the best grief book

What works Wednesdays: My review of the best grief book

Hands down the best grief book I have ever read is Megan Devine’s It’s OK that You’re Not OK. What do I like about it? It validates your feelings. Truly. I find that often when we are grieving, we end up babysitting other people’s feelings. When they ask if you’re OK…do they actually want the truth or do you find yourself saying “Oh, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking”, but really you just want to say “Today sucks. I got an email from Target reminding me that my baby registry isn’t complete, and it was a slap in the face because there isn’t a baby to get gifts for!” Megan is a psychotherapist that has experienced her own loss, and has firsthand knowledge how uneducated our American culture is when it comes to grief and death. I highly recommend this book and have gifted it many times to friends and family. So here is my review of the BEST GRIEF BOOK!

My top 5 grief books

In my real-life grown-up job, I run a suicide prevention program. This means I spend quite a bit of time researching resources about grief, suicide loss, mental health, wellness, etc. If I recommend a resource, it means I have not only read it, but I probably use it and refer people to it regularly.

Here is a current list of my top 5 grief books:

  1. I don’t hide the fact I love Nora McInerny. She’s as real about grief as it gets. If you have ever experienced grief in your life, I encourage you to read No Happy Endings
  2. If you are a widow (no matter your age), I encourage you to read The Hot Young Widows Club by Nora and while you’re waiting for your book to arrive, join their group at
  3. It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine. This book is for EVERYONE. Whether you are grieving or you are supporting someone through grief, this book is a must read. I run a suicide prevention program and we include this book in our grief kits. She also has an amazing website that has fantastic resources
  4. If you are a suicide survivor of loss, this book, No Time to Say Goodbye Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One by Carla Fine speaks specifically to suicide grief.
  5. My favorite grief book for children…but really anyone grieving can find value in reading this gem, The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

This page is under constant revision since I am continuously finding great material. Check back here for updates!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

*Please note, the links on this page are affiliate links and I do earn a commission on each sale. I appreciate your support for A Thief Called Grief.*

I’d rather pay full-price since you paid the ultimate price

I’m annoyed. It’s Memorial Day and my inbox is filled with emails from stores saying the same thing in various ways…”Happy Memorial Day! Take 75% off your order!”. Two things strike me about this subject line:

  1. What about MEMORIAL Day says “happy”?
  2. What about MEMORIAL Day says “let’s shop!”
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Maybe this is the difference between my “millennial” generation and Gen Z, or maybe it’s just telling of our grief culture or lack thereof. Like many millennial’s, I grew up with grandparents that served in WWII. I spent every Memorial Day placing little flags on graves of those my grandpa served with in the Navy. I remember as a preschooler going to a Memorial Day ceremony with my family and hearing TAPS for the first time. Even as a 4 year old I knew that that somber trumpet call was something I should pay attention to. Many years later as a 22 year old attending my grandpa’s funeral, I would associate TAPS with a personal loss.

Why have we as American’s lost sight of the real reason for Memorial Day? The fact that many large retailers sent out hundreds of thousands of emails on Memorial Day wishing their patrons a “Happy Memorial Day!” tells me that we’ve lost touch. National retailers with –I’m assuming–a pretty big marketing team…not one person thought it was inappropriate to send happy wishes? If just one of those companies had written “Today we remember and for that reason, we’re having our biggest sale starting Tuesday!” or something like that, I would have not only bought something from them, but you can bet your ass I would have spread the message to all my friends.

I’m not saying that family’s have to dress in black and sit in a cemetery on their day off, but I do think it is our responsibility as Americans to not only recognize why Memorial Day exists, but to also recognize that their are millions of people that do grieve on this day. And to have a flood of marketing geared toward the public that says “on this day of remembrance, let’s buy sweaters for 75% off” kinda slaps them in the face. Am I wrong about this? Am I just old-fashioned? Am I too sensitive? Perhaps. But to me it says “Your dad died in Iraq for my freedom, but hey I got these designer sunglasses for HALF OFF”.

So I’ll continue our family tradition of placing flags on graves and I’ll pay more for my shoes, but you can be sure my 5 and 2 year old will understand what Memorial Day is about…

Thank you to the active military, veterans, and their families. We cherish you.

Mental health resources for veterans:

  • Military & Veteran’s Crisis Line 1.800.273.8255, Press 1
  • Crisis line text 838255
  • Vets 4 Warriors 855.838.8255
  • Military One Source 1.800.342.9647
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) 1.800.959.8277