Newly Widowed? Start here
Are you newly widowed? Or are you supporting somebody who has just experienced loss? Click here for some practical tips for the immediate aftermath of loss curated by our widow/ers.
If you are searching for more resources to help guide you through grief, here are some books we, and our listeners have found helpful. We recommend you purchase them directly from the author when able, If you do purchase them through the link, we will receive a small commission.
Grief, Resilience, Trauma, Science
The Body Keeps the Score, uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity.
Combining the science of emotional trauma with concrete psychological techniques— including dream interpretation, journaling, mindfulness exercises, and meditation—Shulman’s frank and empathetic account will help readers regain their emotional balance by navigating the passage from profound sorrow to healing and growth.
Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” This book explores the science of behavior as it relates to traumatic experiences. Which all widows have!
Why does our culture treat grief like a disease to be cured as quickly as possible?
In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy.
Bearing the Unbearable is a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the very essence of our shared humanity. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore—bereavement educator, researcher, Zen priest, and leading counselor in the field—accompanies us along the heartbreaking path of love, loss, and grief.
If you’re suffering form anxiety but not sure why, or if you’re struggling with loss and looking for solace, Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief offers help — and answers. Significant loss and unresolved grief are primary underpinnings of anxiety, something that grief expert Claire Bidwell Smith discovered in her own life and in her practice with her therapy clients.
The death of someone we hold dear may be inevitable; being paralyzed by our grief is not. A growing body of research has revealed our capacity for resilient grieving, our innate ability to respond to traumatic loss by finding ways to grow—by becoming more engaged with our lives, and discovering new, profound meaning.
For most of his life, Kessler taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about end of life, trauma, and grief, as well as leading talks and retreats for those experiencing grief. Despite his knowledge, his life was upended by the sudden death of his twenty-one-year-old son. How does the grief expert handle such a tragic loss? He knew he had to find a way through this unexpected, devastating loss, a way that would honor his son. That, ultimately, was the sixth stage of grief—meaning.
After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.
Death affects us all. Yet it is still the last taboo in our society, and grief is still profoundly misunderstood. Julia Samuel, a grief psychotherapist, has spent twenty-five years working with the bereaved and understanding the full repercussions of loss. In Grief Works, Samuel shares case studies from those who have experienced great love and great loss—and survived. People need to understand that grief is a process that has to be worked through, and Samuel shows if we do the work, we can begin to heal.
The Hot Young Widows Club isn’t just for people who have lost a spouse, but an essential tool for anyone who has gone through a major life struggle. Based on her own experiences and those of the listeners dedicated to her podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora offers wise, heartfelt, and often humorous advice to anyone navigating a painful period in their lives. Full of practical guidanceThis book explores the science of behavior as it relates to traumatic experiences. Which all widows have!
In this remarkably useful guide, widow, author, and therapist Genevieve Davis Ginsburg, MS, offers fellow widows – as well as their families and friends – sage advice for coping with the loss of their husbands. From learning to travel and eat alone to creating new routines to surviving the holidays and anniversaries that reopen emotional wounds, Widow to Widow walks listeners through the challenges of widowhood and encourages them on their paths to building new lives.
Leslie Gray Streeter is not cut out for widowhood. She’s not ready for hushed rooms and pitying looks. She is not ready to stand graveside, dabbing her eyes in a classy black hat. If she had her way she’d wear her favorite curve-hugging leopard print dress to Scott’s funeral; he loved her in that dress! But, here she is, having lost her soulmate to a sudden heart attack, totally unsure of how to navigate her new widow lifestyle.
When Melissa Gould’s husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed with uncertainty as Joel’s condition tragically worsened, she offered him the only thing she could: her love and devotion. Her dedication didn’t end with his death.
Life for Autumn Toelle-Jackson started out on a happy and ordinary timeline. When she entered her thirties, however, tragedy made up for lost time. Over the span of a few short years, she endured several miscarriages and the loss of her husband, a dear cousin, and child.
But one small cross-section of a life doesn’t do justice to the amount of love, resilience, growth, and blessings a person experiences after such titanic losses. With each new harbinger of grief, Toelle-Jackson was forced to discover another way to survive the pain.
Jenny Lisk had no idea what was coming. At forty-three, she had a lot going on. A full-time job. Two young kids. A home to manage.
And suddenly–a husband with inoperable brain cancer.
How could this be her life?
I spent my 11th wedding anniversary planning my husband’s funeral. If I could just figure out how to make that rhyme, it would be the beginning of a great country song.
Involuntarily single. That’s the true story of where Catherine Tidd finds herself just three weeks after turning 31. Widowed with three children under six years old, a rusty resume, no fix-it skills, and no clue how to live life as a widow, Catherine can’t help but be a little exasperated with her dead husband for leaving her to deal with life on her own.
In “My Husband Is Not a Rainbow,” Lynn gives you a front row seat into the grief tsunami (please don’t call it a ‘journey’) that busted through her young and happy marriage, shattering her world to pieces, and stealing the only life she knew. This brutally raw and often hilarious peek into one woman’s brave struggle in the aftermath of her husband’s death, and the beautiful love between them that started it all, will have you laughing, crying, and re-thinking everything you thought you knew about life, love, grief, and loss.
On a summer day in New York Jonathan Santlofer discovers his wife, Joy, gasping for breath on their living room couch. After a frenzied 911 call, an ambulance race across Manhattan, and hours pacing in a hospital waiting room, a doctor finally delivers the fateful news. Consumed by grief, Jonathan desperately tries to pursue life as he always had–writing, social engagements, and working on his art–but finds it nearly impossible to admit his deep feelings of loss to anyone, not even his to beloved daughter, Doria, or to himself.
With It’s Okay to Laugh, Nora puts a young, fresh twist on the subjects of mortality and resilience. What does it actually mean to live your “one wild and precious life” to the fullest? How can a joyful marriage contain more sickness than health? How do you keep going when life kicks you in the junk? In this deeply felt and deeply funny memoir, Nora gives her readers a true gift—permission to struggle, permission to laugh, permission to tell the truth and know that everything will be okay.
Melissa invites you into the toughest time in her life as she struggled to make decisions that would bring her the support she needed and give her sons the stable environment they craved. Her new book, Filled With Gold, was written with the help of Christine Fadden. It will be a welcome read for any parent struggling with bereavement and the challenges of moving forward.
As a hospice doctor, Bob cared daily for dying patients. At home, his wife, Jen, listened to the stories of patients and families, layering her understanding of death with the early losses of her own brother and mother. Then, the man who had spent a 40-year career caregiving was diagnosed with advanced, metastatic cancer.
An insightful blend of art and compassion, patience and endearing honesty, this book comprises Jen’s digital art journal, which chronicles this time in their marriage. What began as a visceral, self-care compulsion within days of diagnosis became notes, collages, and images revealing the raw, luminescent reflections of a caregiver-turned-widow.
Spiritual, Or Not
f you don’t believe in God or an afterlife – how do you cope with death? Accepting death is never easy. But we don’t need religion to find peace, comfort, and solace in the face of death. In this mini-audiobook collection of essays, prominent atheist author Greta Christina offers secular ways to handle your own mortality and the death of those you love. Blending intensely personal experience with compassionate, down-to-earth wisdom, Christina (Coming out Atheist and Why Are You Atheists So Angry?) explores a variety of natural philosophies of death.
Using a special hypnosis technique to reach the hidden memories of subjects, Dr. Newton discovered some amazing insights into what happens to us between lives. Journey of Soulsis the record of 29 people who recalled their experiences between physical deaths.
On Christmas Day, 1998, Lance Richardson was involved in an accident which later left him in a comatose state for several weeks. While his body was being kept alive by medical support equipment, his spirit passed into the world beyond. In “The Message,” Lance describes his experience in the world of spirits and delivers to us a message giving a greater understanding of the importance of families and the future of America.
Kids and Grief
When a young boy loses his mother, an invisible dragon swoops in and perches on top of his head. A most unwelcome guest, the dragon follows him to school, sleeps on his chest at night (making it hard for him to breathe), and even crashes his birthday party. As the boy comes to terms with his mother’s death, however, his relationship with the dragon changes in surprising ways.
Parents, educators, therapists, and social workers alike have declared The Invisible String the perfect tool for coping with all kinds of separation anxiety, loss, and grief. In this relatable and reassuring contemporary classic, a mother tells her two children that they’re all connected by an invisible string.
Straightforward and comprehensive, this indispensable book is a comforting aid to help young kids and families through a difficult time in their lives. No one can really understand death, but to children, the passing away of a loved one can be especially perplexing and troublesome.