Parent Loss Resources
Nothing I write can fix your pain. But, many find that connecting with others who know this pain is the most comforting form of grief support. Your experience is incredibly unique, but you are also not alone.
Here I will be sharing resources that may help you in the coming days (and weeks, months, years). Please contact us if you have ideas of books, podcasts, essays, groups, etc. that have been helpful to you that would benefit others.
Books specific to parent-loss
Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder | A dead-mom graphic novel. Honest, funny, and relatable, this book is a good one. I particularly appreciated the pages where she recalls the initial days after her mom's death, which is an intimate period of time that people rarely talk about.
- Modern Loss by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner | Collection of essays on all types of loss, but many focus on the loss of a parent (and Rebecca and Gabi have both lost two parents).
- The Dead Moms Club by Kate Spencer | Kate's mom died when she was 27 and despite the indication of the title, this book is similarly relatable and comforting for those in the Dead Dad's Club.
- Everything is Fine by Vince Granata | Vince's younger brother killed their mother during an episode of psychosis. While few can relate to the exact circumstances of this family's tragedy, those who have lost parents, siblings or are navigating their own complicated circumstances will connect with this story and Vince's experiences. Incredibly insightful and reflective, Vince writes with incredible honesty.
The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke | Exceptionally well written, this one focuses on the end of Meghan's mom's life and the months immediately after.
- The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith | Claire, an only child, lost both parents as a young adult. Especially helpful to those who also experienced grief as a child or young adult.
Books that may also help (that are not specific to parent-loss)
- Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief by Claire Bidwell Smith
- It's OK You're Not OK by Megan Devine | A book that normalizes the grief experience. It will help you realize that whatever you're feeling is completely normal (and there's nothing wrong with you)
- The Hot Young Widows Club by Nora McInerny | Don't let the name fool you because this is a book for everyone — for those living with grief and the grief adjacent. Based off the (very) popular Ted Talk 'We don't move on from grief, we move forward with it."
- From Here to Eternity: Traveling The World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty | Caitlin has dedicated her career to demystifying death and also providing alternatives to the funeral industry. In her second book, she explores how different cultures approach death and their relationships with the deceased. Incredibly eye-opening, considering how death-phobic we are in the United States.
Books for children
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen, for children aged 4+ | While this book's cover is a bit lacking, the illustrations inside are beautiful. Bryan describes life and death poetically and how it's a universal experience for every living thing (from plants to animals to people). This is the best children's book on death I've read.
- Something Very Sad Happened by Bonnie Zucker, for children aged 2-4 | This book doesn't speak specifically to parent loss, but the message is universal and it's one of the only books geared towards very young children. The illustrations show a woman talking with a little boy about death, so if the child has lost their mother, you will want to preview the book and perhaps come up with an explanation (e.g., this little boy is talking to his aunt, or his mommy's friend, or another example that would make sense to the child).
- Michael Rosen's Sad Book by Michael Rosen | any loss, ages 5+
- Missing Mommy by Rebecca Cobb | mom loss, ages 5+
- Saying Goodbye to Daddy by Judith Vigna | dad loss, ages 5+
- The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr | any loss, 4-9
- Eddie's Brave Journey by Randi Pearlman Wolfson
- @SurvivingOurParents — Takeover style story sharing from children living without their parent(s)
- @SLAPDStories — An account for teens who have lost a parent
- @TheImaginaryLibrary — Poignant illustrations from a daughter missing her mother.
- @SketchesFromTheCave — Musing from a daughter who lost her father
- This is Actually Happening | People share, at length, about their experience living through life's most difficult moments.
- Moving Beyond with Medium Fleur and Claire Bidwell Smith. An Interesting approach where podcast guests first meet with a grief therapist, and then have a reading with a Medium. Whether you believe in mediums or not, this will certainly be interesting.
- Sorry to Hear That Podcast hosted by CJ Williams. One-on-one thoughtfully guided conversations with people who know deep grief (many guests, including the host, have lost one or both parents).
Terrible, Thanks For Asking hosted by Nora McInerny. Honest answers to the question, "How Are You?"
- Modern Loss | Collection of Essays, resources, and advice on navigating life after loss
- What’s Your Grief | Grief exploration and education - content created by two mental health professionals.
- The Dinner Party | A virtual (and in non-COVID times, in person) support group for people in their 20-40s who have experienced loss. It's not specific to Parent-Loss, but most participants have experienced the death of a parent. Chapters are across the US.
- Motherless Daughters | A book, community and resources led by Hope Edelman