Top 5 Book Recommendations for Grieving Parents after Child Loss

Top 5 Book Recommendations for Grieving Parents after Child Loss

After my daughter passed away, I clung to books as a way to process and understand what had happened to me. Reading about other people’s journeys through grief gave me hope that one day I would be able to find happiness again and be able to live without the cloud of grief enveloping me every moment of every day. Here are my top picks for books that bring comfort, hope, and truth to grieving parents.

 1. Holding On To Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God by Nancy Guthrie. A dear friend sent me this book in the mail about a week after Hope passed. As I began to read it, I was so encouraged by Nancy’s thoughts on grief and suffering. She lost two children to a metabolic disorder, both at around 6 months old. In the book, she walks through the story of Job and uses that account to unpack truths about suffering and how it can bring us closer to God. I highly recommend this book because of the Biblical truths found within its pages; it will encourage and challenge you, and it will help combat the lies and despondency that grief brings into your mind.

 2. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis. Most people know Lewis from The Chronicles of Narnia, but he also wrote many non-fiction books. This one addresses how Lewis dealt with the loss of his wife, and the honesty and raw quality of the writing really appealed to me. I loved how he blended theological truths with his feelings, which didn’t always match perfectly. But to me, that is an accurate representation of the grief journey. Our feelings are often fighting with the truths that we believe in our hearts. I recommend this book because it shows that you are not alone; there have been many other people, and very many Christians, who have endured great suffering and struggled with their faith in the midst of that suffering. But Lewis presses through it and finds hope on the other side, and this book encouraged me to do the same.

 3. I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy by Angie Smith. Oh man, did I love this book! Angie and Todd Smith’s fourth daughter was diagnosed with a fatal disorder via ultrasound, and they chose to carry her to term, no matter what that would look like. This book chronicles that journey, as well as sharing the grief of losing their daughter shortly after birth. I loved that this book gave me the chance to relive part of my own journey and let out that emotion as I was grieving their loss. It was also so helpful to read a story that celebrated a child’s life to the fullest, no matter how long she would get to live. It helped me to see that Hope’s life also mattered and made a difference even though she never took a breath. I highly recommend this to any mom who has endured pregnancy or infant loss; it will be a balm to your soul.

 4. Be Still My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose & Provision in Suffering edited by Nancy Guthrie. This book contains 25 essays by both modern and classic authors addressing the problem of pain and suffering. I cannot express how wonderful this book is. Each essay is pretty short, so I would read one every few days and just digest it’s truth for a while. It seemed like this book was written directly for me because every single chapter would comfort or challenge or heal a part of me. It was so helpful to see that Christians had been struggling with this issue for centuries; it was not unusual to feel like I was fighting a brutal mental war every day. Their words gave me strength to keep fighting; the truth in these pages gave me fuel to combat the lies of Satan that tormented me daily.

 5. Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I loved reading this book and imagining Hope’s daily life in heaven. Randy Alcorn does a wonderful job making the idea of heaven come to life using Biblical guidance and a little bit of imagination. The Bible has a lot to say about heaven, but Christians tend to gloss over those passages or pass them by; this book helps point you to those passages and really digs in deep to broaden your understanding of the reality of heaven. I recommend this book because it gave me great peace and hope knowing that Hope was in a truly wonderful place, and that because of Christ, I will get to live with her there one day.

Lauren Young is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January).  She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano.  She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia.  She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family. 

Catherine Hartel

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