Katie’s Bookshelf: On Grief and Grieving by Kubler-Ross & Kessler

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is known for her work around grief and later in life began collaborating with David Kessler. “On Grief and Grieving” is the last book she wrote before dying. The book is about finding the meaning of grief through the stages of grief. The authors go through the stages(denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) and caution that they are not meant to be viewed as a path towards healing but simply a framework of experiences one may go through when experiencing grief. The authors discussed inner experiences such as regrets, hauntings, isolation, and strength. They provide detailed information on each of these experiences including examples. They followup with the outer experiences such as holidays, finances, and closure with vignettes.

“The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost. We think we want to avoid the grief, but really it is the pain of the loss we want to avoid. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.”

I think this book provides a good framework to consider when dealing with grief associated with death. It helped to understand the development of the 5 stages and other experiences(inner and outer) one could have when dealing with grief. If you are looking for a book on general grief(not related to death) this book probably won’t be as helpful as there are many references to death or anticipatory grief.

Read this book if:

  • You have experienced grief related to death
  • Work with others in a healing capacity who are experiencing grief

Buy it Here

Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2014). On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss. New York, NY: Scribner.