Cole Funeral Chapel is proud to offer a lending library of books about grief.  You may come in during office hours (M-F 9-5) to borrow any book listed below, or call us to make other arrangements. We hope the books are helpful to you as you work through your grief. 

Books are listed by category.  You can click on a category below to jump right to the section that is of interest to you:

Books for Children

For Adults helping a child

Loss of a Spouse

General Grief

Helping Others

Preparing for Death

Special Losses

Funeral Profession

Planning a Funeral



Grief Books for Children:

What Happens When We Die?  By Carolyn Nystrom
The thought of dying can make any child sad and scared. Will it hurt? Does God want me to die? Where is heaven? Will Mom and Dad be there? How do I get there if I'm buried in the ground? In this simple yet profound book your children will see for themselves the reasons people die...and what God has in store for them in heaven.

Please Help Me, God: Someone I loved Died by Christine Harder Tangvald
Death is confusing and difficult for anyone, but especially for children. This book, written in a simple language that kids can understand, will help children cope and understand their feelings. Filled with interactive pages to make this their story, kids can write and draw how they feel. When they're done, this book becomes a special keepsake that helps them remember the person they loved.

Balloons for Trevor by Anne Good Cave
Here's help and hope for parents and children facing difficult life circumstances, written by Robin Prince Monroe and Ann Good Cave. Each book in this series takes families through difficult issues such as divorce, chronic illness, blended families, and death. The interactive pages help parents and children work through issues together .

When Families Grieve by Sesame Workshop
This Kit from Sesame Workshop includes a DVD featuring Elmo and his cousin Jesse as they discuss the loss of Uncle Jack. From an article on DOD Live Site From Aug 2010 - "The special also introduces Jesse, Elmo's cousin, who lost her dad about a year ago. Jesse shares with viewers her struggles of talking about her father's death and how she continues to cope with the loss. Elmo shares his fondest memories of his Uncle Jack as a way to stay connected with him. A note of caution: This is not a Sesame Street special that you leave your child to watch alone. As a matter of fact, you may want to watch it first by yourself and then later with your child so that you are better prepared for the emotions your child may experience and the questions they might ask while watching the video.

What Happens When We Die by Carolyn Nystrom
The thought of dying can make any child sad and scared. Will it hurt? Does God want me to die? Where is heaven? Will Mom and Dad be there? How do I get there if I'm buried in the ground? In this simple yet profound book, your children will see for themselves the reasons people die...and what God has in store for them in heaven.

    Answers to a Child’s Question About Death by Peter Stillman 


For Adults helping a child

Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child by Earl A. Grollman
Why do people die? How do you explain the loss of a loved one to a child? This book is a compassionate guide for adults and children to read together, featuring a read-along story and answers to questions children ask about death.
Talking about Death is a classic guide for parents helping their children through the death of a loved one. With a helpful list of dos and don'ts, an illustrated read-along dialogue, and a guide to explaining death, Grollman provides sensitive and timely advice for families coping with loss. This redesigned and updated edition explains what children at different developmental stages can and can't understand about death; reveals why it's crucial to be honest about death; helps you understand the way children express emotions like denial, grief, crying, anger, and guilt; and discusses children's reactions to different kinds of death, from the death of a parent to the death of a pet.

Explaining Death to Children by Earl A. Grollman
Death is hard for anybody especially explaining it to children. Here is a collection of essays on how to breach this difficult subject

The Grieving Student in the Classroom by Bobbe Ragouzeos
A guide through the children’s grief written especially for teachers (K-12). Excellent for helping teachers to be sensitive to their students’ grief needs. Includes grief patters by age, a list of suggestions, and a list of resources.

Telling a Child About Death by Edgar N. Jackson
Telling a Child About Death is based on sound psychology and faith. Written in a simple style, it will aid and reader to overcome fear, both in the child’s mind and in his own, and to develop a positive outlook on the problems of life and death.

 Heaven’s Not a Crying Place by Joey O’Connor
Writing with warmth and understanding, Joey O'Connor shows how to teach your child to trust God and celebrate life and to deal with, learn from, and have hope in the face of death.


Loss of a Spouse:

From One Single Mother to Another (Advice and Encouragement from Someone Who’s Been There) by Sandra Aldrich
Sandra Aldrich knows what it takes to survive as a single mother today. With heartfelt and genuine words, she shares her experiences and answers such questions as: How will I handle the loneliness? Pay bills with one income? Guide my daughter or son through their growing years? Find the right kind of housing? Deal with dating again? Battle my relatives' expectations? Sandra's practical and spiritually uplifting message is simple: Single mom, you and your children do have bright tomorrows. And they can start today if you will lean on the Lord and ask Him for the strength you need.

You Are Never Alone by Charles L. Allen
Living alone does not mean we are defeated, because we are never alone. This book is about many other factors than just being alone. Living alone is not the same as being alone. Much of this book is written to help those of us who are alone - not to be lonely.

Widow’s Walk by Jane Woods Shoemaker
Each of us who has lost a mate will spend a time on the widow's walk. Now you are packing that walkway, searching for the ship that sailed out of your life. Without your captain and without a map, you are facing the vast horizon of your own uncharted future. For me, it was a distant and intimidating view. Eventually I discovered within myself, as you will discover within yourself, a compass I did not know I had until I needed it.

Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. De Vries
Losing a spouse is something no married person wants to imagine. Psychologist Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge and pastor/professor Robert De Vries provide much needed support from a unique perspective - empathy. They each suffered the loss of their spouse at a relatively young age. Throughout Getting to the Other Side of Grief, the authors share their stories as living proof that if worked through properly, grief will lead the way to a fresh new life.

Who Will Wind the Clock? by Margaret Jenson
In the aftermath of her husband's sudden death, beloved storyteller Margaret Jensen reveals her deepest heartaches and her most triumphant moments of faith as she rediscovers God's love in the darkness of her sorrow.

General Grief

When God Doesn’t Make Sense by James Dobson
Cancer strikes. Your spouse wants a divorce. You lose your job. When life seems unfair, it's tempting to ask "Where is God when I need him?" Offering a healthy dose of encouragement, Dobson assures us that God is still with us even though our pain blinds us to his presence.

How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies by Therese A. Rando
Mourning the death of a loved one is a process  all of us will go through at one time or another.  But wherever the death is sudden or anticipated,  few of us are prepared for it or for the grief it  brings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve;  each person's response to loss will be different.  Now, 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 and helps you find  the best way for yourself.

You are Your Grief by Edgar N. Jackson
A compassionate, warm and helpful talk by a deeply understanding author with the reader grieving over a death in the family. The Emphasis is entirely on the immense psychological problems the mourner must face, and the book gently proposes ways in which many of these can be gradually worked out.

The Mourning After: How to Manage Grief Wisely by Stanley P. Cornils
If you have recently lost your spouse, a child, or a previous friend in death, you probably feel devastated and that you will never again be happy. Your world has been turned upside down and inside out and you may have lost all interest in everything around you. This is normal. It is true you will never get over it, but you can get through it so that your life can again move on.

Death: The Final Stage of Growth by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Ours is a death-denying society. But death is inevitable, and we must face the question of how to deal with it. Coming to terms with our own finiteness helps us discover life's true meaning.
Why do we treat death as a taboo? What are the sources of our fears? How do we express our grief, and how do we accept the death of a person close to us? How can we prepare for our own death?
Drawing on our own and other cultures' views of death and dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross provides some illuminating answers to these and other questions. She offers a spectrum of viewpoints, including those of ministers, rabbis, doctors, nurses, and sociologists, and the personal accounts of those near death and of their survivors.
Once we come to terms with death as a part of human development, the author shows, death can provide us with a key to the meaning of human existence.

Beyond Sorrow: Christian Reflection on Death and Grief by Herb & Mary Montgomery
Originally published in 1991, Beyond Sorrow: Christian Reflections on Death and Grief is a compelling book written by Herb Montgomery and Mary Montgomery to offer spiritual comfort to those that have lost someone close to them.

When Grief Breaks Your Heart by James W. Moore
 In When Grief Breaks Your Heart, James W. Moore explores how faith can help us through times of heartache, pain, disappointment, and loss. The author shows us that it is God's loving grace that holds us up and sustains us. With God, we can find peace and strength in our time of grief and begin to heal.

For Those Who Hurt by Charles R. Swindoll
In For Those Who Hurt, Swindoll offers you words of hope about the painful subject of suffering. His look at Scripture encourages you or others you know who are struggling with grief to look to the God of all comfort for the meaning behind painful circumstances. Full-color nature photography enhances the inspiring message of this thoughtful paperback gift book.

Where is God When it Hurts? by Philip Yancey
"If there is a loving God, then why ... ?" No matter how the question is completed, at its root lies the issue of pain. Does God order suffering? Or did he simply wind up the world's mainspring and now is watching from a distance?
In this Gold Medallion Award-winning book, now revised and updated, Where is God When It Hurts reveals a God who is neither capricious nor unconcerned. Using examples from the Bible and from his own experiences, Yancey looks at pain---physical, emotional, and spiritual---and helps us understand why we suffer. Includes discussion guide.

In the Arms of God by Dr. James Dobson
In the Arms of God is a beautiful gift book based on Dr. James Dobson's best-selling When God Doesn't Make Sense. This book features stunning four-color art and photography with words of comfort from Dr. Dobson. A lovely yet practical gift book for hurting people, the 60-page, four-color art and photographs uplift and inspire the reader while words from leading Christian psychologist James Dobson bring hope and comfort to those who are experiencing trials in their life.

Let Me Grieve But Not Forever: A Journey Out of the Darkness of Loss by Verdell Davis
In this intensely personal book, Verdell Davis recounts her journey of healing following the loss of her husband of 27 years in a tragic plane crash. As she walks through the valley of the shadow of death, she deals with the grief, loneliness, anger, and questioning her faith, and emerges stronger, with a renewed trust in God and message of hope for others who struggle with deep loss.

When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Harold S. Kushner
When Harold Kushner's three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that meant the boy would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life's most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superceded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.

Early Winter: Learning to Live, Love, and Laugh Again After a Painful Loss by Howard Bronson
Here is a classic bereavement book, considered one of the better bereavement books ever written. This is a brightly-written healing book that, through a series of heartfelt vignettes, helps to transform the reader out of the grieving process.
Early Winter is neither a technical nor schmaltzy book. Readers report that they read the book and somehow, when they're finished, they feel better.

What Will Help Me?
Held one way, this book is for those who are grieving. In 12 brief, easy-to-read chapters, to offers helpful suggestions for how one can move through one's grief in a healthy, healing way. Held the opposite way (so the back cover becomes the front cover), it's a book for those who want to help someone who is grieving. Its 12 succinct chapters offer positive, practical advice.

Will I Ever Be Whole Again?
Help and Hope for Those Who Grieve It can happen suddenly or take what seems an eternity. No matter how it comes, the death of a loved one hits like an avalanche, pouring down thunderous heartache and resulting in constant pain, sadness, and emptiness. The questions come at breakneck speed until you finally have to ask your-self, "Will I ever be whole again?" This wonderfully sensitive book by Sandra Aldrich is not written from impersonal observation but from her own grueling experience with the loss of her husband to cancer. Her insight is comforting, her wisdom soothing, and her direction inspiring. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one to death, this survival book will point the way to recovery.

Living When A Loved One Has Died by Earl A. Grollman
When someone you love dies, Earl Grollman writes, "there is no way to predict how you will feel. The reactions of grief are not like recipes, with given ingredients, and certain results. . . . Grief is universal. At the same time it is extremely personal. Heal in your own way."
If someone you know is grieving, Living When a Loved One Has Died can help. Earl Grollman explains what emotions to expect when mourning, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to work through feelings of loss. Suitable for pocket or bedside, this gentle book guides the lonely and suffering as they move through the many facets of grief, begin to heal, and slowly build new lives.

Peace Above the Storm by unknown
People everywhere are searching for peace. They need power to cope with the “storms” in their lives. Peace Above the Storm is the answer to the problems people are facing today. This all-time bestseller, printed in over 100 languages, has already brought comfort and inspiration to millions of readers.

General Grief Pamphlets:
    Life After Loss by multiple authors
    Parting is Not Forever by multiple authors
    A Time to Mourn by Ron Delbene & Mary & Herb Montgomery
    To Everything There is a Season by unknown
    Beyond Sorrow (Pamphlet FormWhen) by Herb & Mary Montgomery
    When a Good God Lets Bad Things Happen by Duane Kelderman
    When I’m Alone by Ron DelBene & Herb & Mary Mongomery
    Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul by Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen
    Healing and Growing Through Grief by Donna O’Toole
    Permission to Grieve by Doug Manning
    Will I Survive This Pain by Doug Manning
    Genesis: A Personal Guide Through Grief by John Kennedy Saynor
    The Grieving Reaction by Doug Manning
    Grief is a Family Affair by Doug Manning
    It Means So Much to Know That Someone Cares by unknow
    Healing Grief by Amy Hillyard Jenson


Helping Others

Beyond Sympathy by Janice Harris Lord
When a loved one loses a loved one it is difficult to know what to say. Sympathetic words seem so inadequate to express the sense of loss we share. How can we get beyond the sympathetic words to actually do something that will help with the grieving process?


Preparing for Death

The Hospice Movement: A Better Way of Caring for the Dying by Sandol Stoddard
At a time when the end of life has become the subject of anguished medical and ethical debate, no book is more welcome than The Hospice Movement This modern classic outlines a bold and noble alternative to the high-tech nightmare that has all too often been our society's accepted approach to death: hospice instead offers caring communities where dying people are treated as human beings worthy of attention and respect.
Widely recognized as the essential reference for all who deal with the terminally ill, the book has now been extensively updated with three new chapters that describe the hospice movement's response to AIDS and its evolution into an international phenomenon. The result is one of those rare works that initiate caregivers, family, and friends into a new understanding of death and dying, one that reconciles the medical, the social, and the spiritual.

Before I Wake by Paul R. Carlson  
This books helps you to prepare for the end of your life, and how to cope with terminal illness and the death of thsoe you love. Draws upon psychology, religion, law, and the funeral profession.

Overcoming the Fear of Death by David Cole Gordon
A forthright, yet comforting, look at humanities’ basic fear of death. “Fear, in any form, is essentially a thought,” writes David Cole Gordon. “If we can eliminate the thought I fear death, then we can perhaps dissipate the fear of death itself.” To this end he analyses the cluster of other fears that compose the fear of death, and then goes on to set forth a “theory of unification.”

Into the Light by Rob Delbene, Herb Montgomery, and Mary Montgomery
A great book on prayer, and helping a loved one when they are sick or dying. It is simple to access, an easy read to pick up and gain perspective, hints for care, and support for prayer. Breath prayer has a way of empowering the sick and their families in a time of confusion, and hopelessness.

When Your Loved One is Dying by Earl A. Grollman
You have just learned that someone close to you is suffering from a fatal illness. You are numb with disbelief and overcome by many conflicting emotions-panic, rage, guilt, depression, even actual physical pain. How, in the midst of this turmoil, will you be strong? How can you help your dying beloved? Earl A. Grollman, one of the foremost counselors on death, dying, and bereavement, shows a way out of this problem. His wise words combine firm guidance with gentle reassurance. Here is the emotional support you need to cope with the fear of being left alone and to speak honestly with your dying loved one, children, friends, and relatives.

Living Full in the Shadow of Death by Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. DeVries
While the psalmist promises God's protection, it is difficult to face our mortality. But in doing so we better prepare both ourselves and our loved ones for the reality of death. For those with a life-threatening medical condition or terminal illness, this is an urgent concern. In response, Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, a psychologist, and Robert C. DeVries, a pastor, offer this indispensable guide to the practical and spiritual concerns of dying. With compassion and understanding, they offer sound advice on everything from accepting death as a part of life, legal issues, and funeral planning, to the difficult spiritual questions asked regarding terminal illness and life after death. This book is an important resource for individuals and families facing terminal illness, hospice and nursing personnel, and pastors and counselors.

Traveling Through Grief by Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge & Robert C. DeVries
Traveling through Grief takes readers on the journey toward life after death, focusing on five common tasks of grief. A perfect gift for a grieving friend.


Special Losses

When A Friend Dies: A book for Teens About Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman
The death of a friend is a wrenching event for anyone at any age. Teenagers especially need help coping with this painful loss. This sensitive book answers questions grieving teens often have, like “How should I be acting?” “Is it wrong to go to parties and have fun?” and “What if I can’t handle my grief on my own?”
The advice is gentle, non-preachy, and compassionate; the author has seen her own children suffer from the death of a friend, and she knows what teens go through. The revised edition includes new quotes from teens, new resources, and new insights into losing a friend through violence. Also recommended for parents and teachers of teens who have experienced a painful loss.

No Time For Goodbyes by Janice Harris Lord
Survivors grieving the tragic death of a loved one will find here deep understanding and insight as well as detailed practical information on dealing with legal and financial issues. Eloquent comments from survivors are combined with the author s many years of research and experience to make this an incredibly helpful resource. No Time For Goodbyes is used extensively by grieving families as well as numerous professionals and organizations. It is now available from Compassion Books, with quantity discounts.

My Son My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide by Iris Bolton
This book was inspired by the suicide of Curtis Mitchell Bolton, 20-year-old son of the author, Iris Mitchell Bolton. Mrs. Bolton describes in detail the journey she made from the devastation of losing her son Mitch by suicide to the step by step healing that took place in her life. The book is hopeful and helpful to those who have suffered any loss from death.

Recovering From The Loss of a Sibling by Katherine Fair Donnelly
An extremely well-written, compassionate guide for the millions of people who come face to face with a death in their own families.


Funeral Profession

The Undertaking: Life Studies From the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch
Here is the voice of both witness and functionary. Lynch stands between “the living and the living who have died” with outrage and amazement, awe and calm, straining for the brief glimpse we all get of what mortality means to a vital species.

The Funeral: Vestige or Value by Paul E.Irion
A treatise, by a theology professor, on the valuable functions of the funeral.

Lord How Different by Carolyn Pomonis
Story about a man who decides to help people in their greatest time of need - by working in a funeral home.  

Michigan Funeral Directors Association: A History by Knight D. McKesson
This book is the story of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association, the first such association in the nation, and the funeral profession in the state. An effort has been made here to place in proper perceptive the important events of the first 100 years of the Association.

Final Placement by Robert B Dickerson
Final placement gives full details, vividly written and systematically presented, of the final hours, the funerals and the burial places of presidents, politicians, musicians, inventors, authors, exploreresartist of stage and screen, captains of industry and others both famous and infamous, who for one reason or another have made a mark upon the national consciousness.

The History of Funeral Directing by Robert Habenstein & William Lamers
Funeral practices from Early Egyptian customs, early Christian customs, through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to modern day. Rise of American Funeral Undertaking

Funeral Customs The World Over by Robert Habenstein & William Lamers
The intent of this book is to present a variety of profiles of funeral customs and procedures drawn from cultures, peoples, and nationality groups the world over.


 Planning a Funeral

Creating Meaningful Funeral Ceremonies by Alan D. Wolfelt
This compassionate, friendly workbook affirms the importance of the personalized funeral ritual and helps families create a ceremony that will be both healing and meaningful for years to come. Designed to complement the role of the clergy, celebrant and funeral director in the funeral planning process, A Guide for Families walks readers through the many decisions they will make at the time of a death.
Through Death to Life by Joseph M. Champlin
This comprehensive guide brings together in one place all the official liturgical texts needed for planning a Catholic funeral Mass, providing a practical tool for priests, deacons, and lay pastoral ministers as they help grieving Catholics plan the funeral of a loved one. Families can select the readings and prayers that they find most fitting and record them on an easy-to-follow selection sheet. This sheet is then passed on to the presiding priest or his designate so that he can prepare the liturgy.

    Let the Choice Be Mine: A Personal Guide To Planning Your Own Funeral by Cathy Robertson
    Goodnight Sweet Prince: You Can Give A Eulogy by William Schmidt