When you experience the death of someone significant in your life, you can feel as though your world has spun out of control.
You may experience many secondary losses alongside the physical death of the person, such as the loss of hopes and dreams, the gap that now exists in your support system or your sense of security in a predictable world.
If you are grieving, know you are not alone, at Calvary we are always here for you, your family and loved ones.
My name is Maria Georgopoulos and I’m the Director of Bereavement Services here at Calvary Hospital. At Calvary, we offer more than 25 bereavement groups across our three locations for grieving individuals. It’s so helpful to sit in a room with others who understand what you’re going through and are there to walk this journey with you. If you or someone you know is in need of our services, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you have any questions, comments, or recommended readings, please feel free to share them with us on our Facebook page where we hope to continue the conversation and foster community around the subject.
Suggested Reading List
Grief is a multifaceted response to loss and everyone has their own way of moving through it.
Some find comfort in reading about other people’s experiences or throwing themselves into a book that provides some insight into what to expect in this process.
Calvary Hospital’s Bereavement Team has put together a reading list of suggested books on the topic of grief to help those that turn to books as a resource.
Books can provide some perspective, especially in the first few months following the death, when you may not be ready for other types of support but are struggling to understand what’s happening. You may be experiencing difficulties in concentration since the death, so don’t expect to be able to read a whole book. Instead, you can pick chapters or read a few pages at a time. Be gentle with yourself.
Grief Affirmations and General Bereavement:
No Time to say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
By Carla Fine
A wise and compassionate book for adults who survive the death of a loved one by suicide, written by the widow of a physician who ended his own life.
I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, coping and healing after the sudden death of a loved one
By Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair
Each year about eight million Americans suffer the unexpected death of a loved one. For those who face the challenges of sudden death, the classic guide I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye offers a comforting hand to hold, written by two authors who have experienced it firsthand.
For Grieving Children:
When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book
National Alliance for Grieving Children Publication
An activity book for children that also provides valuable information to parents and caregivers about how grief impacts children. Contained within the pages of the book are activities for children designed to help them better express, understand, and cope with their grief. Each page also offers guidance about how adults can connect with their child on the very difficult subjects of death, dying, and bereavement. (Available in Spanish: “Cuando Muere Alguien: Un Libro de Actividades para Niños y sus Cuidadores”)
Mama’s Right Here
by Susan Kerner
A delicate, affectionately written reminder that a mother’s love never disappears. Even when a mother is absent, her presence is constant in a child’s heart. With comforting rhyme and gentle illustrations, Mama’s Right Here brings the important message to children that a mother’s love is always with them in the way they look, and in everything they do.
The Invisible String
by Patrice Karst
A beautiful, simple story that reminds children and adults they are never truly alone. As the mother in this story explains, People who love each other are always connected by a very special string made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.
For Grieving Adolescents:
Fire in my heart, ice in my veins
by Enid Samuel Traisman
This is a journal for teenagers who have experienced the death of someone they cared for. Each page gives the adolescent a brief thought as a focus for their writing, or they can record their own memories.
For Grieving Siblings:
The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss
by Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn
The Empty Room is DeVita-Raeburn’s unflinching, often haunting recollection of life with Ted, woven into a larger exploration of the enormous — and often unacknowledged — impact of a sister’s or brother’s death on remaining siblings.
For Adults Grieving the Death of a Parent:
She Loved Me, She Loved Me Not: Adult Parent Loss After a Conflicted Relationship
by Linda J. Converse
In She Loved Me, She Loved Me Not: Adult Parent Loss After a Conflicted Relationship, Linda Converse offers honest reflections, insights and advice from adults, including herself, who have experienced these “unacceptable” feelings after losing a parent.
For the Death of a Spouse/Partner:
Widowed Too Soon: A Young Widow’s Journey through Grief, Healing, and Spiritual Transformation
by Laura Hirsch
Widowed Too Soon combines grief and the healing aspects of after-death communication from the perspective of a young widow.
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Seniors in Love: A Second Chance for Single, Divorced, and Widowed Seniors
by Robert Wolley
Deals with the emotional, financial, physical, and other relevant issues facing seniors when considering a new, intimate relationship. Topics covered include: What is love? Should one fall in love again – at an advanced age? What will the children say? What rewards are possible? What happens when love fails? How does one express, and receive love? Do seniors love, and make love differently?
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The Widower’s Journey: Helping Men Rebuild After Their Loss
by Herb Knoll
Written by a widower whose wife died in 2008, Knoll wrote this book which includes interviews from over 40 widowers.
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The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion
Author and novelist Joan Didion writes about the sudden death of her husband, author John Gregory Dunne in December 2003. “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.” In the middle of a conversation that the author and her husband of 40 years were having, John Donne suffered a fatal coronary. Both of them had just returned from the hospital where their daughter was in a coma. Their daughter died four months later at the age of 30. Didion writes how painfully difficult it was to make sense of it all and keep on living and writing.
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For Grieving Parents:
For Grieving Grandparents:
Grandparents Cry Twice: Help for Bereaved Grandparents
by Mary Lou Reed
A book about grandparents’ dual sorrow when a grandchild dies. They cry for their lost grandchild and they also cry for the terrible grief they see their own child having to bear. The author, Mary Lou Reed, writes of her experiences when her beloved grandson, Alex, died. Through her personal story she touches the universal in all grandparents’ grief.
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For Grieving Friends:
Friendgrief: An Absence Called Presence
by Harold Ivan Smith
This book not only examines friend grief from a theoretical and clinical framework, but also Smith offers fascinating vignettes from the lives of well-known friendgrievers such as Elton John, Diane Sawyer, Ralph Abernathy, C. S. Lewis, Harry Truman, Tommy Lasorda, Jimmy Carter, Fritz Mondale, Bill Clinton, Calvin Trillin, and Alan King. The author includes moving narratives of numerous individuals who have never gained notoriety but have become seasoned friendgrievers.
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