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So Many Books, So Little Time


Any internet search on Palliative Care, dying, grief, or bereavement will leave you reeling as to which to choose. Despite being so many to choose from and every book will brings something different to different people, we have tried to make the selection process a little easier.


The following books are highly recommended by the Palliative Care community. They are available through, the Overdrive library app, your local bookstore or library.


If you have come across a book that you think might be helpful to others travelling the path towards end-of-life, please let us know. We are always looking for new resources to add to our list so that others can benefit.


Advance Care Planning

A Caregiver's Guide: a Handbook About End-Of-Life Care

A helpful guide for family about the end-of-life journey that their loved one has embarked on

Written by Karen Macmillan

Published 2004 by Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Assn

CEO of Everything

This book helps the reader learn how to survive loss, what works and what doesn’t, how to deal with it all, and how to embrace the fact that you are in charge

Written by Gail Vaz-Oxlade & Victoria Ryce

Published 2016 by Collins

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

This process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you

Written by Margareta Magnusson

Published 2018 by Scribner

Grave Expectations: Planning the End Like There's No Tomorrow

Full of humorous and poignant funeral stories and first-person accounts, this book is the ultimate handbook of creative suggestions for realizing one's final wishes. This book gives people permission to memorialize their lives on their own terms and in their own ways. Who knew arranging a funeral could be fun?

Written by Sue Bailey & Carmen Flowers

Published 2009 by Cider Mill Press

In the Shadows of Angels

With over 20 years of work as a hospice counsellor, author Dr. Breiddal, has collected stories of how ordinary people face death and dying. In this living body of work she reveals the skills needed, along with the struggles and rewards of providing hospice care

Written by Dr. Susan Breiddal

Published Nov. 9, 2021 by Friesen Press

Let's Talk about Death (over Dinner): An Invitation and Guide to Life's Most Important Conversation

A practical, inspiring guide to life's most difficult yet important conversation

Written by Michael Hebb

Published 2018 by Da Capo Lifelong Books

My Personal Comfort Plan

This 26-page, beautifully designed guide and checklist will help you define your personal comfort wishes for your final months and moments.

Written by Chelsea Peddle

Published by

Talking About Death Won’t Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations

The essential handbook to help Canadians navigate personal and medical decisions for the best quality of life for the end of our lives

Written by Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller

Published 2018 by ECW Press

What to Do When I'm Gone: A Mother's Wisdom to Her Daughter

Combining wit and heartfelt advice with quirky and colorful style, this illustrated instruction manual for getting through life without one's mom is a must have read

Written by Hallie Bateman & Suzy Hopkins

Published 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing

Grief & Bereavement

Dying Well

Through the true stories of patients, it helps families deal with doctors and talk to loved ones to help make the end of life as meaningful and enriching as the beginning.

Written by Ira Byock

Published 1998 by Riverhead Books

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

Filled with practical advice regarding the requests of the dying and how to help them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death so they may live fully to the very end

Written by Maggie Callanan & Patricia Kelley

Published 2012 by Simon & Schuster

Final Journeys: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life

This book helps keep the lines of communication open, get the help you need, and create the peaceful end we all hope for from diagnosis through the final hours of life

Written by Maggie Callanan

Published 2009 by Bantam Press

Healing Your Grieving Soul: 100 Spiritual Practices for Mourners

A practical guide of mourning activities based on meditation, prayer, yoga, and contemplative solitude to help deal with feelings of despair

Written by Alan Wolfelt PhD

Published 2009 by Companion Press

"I Don't Know What to Say..." (16th Edition)

A self-help guide in communicating with and caring for someone who is dying or has a life-threatening illness

Written by Dr. Robert Buckman

Published 2005 by Key Porter Books

The Long Goodbye: A Memoir

This memoir is about loss, the fleeting moments of life's joy, and how memory can lead us out of the jagged darkness of loss. 

Written by Meghan O’Rourke

Published 2012 by RiverheadBooks

Modern Loss

A wise and often funny book that offers insights and essays to help us cry, laugh, grieve, identify, and above all, empathize

Written by Rebecca Soffer & Gabrielle Birkner

Published 2018 by HarperCollins

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

A book about how death of a mother affects daughters

Written by Hope Edelman

Published 2006 by Da Capo Press

There is No Good Card for This

An illustrated guide that takes you, step by step by step, past the paralysis of thinking about someone in a difficult time to actually doing something (or nothing) with good judgment instead of fear

Written by Kelsey Crowe PhD & Emily McDowell

Published 2017 by HarperOne Books


Grief & Bereavement for Children

The Angel Told Me to Tell You Good-bye

A great tool for children to explain the experiences we call "death" and "reincarnation" if a family member has suddenly passed over

Written by Leia Stinnett

Published 1996 by Light Technology Publishing

The Grieving Child

Offers practical, compassionate advice for helping a child cope with the death of a parent or loved one

Written by Helen Fitzgerald

Published 1992 by Touchstone

Hey, Kiddo

A powerful, unforgettable graphic memoir about growing up with a drug-addicted mother, a missing father, and two unforgettably opinionated grandparents.

Written by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Published 2018 by Graphix

Someone I Love Died by Suicide: A Story for Child Survivors and Those Who Care for Them

Designed for adult caregivers to read to surviving youngsters following a suicidal death. The story allows individuals an opportunity to recognize normal grieving symptoms and to identify various interventions to promote healthy ways of coping with the death of a special person

Written by Doreen T. Cammarata

Published 2009 by Limitless Press

We Were Gonna Have a Baby, But We Had an Angel Instead

This is a book to help children confront and manage grief over the loss of a young sibling. It can help you let your children know that the baby that was lost can still be remembered in a special way

Written by Pat Schwiebert 

Published 2003 by Grief Watch

Grief from Traumatic Loss


After the Darkest Hour the Sun Will Shine Again: A Parent's Guide to Coping with the Loss of a Child

A guide to take us through the process of grieving, from the effects of a child's death on the parents' marriage to what to say when someone asks, "Do you have children?" 

Written by Elizabeth Mehren

Published 1997 by Touchstone

After Suicide

Examines the dynamics of after suicide bereavement. With dozens of real-life case histories, it offers hope for survivors in maintaining their sanity and poise during this most difficult time.

Written by Eleanora Betsy Ross

Published 2002 by Da Capo Lifelong Press

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby (3rd Edition)

This book covers many different kinds of loss, including information on issues such as the death of one or more babies from a multiple birth, pregnancy interruption, and the questioning of aggressive medical intervention

Written by Deborah Davis

Published 2016 by Fulcrum Publishing

Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort

Designed for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide and felt that sucker punch of grief; for anyone who is in pain, walking unsteadily, and considering suicide as an option; and for anyone who works with, guides, or counsels those feeling suicidal and/or suffering the profound grief from a suicidal loss

Written by Adele Ryan McDowell, PhD

Published 2014 by White Flowers Press

The Unspeakable Loss: How Do You Live After a Child Dies?

No matter where you are in your grieving process, this book provides a space to mourn in your own way, and helps you understand how the death of a child affects siblings, other family members and friends, recognizing that we each grieve differently.

Written by Nisha Zenoff

Published 2017 by Da Capo Lifelong Books 


Palliative Care for Healthcare Providers


Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

A practicing surgeon, the author fearlessly examines the ultimate limitations and failures-in his own medical practice and others as life draws to a close for a patient.

Written by Atul Gawande

Published 2017 by  Picador USA

The Complete Bedside Companion: A No-Nonsense Guide to Caring for the Seriously Ill

Offers warmth, encouragement, and practical medical, legal, financial, and emotional advice you need when caring for an ailing loved one

Written by Rodger McFarlane & Philip Bashe

Published 1999 by  Touchstone

Essentials in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Resource for Every Nurse

A valuable textbook about the dying process, integration of a palliative approach​, enhancing comfort, providing psycho-social care, and caring for the care-giver​

Written by Katherine Murray

Published 2016 by Life and Death Matters

Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life

An ICU & Palliaitve Care physician, this book is telling of the journey to learn what patients fear more than death itself: the prospect of dying badly. She builds bridges between patients and caregivers, formulates plans to allay patients’ pain and anxiety, and enlists the support of loved ones so that life can end well, even beautifully

Written by Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D.

Published 2017 by Avery

Medical Care of the Dying (4th Edition)

Available at

A textbook over-viewing of the principles and elements of effective palliative care. It features 26 contributing authors, 687 pages, 2,700 references and over 300 tables and figures

Written & published 2006 by the Victoria Hospice Society

Palliative Care at Home

Available at

A resource for family or other caregivers that provides information and education to allow sound choices throughout the palliative care process.

Written & published 2013 by Victoria Hospice Society

Transitions in Dying & Bereavement: A Psychosocial Guide for Hospice Palliative Care (2nd Edition(

Available at

Newly revised, this award-winning textbook comprehensively and compassionately covers the key transitions that dying people and their families face, and effective interventions to facilitate these transitions

Written by Victoria Hospice Society

Published 2016 by Health Professions Press

Misc Books


BC Seniors Guide

Available as PDF, ePub for ereaders, and in hard copy at

A book-style compilation of provincial and federal programs with sections on benefits, health, lifestyle, housing, transportation, finances, safety and security, and other services

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