Some of the books that I found most helpful during my grief journey are specifically about suicide grief and recovery; others are more general in nature, but all are worth reading. Please note, I receive no compensation for reviewing or listing these books. You can find them through online booksellers, author websites, and local libraries.
- The Seven T's: Finding Hope and Healing in the Wake of Tragedy by Judy Collins - Most of us are familiar with the beautiful music of Judy Collins. After her 33-year-old son's suicide in 1992, she struggled as all of us do. But then, she did what she knew how to do best. She communicated. Drawing on her own experience and conversations with hundreds of people who have grieved the tragic death of a loved one, she began to write. One of her books about loss and recovery is The Seven T's: Finding Hope and Healing in the Wake of Tragedy. Ironically, it was published just days after my husband's suicide in May 2007, and when I read it later, I found compassion and comfort and a plan for healing. The seven "T's" are Truth (don't hide it); Trust (let it happen); Therapy (find some); Treasure (cherish your love one); Thrive (live in the best way possible); Treat (nourish yourself); and Triumph (this is the goal for your new life). This is a good plan, one that may seem impossible to implement at first, yet one that is not complicated. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide will find this book easy to read and full of invaluable advice. People new to this kind of loss often ask, "How do I survive?" This book gives an answer.
- Inside the Broken Heart: Grief Understanding for Widows and Widowers by Julie Yarbrough - With gentle strength, this author writes about all of the things I wished I could sit down and talk with someone about after losing my spouse. Julie's husband was Senior Minister of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, for twenty-three years before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, dying ninety days later. Her journey through grief was also a journey through faith. She writes of a Christian's pain and joy as she shares hope found in Bible references, hope for a path through the "valley of death" to a life where "pain and sorrow are vanquished, death is rendered powerless, and grief is no more." This is a playbook for choosing life.
- Perhaps my favorite little book, Mourning After Suicide by Lois A. Bloom was given to me by the coroner, who stopped on the side of the road to talk to me where I waited for him to remove my husband's body from our home. It r is a little book but packed with wisdom in small bits that those in shock can digest when they cannot handle reading more. I clung to this book during the first days of my grief and read a tiny chapter each night. For about six months, I thought the title was Morning After Suicide because those months felt like one, long day. This man was a survivor of suicide loss, too, and knew what was needed. He set the tone for my recovery. The book is not always easy to find, but is usually available from the publisher, The Pilgrim Press. I have given many of these to new survivors. It brings me comfort that we who have endured such tragedy can be connected in that way.
- Seven Choices: taking the steps to new life after loss shatters your world by Elizabeth Harper Neeld - A sudden heart attack, like suicide and other violent deaths, leaves no time to say goodbye. As Elizabeth described finding her husband, who had gone for a six-mile run and not returned, I remembered similar shock, that frozen feeling of unreality that she endured at the very beginning. A writer, an author and English professor before and after that tragic day, her story reads like a novel except it is all too real. Her insights on perspective and the twists and turns through the garden of sorrow drill down to the heart of grief and beyond to recovery and rebuilding. Read more as this author generously shared her work with the Alliance of Hope for Survivors of Suicide Loss https://allianceofhope.org/the-grief-journey/.
- When Grief Breaks Your Heart by James W. Moore - "Grief is a natural part of life, yet no one is ever c completely prepared to deal with it. In these stories from the lives of everyday people, the author shows us how we can move from suffering into the shelter of God's love. Only sixty-three pages, this book is powerful. A simple breakdown - much the way God's love is - comforts as it leads. Grieving is so isolating. It is difficult to face our own mortality, which is what we do when we lose someone we love. It can feel like no one understands, no one knows what it's like. The world around us continues it's hectic flow, always forward. But God knows, and in his wisdom, he made us to reach out to each other. This book is a great help in taking those steps.
- Journeying Through Grief by Kenneth C. Clark - Unusual in delivery, this series of four short books are sent to those who are grieving separately during the first year after loss. Early on, A Time To Grieve handles all those first questions. The others are perfect for common emotions that occur during that first year of mourning: Experiencing Grief, Finding Hope and Healing, and Rebuilding and Remembering are used by individuals, pastors, hospitals, and business professionals to comfort those who need comfort most at the time they need it. This author is the founder of Stephen Ministries. Read more here: https://www.stephenministries.org/aboutus/default.cfm/779.