One day at a time: The best books on grief & healing

Feeling understood is the first step toward healing.
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Grief can feel like a black hole, consuming everything in its path: your happiness, energy, and sense of well-being.

It shows up in our lives in many unique forms, from losing a loved one to experiencing a gut-wrenching event. However, the one common denominator is everyone will have to deal with moments of grief at some point.

We won’t be the first (or last) to say this, but it is ok not to feel ok. In fact, feeling the depths of our emotions is quite a human response. The only thing we can do is learn how to navigate it.

Let’s dive right into our top five books on grief.

It's OK That You're Not OK

“There is pain that becomes an immovable part of our lives. We need to know how to endure that, how to care for ourselves inside that, how to care for one another.” – Megan Devine

It's OK That You're Not OK

Meeting grief and loss in a culture that doesn't understand.

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The author provides a unique perspective on the experience of grief itself and how to help others who have endured a tragedy. Inside this book, you will learn:

  • What most well-meaning advice is terrible (and hurtful)
  • The most common myths about grief and why it doesn't ever look the same for different people
  • Action steps you can take to sleep better and get healthier, even while wading through the pain
  • Tips for helping loved ones who are grieving

This book offers universal insight into a difficult subject, shining a light on how it affects everyone. Readers praise Devine for her refreshing take and the practical exercises outlined in the text.

The Grief Recovery Handbook

“Grief is difficult enough without added complications. Unfortunately, many factors can compound our reactions to loss and limit our recovery.” – John James and Russell Friedman

The Grief Recovery Handbook

The action program for moving beyond death, divorce, and other losses including health, career, and faith.

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This classic book on grief celebrated its 20th anniversary, which is proof of the wealth of time-tested knowledge on each page. Both authors based the text on a proven grief-recovery program. Dive between the covers to explore:

  • Steps anyone can take to start moving forward
  • Why different types of losses (faith, career, financial) can hurt just as much as relational ones
  • How childhood experiences impact your response to loss
  • The reality of recovery, and where to find energy as you struggle

Many people consider this a must-read because of its simple, down-to-earth approach. While some of the methodologies presented in this book are not for everyone (as some reviewers point out), its content still packs a healing punch that helps grievers step in the right direction.

A Grief Observed

“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” – C.S. Lewis

A Grief Observed

The classic work from Lewis' own journey.

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If you have never read any work by C.S. Lewis, you are seriously missing out. His classic take on grief provides an honest, raw reflection on human life, death, faith, and loss. Inside this book, you will dive into:

  • The author’s personal story of losing his beloved wife
  • Why loss often leads people to lose meaning in their own lives and structures
  • How you can regain your bearings and navigate intense grief
  • And more.

According to readers, there isn’t enough praise to go around for this spectacular read. It pulls your heartstrings from the very beginning, the opening lines resonating with everyone who has ever been struck with grief. This book should go on the top of the reading list for anyone who has had to swallow tragedy.

Healing After Loss

“Sometimes when I am feeling down, I am my own worst enemy. Let me be my friend.” ― Martha W. Hickman

Healing After Loss

Daily meditations for working through grief.

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Martha Whitmore Hickman pooled together dozens of quotes from authors and inspired minds worldwide. She pairs famous quotes with her own musings to create a unique guidebook on grief. In this compilation, you will read:

  • Dozens of inspirational messages from notable figures, such as Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson
  • A look into the author’s own personal thoughts and experiences with loss
  • Beautifully written words to inspire, strengthen, and comfort those on their healing journeys

One reviewer proclaimed this book is a must-read for those of us left behind after a tragic death. The daily meditations provided in this guidebook offer readers a sense of comfort, which is why we recommend it strongly.

About Grief

“Grieving people are in pain and on an island.” – Ron Marasco and Brian Shuff

About Grief

Insights, setbacks, grace notes, taboos.

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The authors have strong opinions and yet are able to address them in a friendly, warm discussion. Both the authors conducted mountains of research, consuming hours of media and speaking with countless individuals about their experiences with this topic. The result is their piece, About Grief. Read and discover:

  • Why grief isn't just one thing and carries with it a host of issues
  • Important studies summarized into short essays anyone will benefit from
  • A technical-jargon free discussion on sadness and what to do with that feeling

Former readers love the helpful, and even at times entertaining, aspect of this work. You won’t find any cold terminology or inspirational roadmaps here—only real stories by real people that offer a point of connection and reliability

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You are strong

Intense sadness, loss of hope, and raw grief are unfathomable human experiences. Yet, it is something that can be navigated—like a ship sailing through a churning ocean toward safety in the distance. We hope at least one of our top picks provides a tool you can use to sail toward your own lighthouse and be reminded of how strong you really are.

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