If you are continually overwhelmed, emotionally numb, abusing drugs or alcohol and think of suicide, call a suicide hotline for advice/referral immediately.
Call 1-800-SUICIDE; 1-800-784-2433;
Call 1-800-273-TALK; 1-800-273-8255
If, after 6-9 months, you have lost all interest in appearance and isolate yourself; if you are invited out but always refuse the invitation; if you are convinced that the sadness, anger, fear and anxiety are permanent and that, for all practical purposes, your life is over, seek help immediately. You might want to start by contacting your personal physician for a referral.
Managing End-of-life Care
It is extremely important to talk with family members about their wishes for end-of-life care.
There are many options including hospice and palliative care. Hospice is for those who have 6 months or less to live; palliative care treats the symptoms of incurable illnesses when length of life is uncertain.
Decisions to be discussed should include funeral arrangements (burial, cremation, donation or organs, etc.) notification of friends and family, where documents and valuables are located, special bequests and if possible written instructions or requests to be carried out after death occurs.
Pet Loss Support
There are many sites to provide support and help you handle losing a furry member of your family or feathered friend.
Gives details of pet-loss resources including hotlines, articles and links to Internet support groups and e-chat rooms.
is a virtual memorial home for your departed family member. Whether furry, feathered or scaled, all are welcome.
ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline 877-GRIEF-10
University of California Pet Loss Hotline 800-565-1526
24/7 services of a psychologist specializing in grief counceling 217-337-9773
BOOKS ON DEATH, DYING, LOSS, AND GRIEF
from the Website comfortdying.com
• Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie
• Apple, Dennis L. Life After the Death of My Son: What I'm Learning
• Ascher, Barbara Lazear. Landscape Without Gravity (about her brother's death from AIDS).
• Athill, Margaret. Somewhere Towards the End: A Memoir (about her experience with the end of life when, at 91, death is on the horizon)
• Babcock, Elise. When Life Becomes Precious: The Essential Guide for Patients, Loved Ones, and Friends of Those Facing Serious Illnesses
• Beauvoir, Simone de. A Very Easy Death (about the death of her mother)
• Bernstein, Judith R. When The Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter (Paperback)
• Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness As a Soul Journey
• Bolton, Iris. My Son...My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss, or Suicide
• Boss, Pauline. Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (about the sense of "frozen grief" that can occur when a loved one is perceived as physically absent but mentally present (because of desertion, divorce, or abduction, or because missing in action) or physically present but mentally or psychologically absent (because of dementia, mental illness, or other forms of mental or emotional loss or injury).
• Braestrup, Kate. Here If You Need Me: A True Story
• Brodkey, Harold. This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death (the story of his confrontation with AIDS)
• Brody, Jane. Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life
• Broyard, Anatole. Intoxicated by My Illness (critical illness, in his case from cancer, as a spiritual journey)
• Byock, Ira. Dying Well
• Caine, Lynn. Being a Widow
• Callanan, Maggie, and Patricia Kelley. Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
• Colby, William A. Unplugged: Reclaiming Our Right to Die in America (making informed end-of-life medical decisions)
• Davis, Deborah L. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
• DeVita, Elizabeth. The Empty Room: Surviving the loss of a brother or sister at any age (partly a memoir of surviving the loss of her brother Teddy to aplastic anemia)
• Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking
• Edelman, Hope. Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss
• Elison, Jennifer and Chris McGonigle. Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief gives permission for the relief felt by many primary caregivers (especially spouses) about death after a long illness, or when one is released from a difficult or abusive relationship.
• Evans, Dale and Roy Rogers. Angel Unaware: A Touching Story of Love and Loss
• Fine, Carla. No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
• Finkbeiner, Ann. After the Death of a Child: Living with Loss through the Years
• Funderburg, Lise. Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home (a compelling and beautifully written memoir by a grown daughter—a white-looking mixed-race girl raised in an integrated Philadelphia neighborhood—who gets to know her dying father in a string of pilgrimages to his boyhood hometown in rural Georgia)
• Gilbert, Sandra. Wrongful Death: A Medical Tragedy (about the death of her husband after entering the hospital for routine prostate surgery)
• Goodman, Sandy. Love Never Dies: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Love
• Grollman, Earl A. Living When A Loved One Has Died
• Gunther, John J. Death Be Not Proud (a young son's death from brain cancer)
• Hall, Donald The Best Day The Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon, an account of the happy 23-year marriage of two poets, her illness (leukemia and chronic clinical depression), and their peaceful creative life and many friends.
• Hammer, Signe. By Her Own Hand: Memoirs of a Suicide's Daughter
• Harris, Mark. Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial (why eco-friendly burials make sense)
• Hickman, Martha W. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief
• Hill, Susan. Family (about the death of a premature child)
• James, John W. and Russell Friedman. The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith. By the same authors (with Leslie Mathews): When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and Other Losses
• Johnson, Fenton. Geography of the Heart (about the death of a gay partner)
• Kamenentz, Rodger. Terra Infirma (a searing recollection of his mother's life and her death from cancer, his mother "yo-yoing between smothering affection and a fierce anger")
• Kaplan, Robbie Miller. How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words for Difficult Times--Illness and Death (less expensive ordered from the author)
• Kessler, David. The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life's Final Chapter (about the need to be treated as a living human being, the need for hope, the need to express emotions, the need to participate in care, the need for honesty, the need for spirituality, and the need to be free of physical pain).
• Kessler, David. Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die
• Kincaid, Jamaica. My Brother (account of her younger brother's death from AIDS)
• Kowalski, Gary. Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
• Kuhl, David. What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom For The End Of Life
• Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People
• Latus, Janine. If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation
• Levin, Mark R. Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish
• Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed
• Lindquist, Ulla-Carin. Rowing Without Oars: A Memoir of Living and Dying (a brief, grim, and moving memoir of living and dying with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease--not an easy death).
• Lynn, Joanne and Joan Harrold. Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness (Center to Improve Care for the Dying). Very practical, covering all the bases.
• McCracken, Anne and Mary Semel. A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies
• McNees, Pat, ed. Dying: A Book of Comfort. Gems of comfort, healing words on loss and grief.
• McWilliams, Peter, Harold H. Bloomfield, and Melba Colgrove. How to Survive the Loss of a Love
• Mitchell, Ellen and eight other mothers. Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child (powerful book in which nine bereaved mothers share their experiences about what life is like after losing a child in their teens or twenties, including Ellen Mitchell, Carol Barkin, Audrey Cohen, Lorenza Colletti, Barbara Eisenberg, Barbara Goldstein, Madeline Perri Kasden, Phyllis Levine, Ariella Long, Rita Volpe )
• Morrison, Blake. When Did You Last See Your Father?: A Son's Memoir of Love and Loss
• Myers, Edward. When Parents Die: A Guide for Adults
• Nuland, Sherwin B. How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter (superb explanations of the actual physical process of dying and good on why and when to stop trying to rescue the terminally ill and to let them die peacefully and in less pain and discomfort)
• Rando, Theresa A. How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies
• Rappaport, Nancy. In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide. Haunted by the 1963 death of her mother, a Boston socialite, from an overdose when Rappaport was only four (the youngest of six children), the author tries to reconstruct what happened. As her brother asked: Didn't their mother know that she would leave all these shattered children wondering if it was their fault?
• Redfern, Suzanne and Susan K. Gilbert. The Grieving Garden: Living with the Death of a Child. Redfern and Gilbert reflect on their own experiences and tell the stories of 22 other parents whose children died at various ages and from various causes, from disease and accidents to suicide and terrorism. Organized in sections that mirror the stages of grief, from immediate reactions, seeking support, effects on family life and relationships, to integrating the loss into one's life and maintaining connections with a loved one.
• Rinpoche, Sogyal. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
• Romm, Robin. The Mercy Papers: A Memoir of Three Weeks (a young woman's raw unflinching account of losing her mother to cancer--with no sugar coating, as one reviewer puts it)
• Rosenblatt, Roger. Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt, which E.L. Doctorow describes thus: "A painfully beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backwards. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive."
• Sittser, Jerry L. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss (about the transformative grace that can come even in the face of catastrophic loss)
• Staudacher, Carol. A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One
• Taylor, Nick. A Necessary End (about death of parents)
• Vincent, Eleanor. Swimming with Maya: A Mother's Story (how the daughter's fall from a horse ended in organ donations--transforming a mother's grief)
• Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow
• Waxman, Robert and Linda. Losing Jonathan (losing a beloved child to drugs)
• Wiesel, Elie. Night (powerful account of surviving the nightmare world of the Nazi death camps)
• Williams, Marjorie. The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate (the last third is about her losing battle with cancer, saying goodbye to her family)