sustaining presence, but we can have a positive impact on those around us. Includes tips on how to preserve our memories, create lasting family histories, and reach out to others."

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan
"In this moving and compassionate book, hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years experience tending the terminally ill. Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts—of wisdom, faith, and love—that the dying leave for the living to share. Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, Final Gifts shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end."

Giving Sorrow Words: How to Cope with Your Grief and Get on With Your Life by Candy Lightner
This guide for those who have experienced losses was written by the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She includes her own experiences in the book. She realizes that in the heat of the years-long obsession to do something about drunk drivers, such as the one who killed her daughter, she had never really grieved. This book chronicles her own long-delayed grieving process as well as others and has suggestions for others on dealing with their grief.
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Grief Dreams: How They Help Us Heal After the Death of a Loved One by T.J. Wray and Ann Back Price
"The authors guide readers in ways to understand and value their dreams, how to keep a grief dream journal, and how to use dreams as tools for healing.This extraordinary volume explores the four most common types of grief dreams—the visitation dream, the message dream, the reassurance dream, and the trauma dream-and includes many other grief dream types, such as prophetic dreams and dream series. With compassion and great insight, the authors use real-life examples from people who have experienced the healing power of grief dreams. Wray and Price offer step-by-step guidance for understanding and valuing the various messages from our dreams—even the nightmarish shock-absorbing ones."

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman
Comforting Christian meditations for those who are struggling with grief address many emotions that are felt by the bereaved.
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Healing Grief: How to Reclaim Life After Any Loss by James Van Praagh
Best-selling author and medium James van Praagh shares his thoughts on moving through grief.
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How to Handle Trouble by John Carmody
"For everyone panicked by disaster, How to Handle Trouble -- written while its author struggled with bone cancer -- can be the best of allies. With rock-bottom honesty, John Carmody points the way out of trouble not through any secret expertise, but through simple techniques that come 'like a warranty with your basic human equipment.' Introducing us to all our inner and outer resources, he shows that fear and anxiety need not rule our days. Carmody writes about the real power of thinking, feeling, sharing, deciding, and praying, and even of the joy that comes when we are fighting a good fight. In short, this book is both balm and tonic -- everyday wisdom to help us make sense of crisis and work through it."

*I Don't Know What to Say: How to Help and Support Someone Who Is Dying by Robert Buckman
"When people we love are dying, we all too often are unable to help them — or even talk to them — or face our own conflicting feelings about the impending loss. This authoritative and empathetic guide demystifies the dying process and offers practical advice for the friends and families of the terminally ill. In I Don't Know What to Say... Dr. Robert Buckman, a distinguished oncologist who was himself once diagnosed as having a fatal illness, confronts these questions:
— What should a patient be told about his or her illness?
— How can the patient's supporters cope with demands that may seem angry and irrational?
— What are the crucial differences between caring for a dying parent, spouse, or child?
— How can you help someone dying from AIDS, cancer, or a dementing illness?"

The Mourning Handbook: A Complete Guide for the Bereaved by Helen Fitzgerald
"...written as a companion to those mourners in need of practical and emotional assistance during the trying times before and after the death of a loved one. Having counseled thousands of people who have experienced loss, Helen Fitzgerald gives special attention to the complex emotions that can accompany especially traumatic situations, such as when a loved one has been murdered, when there have been multiple deaths, when a body has not been recovered, or when the mourner has been the inadvertent cause of death."

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler
The author of the best-selling book, On Death and Dying, writes of the five steps of dealing with grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Kübler-Ross wrote this near the end of her own life, with the assistance of a grief counselor.
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The Rights of the Dying: A Companion for Life's Final Moments by David Kessler
"A book for people dealing with life-challenging diseases, but even more so it is a book for spouses and companions, parents and children, siblings and friends. It examines the physical and emotional experiences of death and helps the reader find a way to say goodbye. In gentle, compassionate language, Kessler outlines the 17 rights of the dying, principles that will help people face death with dignity. For family members, he provides a vocabulary, a way of communicating with one another as well as with doctors and hospital staff. He also provides a way of allowing the dying family member to participate in all decisions and express their own feelings."

Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew by Anita Diamant
"...she shows how to make Judaism's time-honored rituals into personal, meaningful sources of comfort. Diamant guides the reader through Jewish practices that attend the end of life, from the sickroom to the funeral to the week, month, and year that follow. There are chapters describing the traditional Jewish funeral and the customs of Shiva, the first week after death when mourners are comforted and cared for by community, friends, and family. She also explains the protected status of Jewish mourners, who are exempt from responsibilities of social, business, and religious life during Shloshim, the first thirty days. And she provides detailed instructions for the rituals of Yizkor and Yahrzeit, as well as chapters about caring for grieving children, mourning the death of a child, neonatal loss, suicide, and the death of non-Jewish loved ones."

Surviving Grief—And Learning to Live Again by Catherine M. Sanders
"According to Dr. Sanders, grieving, like any other natural regenerative process, must be allowed to run its proper course if we are ever to regain our equilibrium and continue on with our lives. To help us better understand the process, she describes the five universal phases of grief: Shock, Awareness of Loss, Conservation and The Need to Withdraw, Healing, and Renewal, and guides us through each. Drawing directly from her own experiences and those of her clients and her research studies, she delves deeply and compassionately into the different experiences of grief, and talks about what it means to lose a mate, a parent, or a child."

Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart by Stephen Levine
"Levine addresses the grief from fresh loss but also attends to the pain and troubles caused by the unresolved anguish, sadness, and delayed stress that can accumulate over a lifetime-whether it's angst caused by death, the loss of self-identity, childhood abuse, illness, divorce, or even just being alive in today's world.Levine notes that though we may never wholly overcome the sorrows we've endured, we can confront them with mercy and self-acceptance that smoothes the path to healing the heart."

Explaining Death to Young Children

Check out the booklist—Explaining Death to Young Children, compiled by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library's children's services librarians.

On the Internet

Children and Grief
www.familymanagement.com/facts/english/children.grief.html
This fact sheet from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry tells parents and caregivers how the children's grief differs from that of adults.

Comfort Zone Camp
www.comfortzonecamp.org
These camp sessions provide "a fun and safe place for grieving children," ages 7 to 17. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Comfort Zone was the brain child of a young lady who had lost both of her parents. She wanted to provide a way for children to still be able to experience the fun of a summer camp while addressing their emotional needs. There is no charge to attend the camp.

KIDSAID
kidsaid.com A place for kids to share their feelings of grief. Includes stories, poetry, kids' art, and games.

Especially For Teens

Everything You Need to Know When Someone You Know Has Been Killed by Jay Schleifer
Talks about the emotions teens may be feeling when someone is violently killed and suggests ways to cope with those feelings.
An eBook.
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Grief by Laurie Beckelman
This brief book for teens talks about the grieving process.
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Straight Talk About Death For Teenagers: How to Cope With Losing Someone You Love by Earl A. Grollman
Has advice on managing rage constructively, an overview of religious rituals of different faiths, the need to express grief. The author advises teens to reach out to support groups, use journals, or go to counseling as some of the ways of expressing their emotions.

When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman
"If you are grieving the death of a friend, do something for yourself. Take the time to read this book. It isn't very long-there aren't a lot of words—but you may find the help you need to cope with your sadness and begin to heal. Author Marilyn Gootman has seen her own children suffer from the death of a friend, and she knows what teenagers go through when another teen dies. Let her genuine understanding, gentle advice, and compassionate wisdom guide you through the next few days, weeks, or months.If you're a parent or teacher of a teen who has experienced a painful loss, this book is for you, too."

You Are Not Alone: Teens Talk about Life After the Loss of a Parent by Lynne B. Hughes
Written by the founder of Comfort Zone Camp, this book addresses the needs of teens who have lost a parent.
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Special Situations

After Suicide by John H. Hewett
Guidance for survivors, clergy, and counselors on dealing with the aftermath of suicide.
Part of the Christian Care series

 After the Death of a Child: Living With Loss Through the Years by Ann K. Finkbeiner
"This book examines the continued love parents feel for their child and the many poignant and ingenious ways they devise to preserve the bond. Through detailed profiles of parents, Ann Finkbeiner shows how new activities and changed relationships with their spouse, friends, and other children can all help parents preserve a bond with the lost child. Refusing to fall back on pop jargon about 'recovery' or to offer easy suggestions or standardized timelines, Finkbeiner's is a genuine and moving search to come to terms with loss."

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief by Pauline Boss
"Drawing on her research and clinical experience, Boss suggests strategies that can cushion the pain and help families come to terms with their grief. Her work features the heartening narratives of those who cope with ambiguous loss and manage to leave their sadness behind, including those who have lost family members to divorce, immigration, adoption, chronic mental illness, and brain injury."

Everything You Need to Know When Someone You Know Has Been Killed by Jay Schleifer
Talks about the emotions teens may be feeling when someone is violently killed and suggests ways to cope with those feelings.
An eBook.
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How to Survive the Loss of a Parent: A Guide for Adults by Lois F. Akner with Catherine Whitney
"Many people who usually function well are thrown for a loop when a parent dies. They're surprised at the complex feelings of love, loss, anger, and guilt, and at the unresolved issues that emerge. Therapist Lois Akner explains why the loss of a parent is different from other losses and, using examples from her experience, shows how it is possible to work through the grief."

I'm Grieving as Fast as I Can: How Young Widows and Widowers Can Cope and Heal by Linda Sones Feinberg
"...sensitively guides young widows and widowers through the normal grieving process while highlighting the special circumstances of facing an untimely death. Hundreds of young widows and widowers, with whom the author has worked for more than a decade as a counselor, share their thoughts and dilemmas about the situations that arise as a result of losing a loved one, among them: what to tell young children experiencing a parent's death, returning to work and dealing with in-laws and other relatives."

The Mourning Handbook: A Complete Guide for the Bereaved by Helen Fitzgerald
"...written as a companion to those mourners in need of practical and emotional assistance during the trying times before and after the death of a loved one. Having counseled thousands of people who have experienced loss, Helen Fitzgerald gives special attention to the complex emotions that can accompany especially traumatic situations, such as when a loved one has been murdered, when there have been multiple deaths, when a body has not been recovered, or when the mourner has been the inadvertent cause of death."

When a Child Has Been Murdered: Ways You Can Help the Grieving Parents by Bonnie Hunt Conrad
Besides the normal anguish of grieving, parents of murdered children must also work with the criminal justice system during their most difficult times. When a Child... provides advice and counseling on how to work through the grief and includes stories from parents who have experienced this loss.
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The Worst Loss: How Families Heal From the Death of a Child by Barbara D. Rosof
When a child in a family dies, be he young or an adult, the effects are strongly felt by siblings, parents, and the parents' marriage. A family's own structure can delay "grief work" and recovery. Rosof tells how to break down psychological barriers so that healing can take place.

Personal Reflections

Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul: Stories about Life, Death, and Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One compiled by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
"Written by authors who have lost loved ones, these stories offer comfort, peace and understanding to those going through the grieving process. Individual people deal with grief in their own ways and within their own time, but the guidance and support they receive from others is what helps them through it. One of the key messages of Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul is that togetherness and sharing are the keys to moving on."

Confessions of a Grieving Christian by Zig Ziglar
"On May 13, 1995, God called Zig Ziglar's oldest daughter, Suzan, home after a prolonged illness. Journeying through his own grief, Ziglar realized many things about himself, his family, his priorities, and God. In this comforting book, he uses his experience to encourage you to deal with the reality of loss and learn to take up the threads of life again as you find consolation and inspiration in the Giver of all Peace."

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
" Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the 'mad midnight moment,' A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss."

A Personal Grief & a Reasonable Faith: A Mother's Journey from Tragedy to Triumph in Understanding the Christian Faith by Norma E. Sawyers
A mother's grief and her search for answers and renewed faith after her 15-year-old daughter's death in a tragic accident.

Signs of Life: A Memoir of Dying and Discovery by Tim Brookes
When Tim Brookes began his research into the hospice movement, his interest was purely academic. However he soon received a phone call from home that would completely change his view on the project. His mother, dying of pancreatic cancer, became the recipient of those hospice services that Brookes had tried to study from a safe intellectual distance. During her final days, he experienced a deeper understanding of his mother's love and became part of the coming-together of his family.
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Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
During his old teacher's dying days, Mitch Albom learns final lessons in how best to live.

For Counselors

After Suicide by John H. Hewett
Guidance for survivors, clergy, and counselors on dealing with the aftermath of suicide.
Part of the Christian Care series

Bereavement: Counseling the Grieving Throughout the Life Cycle by David A. Crenshaw
Clinical psychologist David Crenshaw gives a good, short overview for those who wish to help people of all ages who are experiencing loss.

Healing the Hurt, Restoring the Hope: How to Guide Children and Teens Through Times of Divorce, Death, and Crisis with the Rainbows Approach by Suzy Yehl Marta
"...offers ground-breaking techniques and concrete strategies to help children of any age, such as: Games, activities, and play-based exercises that help children and teens process their emotions when they don't have the words to describe what they are feeling. Inspiring stories from two decades of Rainbows groups will comfort and encourage adults trying to cope and guide children and teens during difficult times."

Helping Children Live with Death and Loss by Dinah Seibert, Judy C. Drolet, Joyce V. Fetro
"...a practical guide for parents, caregivers, teachers, clergy, funeral directors, and other adults who may interact with young children between the ages of two and ten. The book uses a developmental approach that is critical for understanding the unique characteristics and needs among children under ten."
An eBook.

*I Don't Know What to Say: How to Help and Support Someone Who Is Dying by Robert Buckman
"When people we love are dying, we all too often are unable to help them — or even talk to them — or face our own conflicting feelings about the impending loss. This authoritative and empathetic guide demystifies the dying process and offers practical advice for the friends and families of the terminally ill. In I Don't Know What to Say... Dr. Robert Buckman, a distinguished oncologist who was himself once diagnosed as having a fatal illness, confronts these questions:
— What should a patient be told about his or her illness?
— How can the patient's supporters cope with demands that may seem angry and irrational?
— What are the crucial differences between caring for a dying parent, spouse, or child?
— How can you help someone dying from AIDS, cancer, or a dementing illness?"

On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"One of the most famous psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of an interdisciplinary seminar on death, originated and conducted by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. In On Death and Dying, Dr. Kübler-Ross first introduced and explored the now-famous idea of the five stages of dealing with death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. With sample interviews and conversations, she gives the reader a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve the patient, and the patient's family, bringing hope, solace, and peace of mind to all involved."

The Crisis Counseling and Traumatic Events Treatment Planner by Tammi D. Kolski, Michael Avriette, Arthur E. Jongsma, Jr.
"Organized around 26 main presenting problems, from domestic violence and sudden/accidental death to school trauma, crime victim trauma, job loss, and others. Includes more than 1000 statements describing behavioral manifestations of each related problem."
An eBook.

When a Friend is Dying: A Guide to Caring for the Terminally Ill and Bereaved by Edward F. Dobihal
Especially useful for those who work with the sick and their families as part of a ministry.