If a loved one has recently died, or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you might be having trouble coping with this life-changing event. Death is part of being human, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.
Sometimes it helps to learn more about something in order to better understand it. It helps to know you’re not alone, and that others have dealt with similar hardships.
While talking to family, friends, or counsellors is important, sometimes you can gain more insights and understanding from a book.
Here are five books that might help you get through this difficult time and help you better understand death:
OPTION B: FACING ADVERSITY, BUILDING RESILIENCE, AND FINDING JOY by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Read about Facebook COO and her struggle to find joy in life after the sudden death of her husband. Sandberg co-wrote this book with her friend, psychologist Adam Grant. Together they dive into what it takes to build up your resilience after a life-changing event.
WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi
This book is about the author’s transition from being a successful neurosurgeon with his whole life ahead of him, to being a cancer patient with stage IV lung cancer. He examines the human condition, and what it means to live life to the fullest when faced with the end.
THE BRIGHT HOUR: A MEMOIR OF LIVING AND DYING by Nina Riggs
Similar to When Breath Becomes Air, only from a female perspective. Read about author Nina Rigg’s experience of being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She explores motherhood, marriage, friendship, music, art, and love in this beautiful memoir.
BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande
This book deals with the medical profession’s disconnect with aging patients. How it can be difficult and uncomfortable dealing with people nearing the end of their lives. From nursing homes to hospices – Atul Gawande dives into what it means to be mortal.
KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR: A PATH TO A BETTER WAY OF DEATH by Katy Butler
Katy Butler writes about her experiences with her aging parent’s, as they deal with the barriers of the medical system. It’s about dying with dignity – on one’s own terms. It’s equal parts memoir, medical history, and self-help book.