5 Memoirs That Show You’re Not Alone in Your Grief

The loss of a loved one can trigger a long and arduous grieving process. For those in recovery, it can feel even more painful. While everyone experiences grief in their own way, you might feel quite isolated from others as you endure yours.

If grief has you spending more time on your own, reading memoirs about loss can help you feel more connected to others, especially those who also have lost someone very special. Here are five memoirs to help you cope during this difficult time.

“Notes on Grief” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie’s beloved father died back home in Nigeria during the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdown kept members of her family separated when they needed each other the most. Her grief over her father was naturally magnified by her isolation, as well as the grief of millions of others dealing with their own losses.

Short yet powerful, this 80-page memoir is based on the “New Yorker” article that the novelist and essayist wrote in exploration of her personal experience and the collective grief felt around the world.

“Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion

Right before Christmas 2003, Joan Didion and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, witnessed their daughter Quintana fall ill from what seemed at first like flu, but landed her in an induced coma for septic shock. About a week later, John died from a massive coronary. Though Quintana pulled through, she was subject to a series of illnesses—she ultimately succumbed to them in 2005).

This book, which won the 2005 National Book Award, marks Didion’s lauded literary attempt to make sense of the enormous sense of loss and despair she felt in the wake of her husband’s sudden death and in caring for her daughter. A deeply honest book, it reflects on the beauty and pain that life and love allow us to experience.

“The Art of Losing It” by Rosemary Keevil

After losing her brother to AIDS and her husband to cancer in the very same year, radio show host Rosemary Keevil had to muster the courage and energy to raise her two young children while battling addiction. Taking time off to go to rehab, her life somehow feels even more chaotic in sobriety.

This memoir, though heartbreaking, is also hopeful as it unfolds the all-too-real story of one woman’s journey through a doubly dark time of grief and addiction.

“Lost and Found” by Kathryn Schulz

Not long after Kathryn Schulz met the woman who would become her future wife, her father died after going into the hospital to be treated for only a mild heart condition. How was it possible for her heart to break while also soar in the glow of her new love? To figure it all out, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist did what she knew best: write.

Part memoir, part guide for the grief-stricken, this book shows it’s possible to feel all the emotions when grappling with the death of a beloved parent. The title refers to the premise that a person can lose an average of 200,000 objects over the course of a lifetime and how we come to terms with that loss, as well as what it means for us to seek out new things, as well as people and experiences.

“You Could Make This Place Beautiful” by Maggie Smith

Death is not the only catalyst of grief. When a marriage ends, it can feel like a part of you died, which is how it was for poet Maggie Smith. Fighting past this personal heartbreak so she could continue to be the best mother she could be for her children, she emerged with a fierce determination to rediscover herself.

Smith’s memoir, whose title comes from her famous poem, “Good Bones,” goes beyond her initial heartbreak to focus on larger issues like gender roles, household dynamics, and what it means to be a woman.

Grief is a journey, but it doesn’t have to be a long or lonely one. Find out how Beachside Rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida can offer the support you need to stay on track with your recovery. Call 866-349-1770 today to connect with a trained admissions counselor.


Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash