Books on grief and end of life

Grief and loss is an extremely personal and often painful experience. As a culture, we don’t easily discuss these topics. As a result, this can make coping when we faced with end of life issues more difficult. Here is a selection of books by doctors and patients have found helpful in this area

* 12 Birds to Save Your Life Nature's Lessons in Happiness by Charlie Corbett  (A book recommendation from Dr Boyle)
‘I picked up the book not realising it was about grief. I found myself mesmerised by the intertwining of the comfort of birdsong, knowledge about such birds and adjusting to loss of a loved one. I couldn’t believe someone could intertwine the 2 notions with such skill. If you have lost someone close and are interested in nature this book may help and provide some solace somewhere along your grief journey.


It’s okay your’re not okay: meeting grief and loss in a culture that doesn’t understand by Megan Divine.

Megan reveals a path for navigating grief and loss not by trying to escape it, but by learning to live inside of it with more grace and strength. Through stories, research, life tips, and mindfulness-based practices, she offers a unique guide through an experience we all must face. Here she debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, "happy" life, replacing it with the skills and tools to help us experience and witness the pain of loss in ourselves and others--so we may meet our grief knowing it to be a natural step in the greater journey of love


‘Option B’ by Sherly Sandberg.

Thoughtful, honest, revealing and warm, OPTION B weaves Sandberg’s experiences coping with adversity with new findings from Adam Grant and other social scientists. The book features stories of people who recovered from personal and professional hardship, including illness, injury, divorce, job loss, sexual assault and imprisonment. These people did more than recover―many of them became stronger.



* With the End in Mind: How to Live and Die Well by Kathryn Mannix

With the End in Mind is a book for us all: the grieving and bereaved, the ill and the healthy. By turns touching and tragic, funny and wise, it tells powerful human stories of life and death.

A powerful and emotional book based on a lifetime’s clinical experience, With the End in Mind offers calm, wise advice on how to face death, live fully and find a model for hope in dark times.



*Dear Life A Doctor’s Story of Love, Loss and Consolation by Rachel Clarke

If there is a difference between people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it is simply this: that the terminally ill know their time is running out, while we live as though we have all the time in the world. Dear Life is a book about the vital importance of human connection, by the doctor we would all want by our sides at a time of crisis. It is a love letter - to a father, to a profession, to life itself. A vibrant, tender and deeply personal memoir that finds light and love in the darkest of places.


*Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

‘This is an astonishing book. That sounds like an over-the-top comment, but I have read many books on grief and the grieving experience, and unlike so many churned out by others, this one so accurately portrays the complicated experience of widows/widowers, especially with kids. It is half-poetry, half-prose, and conveys stunningly well the emotional tsunami of grief's madness while still having to take care of everyday life as a new parent without your other half.‘


Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.

In this heartbreaking delivery of hope and acceptance, a terminally ill Professor with a debilitating disease is reunited with a former student in the final chapters of life. Both learn to value friendship, to relish in the simplest delights in life and to seize the day while there is opportunity.


*Being mortal by Atul Gawinde

For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal. So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn't, where our ideas about death have gone wrong.