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Recommended Reading

Remember, this is your journey.  While one book may help one person, it may not for another.  These selections are ones that we have heard consistently help others.  So choose what seems to fit your needs best.

A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies
Anne McCracken and Mary Semel, 1999, Hazeldon Publications.
This anthology of poetry, fiction, and essays compiled from the literature of loss and grief is remarkable. The authors have included pieces from everyone from William Shakespeare to Dwight D. Eisenhower whose works explore the shock, the grief, and the search for meaning that come with the death of a child. Each piece is clearly introduced explaining the details surrounding the person's loss.

After Suicide Loss: Coping With Your Grief
Bob Baugher, Ph.D., John Jordan, Ph.D., 2001, The Family Loss Project.
This book is written specifically to help survivors during the first year after a suicide. It is organized around the first few days, few weeks, few months, etc. It is short, concise and very practical in its orientation to providing concrete suggestions and help for survivors.

After Suicide: Help for the Bereaved
Dr. Sheila Clark, 1995, Hill of Content.
This is a comprehensive handbook dealing with a specific area of bereavement after suicide - and fills the gap in the grief and suicide literature. It shows practical commonsense and careful guidelines to help people find their way through this time. It is an excellent resource for both those who have suffered and those who would support them.

After the Darkest Hour the Sun Will Shine Again
Elizabeth Mehren, 1997, Fireside.
This helpful and inspirational book clearly helps bereaved parents deal with the many questions and issues that come up for them. It's both a guide and a meditation that offers support and comfort. It is written in a clear and simple style with short stories dealing with difficult issues. The advice and solace found in this small book is very valuable.

A Hike For Mike: An Uplifting Adventure Across the Sierra Nevada for Depression Awareness
Jeff Alt, 2005, Dreams Shared Publications.
The author writes about the physical and emotional challenges of the trek and its parallels to our journey through life and grief.

A Long Shadowed Grief: Suicide and its Aftermath
Harold Ivan Smith, 2007, Cowley Publications
In the aftermath of suicide, friends and family face a long road of grief and reflection. With a sympathetic eye and a firm hand, Harold Ivan Smith searches for the place of the spirit in the wake of suicide. He asks how one may live a spiritual life as a survivor, and he addresses the way faith is permanently altered by the residue of stigma that attaches to suicide.

Are You Like Me?: Helping Children Cope with Suicide

Tesh & Schleich, 2009, The Hospice of Florida Suncoast.
This booklet undertakes the difficult task of discussing suicide with children who have recently lost a loved one. Beginning by providing general definitional information regarding suicide, the text then quickly transitions to the topics of feelings children may experience in relation to suicide, questions which may remain after the death, and ways to relate to others in terms of emotions felt. The book addresses numerous common questions which children may have pertaining to these important topics.

A Winding Road: A Handbook for Those Supporting the Suicide Bereaved
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D. & John Peters M.Suicidology, 2010, Chellehead Works.
"This book is a book of care-giving for caregivers. It is written and edited by caregivers who have walked the walk as both those who work with those bereaved by suicide and who have been intimately impacted by suicides of loved ones. In turn, they have gathered an octet of guest authors individually and collectively offer a wealth of relevant experience to the reader. All told, the quilt they have woven for you is warm, comforting, and replete with enriched patterns of perspective and information that are enormously helpful to those who work with those bereaved by suicide." Lanny Berman, Ph.D., ABPP, Executive Director, American Association of Suicidology

Bart Speaks Out: Breaking the Silence on Suicide
Linda Goldman, M.S. & Jonathan P. Goldman (Photographer), 1998, Western Psychological Services.
Bart, a white terrier, narrates his story to losing Charlie to suicide. A workbook for young children to journal their feelings about the loss of a loved one to suicide, this is an ideal book to use with a parent or counselor who can assist the child in filling in the pages.

Before Their Time: Adult Children's Experiences of Parental Suicide
Mary T. Stimming (Editor) & Maureen Stimming (Editor), 1999, Temple University Press.
Before Their Time is the first work to present adult children survivors accounts of their loss, grief and resolution following a parent's suicide. In one section, the book offers the perspective of sons and daughters on the deaths of mothers, in another, the perspective of sons and daughters on the deaths of fathers. In a third section, four siblings reflect on the shared loos of their mother. Topics such as the impact of the parent's suicide on adult children's personal and professional choices, marriages and parenting, sibling and surviving parent relationships are explored with sensitivity and insight. Various coping skills, including humor, are described.

Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival
By Christopher Lukas 
Christopher Lukas authored this book eleven years after the suicide of his brother, Tony, a two-time Pulitzer-winner. Tony, who was being treated for depression, ended his life in 1997. Christopher Lukas, himself a writer-producer-director in television, wrote this book in the hope of coming to an understanding of his relationship with his brother and with whom he had difficulty finding “common ground.”

Breaking the Silence
Linda Goldman, 1996, Taylor & Francis.
Provides a clear, concise and informative guide to helping children with complicated grief issues and provides strategies and referral resources for child grief issues. The text is understandable and user-friendly for parents and laypersons, as well as experienced clinicians.

But I Didn't Say Goodbye: For Parents and Professionals Helping Child Suicide Survivors
Barbara Rubel, 2000, Griefwork Center, Inc.
This hands-on book benefits those who want to learn how to help a child after a sudden loss. The power of this book comes from the most frequently asked questions a bereaved child asks, and the honest, respectful, age-appropriate answers from caring adults. Caregivers get intervention strategies, complete with bereavement referrals and up-to-date recommended resources. Adults get a head start by the ready-to-copy, interactive, non-threatening questions and activities wherein the child's thoughts and feelings are shared.

Do They Have Bad Days In Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling
Michelle Linn-Gust, 2001, Chellehead Works.
The first comprehensive resource for sibling suicide survivors. The author takes the reader through the personal experiences of losing her younger sister and weaves in the available research for sibling survivors. She explains suicide, the grief process, and how sibling death impacts the brothers and sisters left behind, and offers practical advice for surviving the loss of a sibling to suicide.

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families After a Suicide
Beverly Cobain & Jean Larch, Hazeldon, 2006.
Excellent healing guide for survivors of suicide. Recognizing that grief work is personal and unique in each individual, this book is recommended as a beacon of hope and understanding to those who have suffered the pain and loss of a loved one to suicide.

Guiding Your Child Through Grief
Mary Ann Emswiler, M.A., M.P.S. & James P. Emswiller, M.A., M.Ed., 2000, Bantam.
Backed by the latest research in child psychology and filled with case histories, this title answers questions that parents and caregivers need to ask, such as: Is it normal for a child to act as if nothing has happened? Is an infant too little to understand the loss of a parent? Do children blame themselves for the death of a family member? Should I worry about a child committing suicide after a death in the family?

Healing the Grieving Child's Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends & Caregivers
Alan Wolfalt, Ph.D., 2000, Companion Press.
Helpful to adults to understand grief and mourning in children.

Healing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide
Catherine Greenleaf, 2007, St. Dymphna Press.
A unique book consisting of 365 daily affirmations, Greenleaf draws from her personal experience as a survivor as well as her professional experience in death education. Each day consists of a topic specific to survivors, along with a related thought for meditational purposes. This is an inspirational and meaningful book for survivors. Please contact St. Dymphna Press ( for more information about this book.

Healing Your Grieving Heart for Kids
Alan Wolfalt, Ph.D., 2000, Companion Press.
Helpful for families with children ages 6 to 12 who have lost a loved one.

His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina
Danielle Steel, 1998, Delacote Press.
At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel's tribute to her lost son is a gift of hope, healing, and understanding to us all.

History of a Suicide: My Sister's Unfinished Life
Jill Bialosky, 2011, Atria Books
The unexpected loss of a sibling is always shattering, but when suicide is the cause, grief is rendered more complicated and haunting. The death of novelist, poet, and editor Bialosky's much younger sister, Kim, at age 21 in 1990 was one grim loss among many.

How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me
Susan Rose Blauner, 2002, William Morrow, First Edition
The book, How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me, is a “how to” guide on coping with suicidal thoughts by Susan Rose Blauner, someone who struggled for years with suicidal thoughts and behavior of her own. 

In the Wake of Suicide: Stories of the People Left Behind
Victoria Alexander, 1998, Jossey-Bass.
The stories in this book chronicle individual journeys through grief after suicide - from the initial impact of the loss to its lace in the survivor's lives years later. The intent of the book is to help survivors give voice and meaning to their loss.

In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide
Nancy Rappaport, Basic Books, 2009.
In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide by Nancy Rappaport, offers a richly rewarding read as the author fearlessly places her family life up for public scrutiny as she struggles with the difficult and necessary task of trying to understand her mother’s suicide.

Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grieving Children
Linda Goldman, 1994, Taylor & Francis.
An information guide for helping children deal with general grief issues, as well as hands-on techniques for grief resolution. Useful for parents as well as clinical sessions by mental health professionals.

Mourning After Suicide (Looking Up)
Lois A. Bloom, 1986, Pilgrim Press.
Originally published in 1986, the information presented is as useful today as it was then. A small, easy to read work, which provides practical information on grieving a death by suicide. The author draws on her own experience of losing a son to suicide, experts writing on suicidology, and her own spiritual beliefs.

My Brother Peter
Nomi Berger, 1998, Robert Davies Publishing.
Twenty-seven years after her brother Peter's apparent suicide in 1968, Nomi Berger set out to uncover the truth not only about how he died, but also about how he lived. This book chronicles her search for that truth, together with her efforts to purge herself of her own powerful guilt. It also describes a sister's journey toward healing, illustrating that there's no statute of limitations on either guilt or grief, but more importantly, on one's ability to seek and eventually find peace of mind.

My Son...My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide
Iris Bolton with C. Mitchell, 1984, Bolton Press.
A mother's and professional counselor's personal story of her son's suicide. It is for survivors who want assistance in their healing and for others who want to understand the survivor experience.

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One
Carla Fine, 1997, Doubleday.
The survivor of her husband's suicide, the author draws on her own experience and on conversations with many other survivors - as well as on the knowledge of counselors and mental health professionals - to offer a strong helping hand and guidance to those left behind after suicide. Both professionals and survivors will benefit from the self-disclosure of those who share their pain and honesty.

No Way to Behave at a Funeral
Noel Braun, 2011, Port Campbell Press.
This is the story of Noel who lost Maris, his beloved wife of 42 years, to suicide following years of struggling with depression... Noel accepted there was no way around his anguish and met suffering head on. His pain allowed him to discover the richness within him and to grow in wisdom which he hopes might be of benefit to others. Maris' death did not shut her out of Noel's life. She remains a very real presence. This is a love story with a difference. 

Our Forever Angel: Surviving the Loss of a Loved One to Suicide
Barbara Scholz, 2002, 1st Books Library.
This book offers empathy and hope, tugging readers to new heights of understanding, and encouraging survivors to rebuild lives and put the past where it rightfully belongs: behind them. “Is There Life After Suicide?” is the provocative question Barb Scholz has asked and answered, building her book on a foundation of introspection, hope, and ultimately, inspiration.

Rocky Roads
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., 2010, Chellehead Works
Any professional is fast to acknowledge that every person’s grief journey is a unique path. Still, Rocky Roads does attempt to present a roadmap—a loose trail to maneuver through, consider, and be forewarned of treacherous turns ahead. Rocky Roads is a unique presentation of a basic psychological autopsy of the “typical” family in crisis after a suicide. It is immensely helpful for all survivors, but perhaps vital for counselors who are faced with a family in crisis after a suicide

Seeking Hope: Stories of the Suicide Bereaved

Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D. & Julie Cerel, Ph.D., 2011, Chellehead Works
Telling your story can be, for many, the best way to begin the healing process following suicide. Drs. Linn-Gust and Cerel have published a collection of survivor stories that will allow each reader the most intimate connection with the authors. Contained in these pages are stories that will serve as the installation of hope for those who are newly bereaved by suicide and validation to those who have forged their own healing from a loss to suicide. In addition, Seeking Hope will provide insight for those clinicians or caregivers who wish to be a resource for anyone bereaved by suicide. 

Surviving Suicide: Help to Heal Your Heart--Life Stories from Those Left Behind
Heather Hays, 2005, Brown Books Publishing Group
The author, a survivor and an award-winning journalist writes her story as well as the story of other survivors.

Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope
Julie K. Hersh, 2010, Brown Books Publishing Group
In Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope, Julie Hersh shares her personal struggle with depression and her subsequent journey to finding hope.  Hersh’s story demonstrates that depression can and does impact people of various social and economic backgrounds. Even when surroundings such as her’s seem “perfect” by society’s standards, depression can hit.

The Coldest Night: A Family's Experience of Suicide
Carol Anne Milton, 2009, Veritas Publications
Carol Anne Milton takes us on an emotionally charged journey as she recounts her son Alan’s suicide. As she chronicles the events from the time she learned that her son had taken his life, through the aftermath of despair and grief, and ultimately her resolution to help others, her words pierce your chest and echo the tragedy of her loss in the chambers of your heart.

The Deafening Silence: A Memoir
Rosemarie Manes, 2003, First Books
Survivors of suicide and general readers alike will find much value in The Deafening Silence by Rosemarie Manes. This memoir, told from the vantage point of a bright and inquisitive 11 year-old who sustained the loss of her father to suicide during the mid-1950s, offers penetrating insights into the mental life of youthful survivors.

The Role of Faith Communities in Suicide Prevention
Timothy Doty, Psy.D. & Sally Spencer-Thomas Psy.D., MNM, 2009, Carson J Spencer Foundation
The idea of this guidebook came from growing understanding that suicide has an effect on a number of people from any background and people frequently turn to their religious communities in times of crisis.

Red Chocolate Elephants: For Children Bereaved by Suicide
Diana C. Sands, Ph.D., 2010, Karridale Pty Limited
Red Chocolate Elephants' is an activity book and DVD resource for children bereaved by suicide. In a world where children are often forgotten mourners, this unique combination of text, pictures, and voices - all in the words of bereaved children themselves - will be a treasured safe haven for young people to hear their fears, questions, and difficulties put into words by other children just like them. 

Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Grace
Judy Collins, 2003, Tarcher/Penguin
In her book, Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Strength, Judy Collins effectively captures and conveys the vast array of feelings that suicide survivors experience. Her lively “no holds barred” writing style makes this book an honest, profound read. Readers should expect to be “changed” from the experience of reading this book.

Shadows on a Nameless Beach
Patricia Page, 2006, Pigeon Point Press
An endearing memoir about the author's son, Christopher Jeffrey Car. At 102 pages, this diminuitive book is a light and pleasant read for survivors of suicide, as well as anyone interested in the topic of loss.

Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing After Suicide
Michael F. Myers & Carla Fine, 2006, Gotham
Dr. Micheal Myers, a psychiatrist, and Carla Fine, a suicide survivor and renowned author, have collaborated on an exciting and informational volume for those whose lives have been 'touched by suicide'.

Trying to Remember, Forced to Forget (My Father's Suicide)
Judith Raphael Kletter, 2001, Xlibris.
After 51 years of not discussing her father's suicide to family or friends and with the death of her mother in 1998, the author began to delve into her past. In this compelling book, Ms. Kletter tells her traumatic story about how she found her father hanging from a rope when she was four years old and her mother's denial, telling her it was a bad dream - it never happened. As a result, Ms. Kletter was committed to a psychiatric institution for children. In this very personal and revealing book, she details how the suicide has affected her life, personality and relationships.

Vita's Will: Real Life Lessons About Life, Death & Moving on
Debbie Gisonni, 2000, Lincoln, NE: (Writer's Club Press).
A high tech executive finds humility, humor, and heart when four family members die in four years. Through these four deaths, Debbie learns to squeeze the sweetest wine from a bunch of sour grapes without wallowing in self-pity. Her advice works for any traumatic situation. You'll be moved to tears and laughter by her 44 inspirational real-life lessons nd her nightly chats with God.

What to Do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss
Bill Jenkins, 1999, WBJ Press.
This book provides much useful information to the surviving family members on how to deal with everything from the media to funeral arrangements. The chapters on grief responses give realistic examples of common reactions to losses to homicide, suicides, and tragic accidents. Recommended for survivors, mental health professionals, and caregivers.

When Suicide Comes Home: A Father's Diary and Comments
Paul Cox, 2002, Bolton Press Atlanta.
Paul Cox is a survivor of his son's suicide. His devastation touched off a flood of daily journaling which became this book. Readers will be swept along with Paul Cox's story and amazed at his honesty and candor. He proves that surviving is possible by facing every aspect of grieving head on and by taking a hard look at the truth, with an indomitable spirit.

Will's Choice: A Suicidal Teen, a Desperate Mother, and a Chronicle of Recovery
Gail Griffith, Harper, 2006.
Whether you suffer from depression, are the parent of a child who does, or are a mental health professional, it is no hyperbole to state that all will benefit from this most compelling read. The author writes about her experience with her son's depression and suicide attempt.

Years of the Elephant

Willy Linthout, Ponent Mon S.L., 2009.

Years of the Elephant is the illustrated autobiographical account of Willy Lithout and his journey following the suicide of Sam, his 21 year old son in 2004.

This list was compiled by AAS and there are many reviews for each of these books.  If you would like to check them out:  CLICK HERE