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Review: three books on grief and loss

Pauline Vedelago reviewed three books which she found helpful with her grief following the loss of her husband four years ago. 

Coping with Grief book

Coping with Grief by Mal McKissock & Dianna McKissock 

A dear friend that I met in hospital, whose husband was receiving treatment at the same time as my husband, said she wished she had found this book while she was walking out the door after her husband died. I tend to agree. This book is a tremendous first book to read and gives a very uncomplicated and concise description of coping with the grief process, providing information on the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects and what to expect. It explains some gender differences in coping with grief which I would think would be helpfuI to many.   

Resilient Grieving

Resilient Grieving by Dr Lucy Hone

I loved this book and it is the one I would recommend if you just wanted one book to read that offers a bit more information than the previous one. The author speaks from her own tragic experience, after losing her daughter but was already working in the area of resilience psychology. She gives so many practical examples as well as latest research about managing loss and grief, but put forward in an interesting and understandable style. I particularly liked all the suggestions offered that she used with her own family, and also the section on what others can do to help. I found this book provided hope when you feel so much despair.  

Grief recovering handbookThe Grief Recovery Handbook by John W James and Russell Friedman

This is an American book and it offers a program with practical steps that the authors have used and modified over many years. Although designed as a group program, it is possible to do this alone or with a partner. I found it quite helpful to follow this with my counsellor. It does involve homework, (no one likes homework!), however, it was helpful with cementing learnings. Practical and thoughtful exercises with thinking about other past ‘incomplete” losses help with understanding their ongoing influence on your life. I really connected with the term the ‘academy award recoverer’ as it perfectly described what I was attempting, trying to make other people feel comfortable so they would still want to be around me.    


Need to talk? We encourage you to call the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420 or email to be put in touch with one of our grief support team staff.