It’s been two and a half years since we lost our third child, six months into my pregnancy. In those early, dark days when I could barely get out of bed, comfort came from reading much-loved books from childhood like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and the Little House on the Prairie series. They took me back to a time before my loss and reminded me that humans have always faced adversity and that, somehow it can be possible to come through the worst a stronger more appreciative person. As time passed, I stopped wanting to escape in fiction and self-help books helped me navigate my grief. One in particular, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed helped me embrace life as it is now – forever changed, yes, but blessed. I’m still drawn towards books that will help me continue to find growth beyond grief. In fact, in these terrible, tumultuous times I think we all need this skill more than ever.
3 books on grief to read right now
1. the personal one
This isn’t just a book about grief, but about the author’s husband’s battle with depression – a battle he ultimately lost. Poorna writes candidly about our struggle to understand the illness and our failure to treat every case as individual. This brave, raw, deeply personal book takes us on a journey to discover more about the man she loved, but also to understand the illness that took his life.
2. the expert one
Grief psychotherapist Julia Samuel is a maternity and paediatric counsellor and founder patron of Child Bereavement UK who has spent 25 years helping people through bereavement. Helpfully divided into sections covering all types of loss, her breadth of expertise, compassion and understanding of how humans feel when they mourn provides comfort and insight that will stay with you beyond the last page.
3. the high-profile one
I made Sheryl Sandberg our tm icon this month after reading this book. I’ve bookmarked too many pages to mention and I’m in awe that when most of us would be struggling to get through each day, she found the strength to write so honestly and selflessly about the death of her husband and her determination to find post-traumatic growth. Whether you’ve suffered a loss yourself, know someone who is grieving, this book will help guide you on the path towards a new life after loss.