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Books for adults grieving the death of a parent

  • Most of the links from the book titles below will lead you to, where you can learn more about the book, read reviews about it, and order it if you'd like. Most of these books can be purchased through other book sellers, as well, or found at your local library.

    Always Too Soon
    by Allison Gilbert
    It is a compilation of about 20 people's stories who have lost both parents.

    Death of a Parent: Transitions to a New Adult Identity
    by Debra Umberson, 2006.
    Umberson comes to some truly illuminating conclusions. This clear insightful study provides a unique combination of research-based self-help and scholarly enterprise.

    Fatherloss: How Sons of All Ages Come to Terms with the Death of their Dad
    by Neil Chethik, 2001.
    FatherLoss features up-close-and-personal profiles of father-son relationships, drawing on the author's national survey of 300 men and interviews with 70 others. Grieving, Chethik says, is part of the unique relationship between sons and fathers; it is highly subjective and dependent on the son's age at the time of his father's death.

    Finding Your Way after Your Parent Dies: Hope for Grieving Adults
    by Richard Gilbert; September, 1999.
    This compassionate guide is for those struggling with the loss of a parent. Offers practical suggestions for navigating these difficulties.

    Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves: Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families
    by David A. Stoop, 2004.
    Drs. Stoop and Masteller believe you can move beyond failure to forgiveness, cancelling the indebtedness of those who have hurt you. But before you can begin the process of forgiveness, you need to understand the roots of your pain, through exploring the family patterns that perpetuate dysfunction. When you understand your family of origin, you will be able to take the essential step of forgiveness.

    Grieving the Death of a Mother
    by Harold Ivan Smith; Augsburg Fortress Publishers, February, 2003.
    A mother’s death can make a shambles of schedules, priorities, agendas, commitments, and, sometimes, even our most important relationships. A mother’s last breath inevitably changes us. Drawing on his own experience of loss, as well as those of others, Harold Ivan Smith guides readers through their grief, from the process of dying through the acts of remembering and honoring a mother after her death.

    Healing the Adult Child’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas after Your Parent Dies
    by Alan D. Wolfelt, 2002.
    Offering heartfelt and simple advice, this book provides realistic suggestions and relief for an adult child whose parent has died. Practical advice is presented in a one-topic-per-page format that does not overwhelm with psychological language, but provides small, immediate ways to understand and reconcile grief.

    How to Survive the Loss of a Parent
    by Ackner & Whitney; Harper Paperbacks, November, 1994.
    Written for adults who are mourning the loss of a parent, this book attempts to help survivors understand how the parental relationship influenced other aspects of their lives.

    In My Mother's Kitchen : An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence
    by Robin A. Edgar; Tree House Enterprises, June, 2003.
    An introduction to the healing power of reminiscence, In My Mother's Kitchen focuses on the steps to recalling; recording and celebrating the significant memories that help the participant recognize and value the individuals and incidents that shaped their lives.

    In the Letting Go: Words to Heal the Heart on the Death of a Mother
    by Jonathon Lazear; Conari Press, March, 2006.
    When a mother dies, often the center of the family is gone. The holiday rituals, the special birthday celebrations for children and grandchildren—the memories are often held by the mother. A mother is a caretaker, a best friend, a source of sage-like wisdom. Losing her can be a traumatic experience. It is a space where you are invited to discover solace through the experiences and feelings of others—simple or profound.

    Living in the Shadow if the Ghosts of Grief
    by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D, 2007.
    Explaining how multitudes of North Americans are carrying the pain of all types of loss—not just the deaths of loved ones but also the loss of a spouse through divorce, children who leave home, and the decline of health as they age or get sick—this balanced resource empowers mourners and grief counselors to turn grief into an experience to be learned from.

    Losing a Parent: Passage to a New Way of Living
    by Alexandra Kennedy, 1991.
    Kennedy shares her own story of facing the loss of a parent and offers innovative strategies for healing and transformation.

    Losing a Parent: Practical Help for You and Other Family Members
    by Fiona Marshall, 2004.
    In Losing a Parent, Fiona Marshall helps readers understand the process of coping with a parent's death, from preparing for death to recognizing the different stages of grief, from nurturing the relationship with the surviving parent to harnessing new strength to carry on with life.

    Losing Your Parents, Finding Yourself: The Defining Turning Point of Adult Life
    by Victoria Secunda, 2001.
    Drawing on her survey of 94 people, Secunda explores how adult orphans gradually give up their old childish identity and discover their true adult selves in terms of their relationships with siblings, children, and friends.

    Midlife Orphan
    by Jane Brooks, 1999.
    The word "orphan" may make us think of a child—but even self-sufficient adults can feel the pain of "orphanhood" when their parents are suddenly gone. Complicating the natural mourning process is the fact that this loss often occurs in our thirties, forties, or fifties—as we are raising our own children, watching them leave the nest, and facing other adjustments in our lives, from our jobs to our marriages to our health.

    Nobody's Child Anymore: Grieving, Caring and Comforting When Parents Die
    by Barbara Bartocci; Sorin Books, October, 2000.
    Stories from the author's own experience of mourning the loss of two parents, as well as dozens of other stories. She leads us through four stages that most adults experience at some time: caring for a dying parent, mourning the loss, caring for the parent left behind, and finding new meaning beyond grief.

    On Love Alone: Words to Heal on the Death of a Father
    by Jonathon Lazear; Conari Press, March, 2006.
    On Love Alone is the tranquil place you've been looking for. It is a heartfelt collection of quotes, poems, and passages. On Love Alone is a book to give to others when a simple card is not enough.

    The Orphaned Adult: Confronting the Death of a Parent
    by Marc D. Angel, 1997.
    In this compassionate work, Rabbi Marc Angel addresses a universal but largely overlooked phenomenon: adult orphanhood. This book presents a thoughtful discussion of the processes of adult orphanhood, including anticipating the death of a parent, mourning the parent, and internalizing the reality of the parent's death.

    The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change after the Death of Our Parents
    by Alexander Levy, 2000.
    Incorporating his own personal experience with the accounts of others who have lost their parents, psychologist Levy examines this profound life-changing event with compassion and understanding.

    Recovering From the Loss of a Parent
    by Katherine Donnelly, 2001.
    However you choose to cope—through private, inner searching or sharing your feelings with others—this book is a companion through the process of understanding and accepting your loss.

    She Loved Me, She Loved Me Not: Adult Parent Loss after a Conflicted Relationship
    by Linda J Converse, 2001.

    When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults
    by Edward Myers, 1997.
    Offers practical information and reassurance.