Below is a list of reading materials that deal with grief, loss and surviving after losing a loved one to suicide. Books are organized by suicide survivor specific topics.

KEY: ♥ Recommended by a group member. ♦♦ The book is available at the Collier County Library. Goodreads Rating available

“But in all of the sadness, when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking, you’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love. Grief is the proof that love is still there.” – Tessa Shaffter, Heaven Has No Regrets



My Unexpected Journey: Reflections after Losing My Son to Suicide, Written by fellow survivor and our group member Erin Blechman. , My Unexpected Journey is a collection of reflections written following the death of the author’s son, Max, to suicide in June 2020. This book about loss, mental illness, and grief is a raw look at a mother’s heart as she tries to navigate life following the loss of a beloved son and her crisis of faith that results. The author asks difficult questions, entertains serious doubts, and reminisces about both good and bad times with her son as she tries to go on living during the first year and a half following his death. It’s an authentic and vulnerable portrayal of the unexpected journey of grief in the aftermath of the worst and most traumatic experience of her life. The book is available on Amazon. Click here ♥♥♥♥

SOS A Handbook for Survivors, by Jeffrey Jackson, American Association of Suicidology. The SOS Handbook is a pocket-sized, quick-reference booklet for suicide survivors. Written by fellow survivor Jeffrey Jackson, it is brief, clear, and packed with essential information covering nearly every aspect of the survivor ordeal. A printed copy of the book is available by request by contacting Bob Riley at 239-253-6600. A digital copy is available through the American Association of Suicidology at this link Click to access SOS_handbook.pdf ♥♥♥♥


Aftermath, Picking up the Pieces After a Suicide by Gary Roe, published by Healing Resources Publishing, (2019). The unthinkable has happened, you did not choose this road. You woke up one day and found you were on it. Let Aftermath become an understanding companion for you in the days ahead. Goodreads rating 4.49/5 ♥♥♥♥

After Suicide, by John H. Hewett, published by Westminster Press, Philadelphia, PA (1980). A classic book that is outstanding in describing the experience of grief after suicide and presents positive steps that can help family and friends find strength together as they readjust and return to healthy, productive living. Also included is an anniversary memorial service with a recommitment to life. Goodreads rating 3.37/5

After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief, by Bob Baugher, Ph.D. and Jack Jordan, Ph.D., published by Robert Baugher, Ph.D., 7108 127th Place S.E., Newcastle, WA 98056-1325, (2002). This booklet was written to help you understand some of what you may experience during the next several months. We wrote this booklet with input from suicide survivors, the term commonly used for people who are surviving the death of a loved one to suicide. For now, surviving may seem like the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. Goodreads rating 3.63/5

After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief, by Bob Baugher, Ph.D. and Jack Jordan, Ph.D., published by Robert Baugher, Ph.D., 7108 127th Place S.E., Newcastle, WA 98056-1325, (2002). This booklet was written to help you understand some of what you may experience during the next several months. We wrote this booklet with input from suicide survivors, the term commonly used for people who are surviving the death of a loved one to suicide. For now, surviving may seem like the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life. Goodreads rating 3.63/5

Black Suicide: The Tragic Reality of America’s Deadliest Secret,
Alton R. Kirk, Ph.D., Beckham Publications Group, (2009.) A brief exploration of suicide in the African American community, including a chapter dedicated to first-person accounts of black survivors of suicide loss.

Bruised and Wounded: Struggling to Understand Suicide, by Ronald Rolheiser, published by Paraclete Press, Orleans, MA (2017). This book is directed towards people of faith who have the added burden of wondering about the relationship between someone who takes their own life and God. Goodreads rating 4.39/5

A Long-Shadowed Grief: Suicide and Its Aftermath, by Harold Ivan Smith, published by Cowley Publications, Cambridge, MA (2006). The author guides us on a spiritual exploration of suicide, probing shadows, secrets and silences, and brings us into a helpful light. Goodreads rating 4.11/5

Dying to Be Free, A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide, by Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch, published by Hazelden Foundation, Center City, MN (2006). With extraordinary courage and compassion, the authors break through dangerous silence, complicated emotions and brutal stigma to offer this gentle, healing guide for family members who have lost a loved one to suicide. Goodreads rating 4.07/5

The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide, Brandy Lidbeck, Gift Pub, (2016.)
The Gift of Second by therapist and suicide loss survivor Lidbeck offers hope and advice to guide survivors through the desperate time after a suicide loss. Wise and compassionate, this valuable book explores the nature of grief and trauma, helps loss survivors let go of their burden of guilt and shame, and sets them on a healthy path to healing.

Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One, Ann Smolin, John Guinan, Simon and Schuster, 1993. While each individual becomes a suicide survivor in his or her own way, there are predictable phases of pain that most survivors experience sooner or later, from the grief and depression of mourning to guilt, rage, and despair over what you have lost.You may be torturing yourself with repetitive questions such as “What if…?” Goodreads rating 3.97/5

Healing the Hurt Spirit, by Catherine Greenleaf, published by St. Dymphna Press, P.O. Box 284, Lyme, NH 03768, 603-735-4321 (2006). Daily affirmations for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. Goodreads rating 4/5

Healing after the Suicide of a Loved One, by Ann Smolin CSW and John Guinan, a Fireside Book, published by Simon & Schuster, New York, NY (1993). A very informative book that provides suicide survivors with insights into the emotional responses they may be experiencing. The authors are direct and honest as they offer support, hope, and permission to go on with life. Goodreads rating 3.91/5

Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans, Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., and Amy Alexander, Beacon Press, (2001.)
One of only a few books addressing suicide and mental health problems within the African American community.

Mourning after Suicide, by Lois A. Bloom, published by The Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, OH (1986). The author lost her son to suicide. This easy-to-read 24-page booklet is an excellent introduction for someone newly bereaved. It normalizes the grief and the reference to spirituality is gentle and noninvasive. Goodreads rating 3.75/5

Reaching Out After Suicide: What’s Helpful and What’s Not, Linda H. Kilburn, M.S.W., (2008.) Available from KP Associates, LLC ( A clinical hospice social worker and survivor of her daughter’s suicide, Kilburn offers practical advice for well-meaning friends and family who want to reach out and be supportive after suicide but aren’t sure what to do or say.

Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief, by Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., published by Chellehead Works, Albuquerque, NM, 505-266-3134 (2010). The grief journey following a suicide loss is not a quick and easy path. Because people are unique, as are the life experiences of individuals, the road can open up in several ways for each person. No one travels the same way, Michelle Linn-Gust, also the author of Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling guides the family unit with a road map to navigate suicide grief as individuals and also as part of the family unit with the ultimate goal of strengthening the family even after a devastating suicide loss. Goodreads rating 3/5

Shades of Blue, Writers on depression, suicide, and feeling blue, Edited by Amy Ferris, published by Seal Press, New York, NY (2015). The silent epidemic of depression affects millions of people and takes dozens of lives everyday, while our culture grapples with a stigma against open discussion of mental health issues. Editor Amy Ferris has collected these stories to illuminate the truth behind that stigma and offer compassion, solidarity, and hope for all those who have struggled with depression. Goodreads rating 3.96/5 ♥♥

Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide, by Christopher Lucas and Henry M. Seiden, Ph.D., published by Bantam Books, New York, NY (1989). A survivor and a psychologist offer support and advice for getting past the grief—and moving on. This book also deals with the multitude of reasons people don’t talk about suicide. One of the authors, Christopher Lucas, lost his mother to suicide. Goodreads rating 3.87/5

Suicide Survivors’ Handbook, Trudy Carlson, Benline Press, (2000) (expanded edition). Providing specific suggestions and practical advice from other survivors, the author addresses the following questions: Why? What about shame and guilt? How long does the pain last? What helps? How do you deal with others?

Survivors of Suicide, Rita Robinson and Phyllis Hart, New Page Books,( 2001.)
A compilation of advice and loss survivor stories.

Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing after Loss, by Michael F. Myers and Carla Fine, published by Gotham Books, New York, NY (2006). In this definitive guidebook, the authors combine their perspectives as a physician and a survivor to offer compassionate and practical advice to anyone affected by suicide. Goodreads rating 4.22/5

The Gift of Second, by Brandy Lidbeck, published by Gift Pub, Grass Valley, CA (2016). After a suicide, loved ones painfully struggle to make sense of the unexplainable tragedy. The Gift of Second comes alongside loss survivors and helps navigate the common pitfalls for those left behind. It offers encouragement and hope to guide survivors through this desperate time. Goodreads rating 4.47/5 more at

Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss — A Guided Journey, Robert E. Lesoine and Marilynne Chopel, Parallax Press,( 2013.) Based on a journal Lesoine kept following the loss of his best friend, this book also offers tools and techniques which provide survivors with effective new means to face their own experience. After each brief chapter of the author’s story, revealing a particular stage or action in the aftermath of a suicide, readers are invited through a series of related questions to reflect on their own experiences and memories in order to facilitate a transformative healing process.

Voices of Healing and Hope: Conversations on Grief after Suicide, Iris Bolton, Bolton Press Atlanta, (2017.) Includes DVD of interviews. Through an informal survey of family members impacted by suicide, Iris Bolton, author of My Son…My Son: A Guide to Healing after Death, Loss, or Suicide, identified eight issues that were among the most difficult for suicide loss survivors to cope with: why, guilt, shame, anger, pain, fear, depression, and faith. This poignant book includes the stories of more than twenty-five loss survivors as they relate to these challenges.

Where Reasons End, Yiyun Li, Random House, (2019) A brilliant writer imagines a fictional conversation between a mother and the teenage son she lost to suicide. Yiyun Li confronts grief and transforms it into art, in a book of surprising beauty and love. ♥♥ Goodreads rating 3.73/5

Why Suicide? Questions and Answers about Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know, Eric Marcus, HarperOne, (2010) (revised edition).
Eric Marcus, who lost both his father and sister-in-law to suicide, addresses the myriad questions with which loss survivors are inevitably left in the wake of a loved one’s suicide. The Q&A format is accessible, informative, and reassuring.

The Wilderness of Suicide Grief: Finding Your Way, Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Companion Press, (2010.) Using the metaphor of grief as a wilderness, this guidebook, written by a grief counselor, offers ten wisdom teachings, including being open to the presence of loss, misconceptions about suicide and grief, and reaching out for help. The author also offers an expanded version titled Understanding Your Grief: Ten Touchstones of Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart, and the companion workbook, The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal.


A Mother’s Story, by Gloria Vanderbilt, published by Plume, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, NY (1996). Gloria Vanderbilt’s son died by suicide at the age of 22. Her book tells the story of his life and death, and the story of her life and struggles to live on after that death. ♥♥ Goodreads rating 3.64/5

Ben’s Story: The Depression, ADHD, and Anxiety Disorder That Caused His Suicide, by Trudy Carlson, published by Benline Press, 118 N 60th Ave. East, Duluth, MN 55804 (1998). A mother shares the profoundly moving story of her son’s life that illustrates the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorder that led to his suicide death at age 14. The book also includes 17 pages of valuable information useful for recognizing and treating at-risk individuals.

Everything to Live For, by Susan White-Bowden, published by Gateway Press (1993). The author lost her son and husband to suicide. It is a deeply honest, courageous account of what happened and of the painful lessons that came too late to help her son, but that can surely help others. A moving and compelling book. Goodreads rating 4.31/5

My Son, My Son: A Guide to Healing After a Suicide in the Family, by Iris Bolton with Mitchell C. Bolton, published by Bolton Press, 1325 Belmore Way N.E., Atlanta, GA 30338 (1983). A therapist shares the story of the suicide of her son, a compelling, powerful and informative book about suicide, grief, survival, and hope that will profoundly touch the heart and provide new insights for everyone. Goodreads rating 4.69/5

Prayers for Bobby—A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son, by Leroy Aarons, published by HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY (1995). Unable to reconcile his gay sexual orientation with his family’s religious and moral beliefs, Bobby had leaped to his death from a freeway bridge in 1983. He left a daily diary covering the last four years of his life, and along with the companion tale of his mother, Mary, a blue-collar suburban housewife, this book was able to be written. Goodreads rating 4.26/5

Sanity & Grace—A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Strength, by Judy Collins, published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/ Penguin a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, NY (2006). The author, singer Judy Collins, wrote this book to shed more light upon the dark taboo of suicide. The suicide of her son was devastating beyond words, yet she managed to put everything she knew or read or heard or thought about suicide into words, for her own healing as well as that of others. Goodreads rating 3.96/5

Stronger Than Death, When Suicide Touches Your Life, by Sue Chance, M.D., published by W.W. Norton & Co., New York, NY (1992). A psychiatrist shares the life and suicide death of her only child and her personal struggle to cope with this tragic event. Goodreads rating 4.30/5

Suicide of a Child, Adina Wrobleski, Centering Corp., (2002.) A basic guide for early bereavement after your child’s suicide that offers comforting, compassionate, easy-to-read observations and personal messages.

Surviving suicide: searching for “normal” with heartache & humor -: a mostly true story / by Deena Baxter, published by Herndon, VA Mascot Books (2014) A son gives back the gift of life and launches the author on a mission-a search for normal and who gets to decide. A Local author attempts to use humor to illuminate suicide. ♦♦

When Suicide Comes Home—A Father’s Diary and Comments, by Paul Cox, published by Bolton Press, Atlanta, GA (2002). Paul Cox, a truck driver by trade, wrote his first book at night sitting in the cab of his truck, devastated by the suicide death of his son in 1998. This is a man’s book, emotional and candid, full of plain talk and an indomitable spirit.


After a Parent’s Suicide: Helping Children Heal, by Margo Requarth, published by Healing Hearts Press, Sebastopol, CA (2006). This is a “how-to” guide for parent survivors: how to manage both the immediate and long- term implications of suicide, how to talk to your children, how to see them through the heart-rending anguish to a place of acceptance, healing.

After a Suicide, Young People Speak Up, by Susan Kuklin, published by G. P. Putnam & Sons, New York, NY (1994). A variety of stories, offering great insight into young people’s experiences and reactions to suicide.

After a Suicide Death: An Activity Book for Grieving Kids, The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, (2001.) Available through the Dougy Center. This activity book was designed specifically for children coping with a suicide loss. It provides creative exercises, offers practical advice, and incorporates quotations from children ranging in age from four to fourteen.

After a Parent’s Suicide: Helping Children Heal, Margo Requarth, Healing Hearts Press, (2006.)

But I Didn’t Say Goodbye: For Parents and Professionals Helping Child Suicide Survivors,
Barbara Rubel, Griefwork Center, (2000.) Narrated by a child, this book is intended for adults to read and then share with children.

Conversations of Courage: A Caregiver-Guided Activity Journal for the Child of Suicide Loss,
Erika Barber, MAT, CCLS, AFSP Illinois Chapter, 2016. To order Conversations of Courage, email This 81-page interactive workbook encourages and facilitates healthy and truthful conversations between an adult caregiver and a child, meaning-making, and emotional expression following the loss of a loved one to suicide.

Crossing 13: Memoir of a Father’s Suicide, by Carrie Stark Hugus, published by Affirm Publications, LLC (2008). This story is a captivating coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old girl whose life is instantly altered upon finding her father deceased from suicide. Goodreads rating 4.4/5

Dead Reckoning: A Therapist Confronts His Own Grief, by David C. Treadway, published by BasicBooks, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY (1996). A mother’s suicide and how it affected her husband and four children, including the author. Through his own therapy, he comes to understand her depression and how it affected the rest of his family. This openhearted book is an inspiration for all who struggle with unresolved grief.

In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide, by Nancy Rappaport, published by Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Book Group, New York, NY (2009). In 1963, Nancy Rappaport’s mother died by suicide after a bitter public divorce and custody battle. Nancy was just 4 years old and the youngest of 6 children. Growing up in a blended family of 11 children after her father remarried, Nancy was bewildered about why her mother took her own life and left her behind. Years later, encouraged by her own children’s curiosity about their grandmother and fortified by her training as a child psychiatrist, Nancy began to investigate her mother’s life and the mysteries surrounding her death. ♥♥ ♦♦

My Uncle Keith Died, Carol Ann Loehr, Trafford Publishing, (2006.) Written in clear, simple language easily understood by children, this book offers hope and practical methods to explain suicide to children. It explains the difference between sadness and depression and describes how chemical imbalances in the brain cause illnesses that can result in suicide.

Someone I Love Died by Suicide: A Story for Child Survivors and Those Who Care for Them,
Doreen Cammarata, Grief Guidance, (2000.) An illustrated book explaining depression and suicide in child-friendly language.

Supporting Children after a Suicide Loss: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers, Sarah Montgomery, LCSW-C, and Susan Coale, LCSW-C, Chesapeake Life Center, 2014.
This unique book provides parents and caregivers with helpful information to better understand and communicate with children grieving a loss to suicide with a special focus on child development and how to talk with children of various ages.

Understanding Suicide, Supporting Children, The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families, (2011.) Available through the Dougy Center. This 24-minute film provides insight into the emotions and experiences that children, teens, and families affected by a suicide death often go through, and offers ways to help. The DVD and guide are a resource for training purposes, or for general viewing by parents, therapists, counselors, and others.

Voices of Strength: Sons and Daughters of Suicide Speak Out, by Judy Zionts Fox, RN, LSW, and Mia Roldan, published by New Horizon Press, P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931 (2009). The process for this book mirrors the message that the authors’ book gives: that even when you’re faced with a difficult task, one that you don’t think you’re experienced enough or emotionally equipped to handle, you can achieve so much fulfillment from your efforts. Asking for and receiving help from others will all lead you to where you eventually want to be. Goodreads rating 4.05/5


The Dawning of a New Day, a Journey Out of Darkness, by Carolyn M. Deleon, published by Inkwater Press, Portland, OR (2004). After her disabled husband died by suicide, the author called on her Christian faith to help herself heal.

No Time to Say Goodbye, Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One, by Carla Fine, published by Doubleday, New York, NY (1997). The author shares her own journey of grief following the suicide death of her physician husband. She also integrates the voices of others who have endured the desolation of a loved one’s suicide.

Our Forever Angel, by Barb Scholz, published by 1st Books Library (2002). Barb shares the experience of her husband’s suicide death, what worked and did not work for her to be able to survive. The techniques she used to help her children cope with their loss are extremely valuable.

She Never Said Good-bye, One Man’s Journey through Loss, by Robert Dykstra, published by Harold Shaw Publishers, Wheaton, IL (1989). This book reflects the range of emotions, questions, and wrestlings the author, a minister, experienced following his wife’s sudden suicide. While its central focus is grief and loss, it also explores husband/wife relationships, loving and being loved and God’s infinite mercy and pervasive grace.


After, Francis Chalifour, Tundra, (2005.) Nominated for the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Awards in 2005, this autobiographical novel tells the story of 15-year-old Francis, whose father took his own life. It explores Francis’s struggles with guilt, anger, and profound sadness, and his search for hope, during the first year after his father’s suicide.

After a Suicide: Young People Speak Up, Susan Kuklin, Putnam Publishing Group, (1994.) Nine personal accounts of survivors, many of whom are teens. Each account focuses on a specific topic, such as losing a parent, losing a sibling, seeking therapy, or using support groups.

I Was Here, Gayle Forman, Speak, (2016.) Gayle Forman’s poignant young adult novel follows Cody’s search to understand why her friend Meg ended her life. The publisher describes the book as “a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.”


Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling, by Michelle Linn-Gust, M.S., published by Bolton Press, Atlanta, GA (2001). Regardless of age, sibling suicide survivors, the forgotten mourners, will find identity, comfort, and encouragement in this poignant recount of the author’s grief journey following her sister’s suicide.

Surviving Bill, by Mike Reynolds, published by iUniverse, Inc., Lincoln, NE (2007). As a survivor of his brother’s suicide, the author knows the pain and confusion attached to loss and the immeasurable ways it changed his life. Going beyond the typical narratives on the five stages of grief, on religion or on counseling, this book shares those “ordinary” moments in his life that moved his healing forward, be they relationships, synchronistic moments or even his love of surfing.


Living When a Young Friend Commits Suicide—Or Even Starts Talking About It, by Earl A. Grollman and Max Malikow, published by Beacon Press, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-2892 (1999). This book discusses why people commit suicide, how to deal with the various emotions caused by the suicide of someone you know, how to help someone suicidal, religious issues and popular misconceptions about suicide.


Men & Grief: A Guide for Men Surviving the Death of a Loved One and a Resource for Caregivers and Mental Health Professionals, Carol Staudacher, New Harbinger Publications, (1991.) Separate chapters address bereavement experienced during boyhood, adolescence, and adulthood, as well as a chapter on the effect of alcohol abuse on grief. While the book does include some discussion of bereavement after suicide, the focus is on the male experience of bereavement more generally.

Men Don’t Cry… Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief, Terry L. Martin and Kenneth J. Doka, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, (2000.) Part of Robert Neimeyer’s “Death, Dying, and Bereavement Series,” this book is best suited for mental health professionals and others interested in exploring the theoretical and clinical aspects of gender-typical grief. While not specific to suicide loss, the book addresses the impact of socialization and culture on how individuals experience loss.

Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback’s Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss, Eric Hipple, with Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley, Quality of Life Publishing, (2008.) Former NFL quarterback for the Detroit Lions, Eric Hipple, candidly shares his experience of living through his fifteen-year-old son’s suicide, his own lifelong struggle with depression, and the difficult path that led him to ultimately seek treatment.

Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, Thomas R. Golden, Golden Healing Publishing, (1996.) Written by a licensed clinical social worker, this book explores the stereotypically masculine experience of grief. In the author’s words, “[a] man reading these pages will find a book that honors the uniqueness of a man’s path toward healing. A woman reading this book will benefit not only from gaining a deeper understanding of the men in her life she will [also] find herself in these pages.”

When a Man Faces Grief/a Man You Know Is Grieving: 12 Ideas for Helping Him Heal from Loss, by James E. Miller and Thomas R. Golden, published by Willowgreen Publishing, 10351 Dawson’s Creek Blvd., Suite B, Fort Wayne, IN 46825, 260-490-2222 (1998). James E. Miller is a clergyman, grief counselor, writer, and photographer. Thomas Golden is a practicing psychologist and writer. This is two books in one: one half is for men who are grieving, with 12 helpful suggestions, each a chapter by itself. The other half is for those who want to understand and help men who are grieving, also in 12 short, helpful chapters.

When Suicide Comes Home: A Father’s Diary and Comments, Paul Cox, Bolton Press (2002.) A father’s perspective on the first year following his son’s suicide, this book is written in a simple, straightforward style, making it easy reading for early grief. Though written from a father’s perspective, female readers (especially spouses) have said that the book helped them to better understand the male experience of grief.


Dead Reckoning: A Therapist Confronts His Own Grief, David C. Treadway, BasicBooks, (1996.) Now a successful family therapist, the author was just twenty when his mother, a longtime alcoholic, took her own life. Even as he counsels his clients on how to deal with death, loss, and grief, he finds himself increasingly unable to manage his own. Turning to his own therapist for help, Treadway brings the reader along on his journey of healing as he finally comes to terms with his mother’s death.

Grief after Suicide: Understanding the Consequences and Caring for the Survivors, John R. Jordan, Ph.D., and John McIntosh, Ph.D. (Eds.), Routledge, (2011.) Combining research literature, clinical theory, and extensive practical experience working with survivors of suicide loss, two of the field’s leading experts offer a comprehensive, professionally-oriented exploration of bereavement after suicide. Topics include interventions to provide bereavement care for survivors and the development of research, clinical, and programmatic agendas for future efforts.

Suicide and Its Aftermath: Understanding and Counseling the Survivors, Edward Dunne, John McIntosh, and Karen Dunne-Maxim (Eds.), W.W. Norton, (1987.) This compilation of articles and essays captures many aspects of the experience of surviving a suicide loss. Although written by and for professional counselors, its readable style makes the book appropriate for the general public as well.

Therapeutic and Legal Issues for Therapists Who Have Survived a Client Suicide: Breaking the Silence, Kayla Miriyam Weiner, The Haworth Press, (2005.) This unique volume explores the firsthand experiences of “clinician-survivors” — mental health professionals who have lost clients and patients to suicide.


Bringing Death to Life: An Uplifting Exploration of Living, Dying, the Soul Journey and the Afterlife by Patricia Scanlan, Dr. Mary Helen Hensley, Aidan Store, Pamela Young, published by Rainbow Ridge, Virginia Beach, VA (2019). The authors shine a light into an area that they believe needs to become part of the ordinary conversation of life, not to be feared or avoided in our communications, but recognized, understood, accepted: death. Goodreads rating 3.83/5 ♥♥♥

Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler, published by Scribner (2019). In this groundbreaking new work, David Kessler—an expert on grief and the coauthor with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of the iconic On Grief and Grieving—journeys beyond the classic five stages to discover a sixth stage: meaning. Goodreads rating 4.41/5 ♥♥♥

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working through Grief by Martha W. Hickman, published by Bantam, New York, NY (1991). For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, here are thoughtful words to strengthen, inspire, and comfort. Goodreads rating 4.49/5 ♥♥♥

How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies, Luisville, KY (2017). in this compassionate, comprehensive guide, Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., bereavement specialist and author of Loss And Anticipatory Grief, leads you gently through the painful but necessary process of grieving.. Goodreads rating 4.1/5

It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok, by Megan Devine. Published by Sounds True, Luisville, KY (2017). Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we help others who have endured tragedy. Goodreads rating 4.44/5 ♥♥♥

I Wish I Knew by Donna Ashworth. Published by Black & White Publishing, Edinburgh, UK (Apri 28, 2022) I Wish I Knew is a collection of poems to guide us through the wilderness of life, navigating grief, body image, emotions, mental health and personal growth.Goodreads rating 4.34/5 ♥♥♥

The Beauty of What Remains by Rabbi Steve Leder. Published by Avery Group, New York, NY (2022) As the senior rabbi of one of the largest synagogues in the world, Steve Leder has learned over and over again the many ways death teaches us how to live and love more deeply by showing us not only what is gone but also the beauty of what remains.Goodreads rating 4.48/5 ♥♥♥

The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss, Published by Harper One, New York, NY (2022) by Mary-Frances O’Connor. A renowned grief expert and neuroscientist shares groundbreaking discoveries about what happens in our brain when we grieve, providing a new paradigm for understanding love, loss, and learning. Goodreads rating 3.86/5 ♥♥♥

The Grief Club: The Secret to Getting Through All Kinds of Change by Melodie Beattie, published by Hazelden Publishing, Center City, MN (2009). A profoundly personal, powerfully healing book to help readers through life’s most losses including death, divorce and more. Goodreads rating 3.98/5 ♥♥♥ ♦♦

The Wild Edge of Sorrow, by Francis Weller, Michael Lerner, published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA (2015). Noted psychotherapist Francis Weller provides an essential guide for navigating the deep waters of sorrow and loss in this lyrical yet practical handbook for mastering the art of grieving. Goodreads rating 4.43/5 ♥♥♥


An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Alfred A. Knopf, (1995.) In this memoir, an international authority on bipolar disorder describes her own struggle since adolescence with the disorder, and how it has shaped her life.

Darkness Visible, William Styron, Random House, (1990.) A powerful and moving first-hand account of what depression feels like to the sufferer. Goodreads rating 3.95/5 ♥♥

Demystifying Psychiatry: A Resource for Patients and Families, Charles Zorumski and Eugene Rubin, Oxford University Press, (2010.) Two psychiatrists explain modern-day psychiatry, including the mental illnesses most closely associated with suicide risk, in this straightforward primer intended for a lay audience.

Devastating Losses: How Parents Cope with the Death of a Child to Suicide or Drugs, William Feigelman, Ph.D., John Jordan, Ph.D., John McIntosh, Ph.D., Beverly Feigelman, LCSW, Springer Publishing, (2012.) This book provides useful avenues for future research on suicide loss and offers new insights into the grief process that follows the death of a child, both in the short term and years after a loss.  Please note that, given its academic tone, the book is better suited to clinicians and educators than to recently bereaved lay readers.

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Alfred A. Knopf, (1999.) Kay Redfield Jamison’s in-depth psychological and scientific exploration of suicide traces the network of reasons underlying suicide, including the factors that interact to cause suicide, and outlines the evolving treatments available through modern medicine.

No One Saw My Pain: Why Teens Kill Themselves, Andrew Slaby and Lili Frank Garfinkle, W.W. Norton, (1995.) This book looks at many examples of adolescent suicide and explores the complex factors that may contribute to it.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Andrew Solomon, Scribner, (2001.) Winner of the National Book Award, this book shares the author’s story of chronic depression and places depression in a broader social context.

November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide, (George Howe Colt, Scribner, 2006.) From National Book Award finalist George Howe Colt comes this comprehensive, 500+ page scholarly exploration of suicide. Based on in-depth reporting and case studies, and extensively footnoted, the book considers suicide from cultural, historical, biological, and psychological perspectives. This book is recommended for survivors who are further along in their grief. Newly bereaved survivors may find it overwhelming. Goodreads rating 4.07/5 ♦♦

Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It,
J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D., John Wiley & Sons, (2002.)
A comprehensive, user-friendly guide to depression, including the latest research in brain chemistry, psychology, and pharmacology. ♦♦

The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time (Alex Korb, New Harbinger Publications, 2015) Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you down into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. Based in the latest research in neuroscience, this audiobook offers dozens of little things you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life. Goodreads rating 4.26/5 ♥♥

Why People Die by Suicide, Thomas Joiner, Ph.D., Harvard University Press, (2005).
Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, the author, who lost his father to suicide, identifies three factors that mark those most at risk of considering, attempting, or dying by suicide. Goodreads rating 4/5 ♦♦


Some of our survivors find reading about the afterlife and near-death experiences helpful in their grief journey. Below is a list of books they recommend.

Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani, published by Hay House, Carlsbad, CA (2014). An irrefutable account of a woman’s life-changing, near-death experience that illuminates what awaits us and our loved ones on the other side.  Goodreads rating 4.16/5♥♥♥ ♦♦

Dying to Wake Up, A Doctor’s Voyage into the Afterlife and the Wisdom He Brought Back by Rajiv Parti M.D. and Raymond Moody Jr. M.D. Ph.D., Published by Atria Books, Hillsboro, OR (2017) A rare glimpse into heaven, hell, and previous lives—Dr. Rajiv Parti’s near-death experience brought him on a journey through the afterworld, leading to a spiritual awakening that transformed his career, his lifestyle, and his most fundamental beliefs. ♥

Facing Darkness, Finding Light: Life after Suicide by Steffany Barton, Published by Findhorn Press, Rochester, VT (2012). With personal passion and professional integrity, Steffany carefully listens to the voices of departed souls and compassionately speaks to those left behind, building a bridge of timeless love between heaven and earth. Those who commit suicide communicate clearly and lovingly from a place of unconditional Love where their souls dwell on the Other Side. ♥

Ghosts Among Us: Uncovering the Truth About the Other Side by JamesVan Praagh, Published by Harper One, San Francisco, CA (2009) From a very young age James Van Praagh was aware of a dimension that most of us cannot see, and he has dedicated his life to explaining it to the rest of us. The New York Times bestseller Ghosts Among Us takes us on an incredible journey into the spirit world that brings to light one of our greatest mysteries—what happens to us after we die? ♥ ♦♦

Growing Up in Heaven: The Eternal Connection Between Parent and Child by JamesVan Praagh, Published by Harper One, San Francisco, CA (2012). A heartwarming, visionary confirmation of our deepest hopes and wishes for the children who have gone ahead of us to their great reward.♥ ♦♦

I’m Still with You: True Stories of Healing Grief Through Spirit Communication by Carole Obley, Published by 6th Books (2009). A collection of compelling, true stories of after-death communication from the experiences of psychic medium Carole J. Obley. These inspiring examples open our hearts and minds by convincingly demonstrating how contact with the spirit world can be a catalyst in healing grief. ♥

Journey of Souls Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton, PhD., Published by Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN (1994) Learn the latest details and most recent groundbreaking discoveries that reveal, for the first time, the mystery of life in the spirit world after death on Earth―proof that our consciousness survives. ♥

Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives by Dr. Brian Weiss, Published by Fireside, Wichita, KS (1988) The true case of the past-life therapy that changed the lives of both the prominent psychiatrist and young patient involved—now featuring a new afterword by the author. ♥ ♦♦

Memories of Heaven: Children’s Astounding Recollections of the Time Before They Came to Earth by Wayne W. Dyer, Published by Hay House, Carlsbad, CA (2015). It seems that infants and toddlers often arrive here with memories of their lifetimes in the spirit world and frequently provide evidence of this to their immediate families. They tell of dialogues with God, give evidence that they themselves had a hand in picking their own parents. Goodreads rating 3.95/5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♦♦

My Life After Death: A Memoir from Heaven by Eric and Elisa Medhus M.D., Published by Atria Books/Beyond Words, Hillsboro, OR (2015) My Life After Death begins on the tragic day when Erik Medhus took his own life. What follows is a moment-by-moment account of the spiritual life he discovers on the other side—told for the very first time in his own words as channeled by medium Jamie Butler and then transcribed by his mother Elisa. ♥ ♦♦

My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side by Elisa Medhus M.D., Published by Atria Books/Beyond Words, Hillsboro, OR (2013) An emotional journey through grief to healing and skepticism to belief—discover the answers that will change your life forever. ♥

Promised by Heaven: A Doctor’s Return from the Afterlife to a Destiny of Love and Healing by Mary Helen Hensley, Published by Atria Books, Hillsboro, OR (2015) A moving and inspirational memoir of love, loss, and renewal, Promised by Heaven tells the amazing story of how one woman’s near-death experience and glimpse of heaven led her to discover her gifts of healing and share them with the world. ♥ ♦♦

Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, Published by Simon & Schuster, NY, NY (2012). The #1 New York Times bestselling account of a neurosurgeon’s own near-death experience—for readers of 7 Lessons from Heaven. ♥ ♦♦

Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot by Bruce Leininger, Published by Grand Central Publishing, NY, NY (2010). The parents of James Leininger were first puzzled and then disturbed when their two-year-old son began screaming out chilling phrases during recurrent nightmares, such as, “Plane on fire! Little man can’t get out!” The centerpiece of a loving family of three, James was a happy, playful toddler who had only just begun stringing together sentences. Determined to understand what was happening to their son, Bruce and Andrea set off on a journey of discovery that was to rock them to their core.♥ ♦♦

To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story Summary & Study Guide by Mary C. Neal, Published WaterBrook, (2012). Mary Neal and her husband went on a kayaking trip to Chile with friends. Mary, alone in her own boat, got pinned underwater and experienced a near-death experience during which she talked to souls and angels and felt the presence of God. But her work on earth wasn’t complete and she returned. ♥ ♦♦

Your Souls Plan by Eben Alexander, Published by Robert Schwartz, Frog Books, India (2009). Your Soul’s Plan explores the premise that we are all eternal souls who plan our lives, including our greatest challenges, before we are born for the purpose of spiritual growth. Through compelling profiles of people who knowingly planned the experiences mentioned above, Your Soul’s Plan shows that suffering is not purposeless, but rather imbued with deep meaning.♥

KEY: ♥ Recommended by a group member.  ♦♦ The book is available at the Collier County Library.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, you are not alone. There are local resources to help you move toward healing.