Death and Dying Self-Help Books

Much has changed since Elisabeth Kubler-Ross brought discussion of dying and death into the cultural mainstream a generation ago. Yet it is still a topic about which there is too little discussion. It is easy to avoid under the pretext of not wanting to upset someone else, though in truth it is often our own anxiety and discomfort that is the primary issue.

Recommended Self-Help Books on Death and Dying

A Death of One's Own by Gerda LernerA Death of One?s Own
Gerda Lerner

Gerda Lerner?s husband was an academy award winning film editor, and this self-help book is based on the journal which Mrs. Lerner kept through his final illness. It is particularly useful in charting the course of adjustment that individuals and couples make as one is dying. Mr. Lerner pleaded with his wife to help him die with dignity when he could no longer work. When that time came, he was not ready to die and asked her to promise to help him die if he ever lost the power to speak. When that time came, he was not ready to let go. This is a poignant book which lyrically describes the loving process of a couple facing the death of a loved one -- the death of one's partner. 2006,

Beyond Endurance: When A Child dies by Ronald KnappBeyond Endurance: When A Child Dies
Ronald Knapp

The author interviewed 400 families who have experienced the death of a child. He presents the unique and common experiences for three types of death: death after a long illness, sudden or accidental death, and death by murder. He covers the grieving process, dealing with the hospital, and coping behavior and provides suggestions for mourning parents dealing with the loss of a child. 2005, AuthorHouse

Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima by Robert Jay LiftonDeath in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima
Robert Jay Lifton

In this classic self-help book, which won the National Book Award, Dr. Lifton studies the psychological effects on 90,000 survivors of the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945. A penetrating and thought-provoking analysis of the ultimate horror. 1991, University of North Carolina Press

The Denial of Death by Ernest BeckerThe Denial of Death
Ernest Becker

This self-help book won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction and is Ernest Becker?s brilliant and impassioned answer to the ?why? of human existence. Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie ? man?s refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living. 1997, Free Press

The End-of-Life Handbook: A Compassionate Guide to Connecting with and Caring for a Dying Loved One by David B. Feldman, Stephen Andrew Lasher, Jr.The End-of-Life Handbook: A Compassionate Guide to Connecting with and Caring for a Dying Loved One
David B. Feldman, Stephen Andrew Lasher, Jr.

The End-of-Life Handbook deals with both the emotional and psychological issues relating to death and dying in addition to the practical and medical realities family members must confront with a death in the family. As medical technology advances and life expectancies edge upward, families must traverse ever-more-complicated choices as loved ones approach their final hours. This self-help book provides readers much-needed guidance and support for making these frequently difficult decisions in dealing with death. 2008, New Harbinger

Healing Into Life and Death by Stephen LevineHealing Into Life and Death
Stephen Levine

This hope-filled self-help book offers guided meditations designed to produce a new balance of mind and heart. Included are vivid case histories of patients which illustrate how individuals may learn to let go, become more open to life and stop struggling against illness, pain and death. 1987, Anchor Books

How We Die by Sherwin NulandHow We Die
Sherwin Nuland

This useful self-help book tells in plain language the biological and emotional realities of death as experienced by the dying and those who are with them. It answers many questions about what to expect with particular disease processes and can be a helpful resource in making informed choices and dealing with the dying process with dignity. 1994, Knopf

Morrie: In His Own Words: Life Wisdom from a Remarkable Man by Morrie SchwartzMorrie: In His Own Words: Life Wisdom From a Remarkable Man
Morrie Schwartz

Morrie Schwartz was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig?s Disease) at age 75. This book records his experience of his dying process. This is a compelling and wise account of a person living fully through his dying process. 2008, Walker & Company

On Children and Death by Elisabeth Kubler-RossOn Children and Death
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Dr. Kubler-Ross advises parents to allow their dying children to share openly in the dying process to the extent that they can. Good advice for how dying children and their parents can cope with death. 1997, Collier

On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-RossOn Death and Dying
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

This self-help book is the classic which has helped millions of people to better deal with death and dying. In this remarkable book, Dr. Kubler-Ross first explored the now-famous five stages of dealing with impending death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations she gives the reader a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve that patient, and the patient?s family. 1997, Scribner

The Private Worlds of Dying Children by Myra Bluebond-LangnerThe Private Worlds of Dying Children
Myra Bluebond-Langner

The author studied terminally ill children, spending time with them in hospital wards. She gains their trust and ultimately comes to see the world through these children?s eyes. She moves us to understand that children do not fear entirely for their own lives, but vigilantly stand proud in the face of death, subtly comforting their doctors through their smiles while at the same time watching their parents watch them die. A profound, moving self-help book. 1980, Princeton University Press

The Psychology of Death by Robert KastenbaumThe Psychology of Death
Robert Kastenbaum

This basic self-help text includes chapters on how we understand death, the experience of death in childhood and adolescence with discussion on suicide, physician assisted death, death anxiety and many others. 2006, Springer Publishing Company, 3rd Edition

Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes by William BridgesTransitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes
William Bridges

This revered self-help classic has helped hundreds of thousands of readers cope with change by providing an elegantly simple yet profoundly insightful roadmap of the transition process. 2004, Da Capo Press, Revised 25th Anniversary Edition