Reading Resources


Still Life: A Memoir

By: Jeff Sutherland

Father, husband, athlete, medical doctor, Jeff Sutherland had built a perfect life for himself and his family…then he noticed that he was losing strength in his left arm. He visited a specialist and from that appointment, he writes, “deep personal loss for some unknown reason wrapped its tentacles around me and my family.” Diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), he lost his abilities to walk and speak within two years and, confined to a wheelchair, was forced to retire from his life’s work as a physician at forty-three. Not long after, he was locked in his own inanimate body, unable to eat, drink, or breathe without assistance. His meals were delivered through a feeding tube, and a ventilator controlled his lungs through an opening in his throat. The only parts of his body he was able to move voluntarily were his eyes.

Despite these extreme limitations, Sutherland made peace with his disease and, surrounded by his loving family, found happiness again – only to suffer another soul-shattering loss. His eldest son, Zachary, a lifeguard, drowned along with his girlfriend Kaya in a freak kayaking accident in the river behind the family home. “Despite everything I lost through ALS,” he says, Zach & Kaya’s deaths were worse. Yet again, through a long process of suffering and healing, Sutherland was able to accept his loss and find a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in his constricted life.

His story, laboriously written on a computerized device that tracks his eye movements on a visual keyboard, is a testament to both the human will’s ability to overcome unspeakable tragedy, and the power of familial love to heal incomprehensible pain. “When a negative change occurs,” writes Sutherland, “we have to choose how we will face it. We can be paralyzed with fear or we can make the choice to integrate it into our lives, make peace with it, and eventually grow from it. With any change, good or bad, personal growth is the ideal outcome. It is my belief that this our soul’s mission on earth.”

Resilient Grieving: Finding Strength and Embracing Life After a Loss That Changes Everything

By: Lucy Hone

Lucy Hone, a researcher in positive psychology and resilience was faced with her own inescapable sorrow in 2014 when her 12-year-old daughter Abi, her daughter’s best friend and her own close friend were killed in a car accident. She was uniquely positioned to apply her intellectual knowledge to her own immense loss and offers strategies to proactively move through grief and eventually embrace life again.

The research and Lucy’s story support the human capacity for resilient grieving, our innate ability to respond to traumatic loss by finding ways to grow – by becoming more engaged with our lives and discovering new, profound meaning.

This book aims to help readers relearn their world, to navigate the grieving process without hiding from difficult feelings or denying the reality, or significance, of a loss that changes everything.

option bOption B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

By: Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

Sheryl Sandberg shares her story of the sudden loss of her husband, Adam Grant adds research findings and together they offer practical advice to help build strength for life’s challenges.

* A copy of this book has been donated to Halton Hills Public Library in memory of Zach and Kaya

just one thingJust One Thing

By: Rick Hanson              

Simple practices grounded in brain science, positive psychology and Buddhist teachings that give a very practical “how” to beginning to move forward with life after loss.

* A copy of this book has been donated to Halton Hills Public Library in memory of Zach and Kaya

resilientResilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness

By: Rick Hanson              

True resilience is about much more than simply surviving the worst day of your life.  It’s about thriving every day of your life.  This book will teach you how to grow strengths inside yourself – like grit, gratitude and compassion – for lasting well-being in a changing world.

* A copy of this book has been donated to Halton Hills Public Library in memory of Zach and Kaya

The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach us about Living Fully

By: Frank Ostasteski

In this book, the founder of the Zen Hospice Project offers valuable insights gained from witnessing many people face their final passage that guide us toward appreciating life’s preciousness.  These are relatable for anyone navigating a life transition, coping with loss, serious illness or a personal crisis. Weaving together pragmatic tools, real life stories and ancient wisdom, Frank helps us discover how an awareness of death can be a valuable companion on the road to living well, forging a rich and meaningful life free of regret.

* A copy of this book has been donated to Halton Hills Public Library in memory of Zach and Kaya

Life is Good: The Book – How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride

By:  Bert and John Jacobs

This inspiring book of wisdom celebrates the power of optimism, highlighting ten key “superpowers” accessible to us all: openness, courage, simplicity, humour, gratitude, fun, compassion, creativity, authenticity and love.

the five ways we grieveThe Five Ways We Grieve: Finding Your Personal Path to Healing after the Loss of a Loved One

By: Susan A. Berger

This book debunks the common myth of the stages of grief and offers five identity types that represent different ways of creating meaning from the loss of a loved one in an effort to redefine purpose in life after loss.

man's search for meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning

By: Viktor Frankl

The classic chronicle of Frankl’s experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate and his method of surviving that adversity by identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about.

after thisAfter This

By: Claire Bidwell Smith

A grief counsellor explores the question she confronts daily with her clients: what happens after we die?  She explores grief and the afterlife from multiple perspectives and shares her own personal journey.

life on PurposeLife On Purpose

By: Viktor J. Strecher

Life on Purpose explores the incredible connection between purposeful living and the latest scientific evidence on quality of life and longevity. Dr. Vic Strecher reveals the elements necessary for a purposeful life and how to acquire them, and outlines an elegant strategy for improving energy, willpower, and long-term happiness, and well-being. He integrates these core themes into his own personal story—how the tragic loss of his daughter led him to reconsider his own life—and how a deeper understanding of purposeful living helped him not only survive, but thrive.

I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

By: Brook Noel & Pamela D Blair PhD

This classic guide offers comfort and guidance for those facing the challenges of sudden death,  It discusses the first few weeks, the physical effects of grief, societal issues as well as circumstances such as suicide, child loss and homicide.  It explores the unique experience of unexpected death and offers the authors’ perspective from their own experience as well as intimate stories of others.

Further Reading About Mediumship:

How To Become a Medium: A Step-By-Step Guide to Connecting With the Other Side

By: Mary Anne Kennedy

How to Become a Medium is based on the understanding that, as spiritual beings, we all possess the innate ability to communicate with those on the other side, and it provides practical guidance that helps readers understand the soul journey, establish a spiritual practice and develop the skills to communicate with our loved ones who have passed. Mary-Anne shares her personal experiences with grief, fear, and anxiety, and talks about how instrumental learning to meditate and learning to speak with spirit were in her own healing. Through examples of her own mediumship practice, she also enlightens readers with messages from the other side about love, forgiveness, healing, and moving on with our lives here in the physical world.

My Gift of Light: A Bereaved Mother’s Loving Pilgrimage from Skeptic to Psychic Medium

By: Sandy Wiltshire

My Gift of Light  is an honest and vulnerable sharing of Sandy Wiltshire’s experiences in the spiritual realm following the sudden and tragic loss of her daughter, Kim.  Desperately seeking connection with her daughter, and through the depths of her own despair, Sandy discovered and developed her ability to be a clear channel of reaffirming messages from those on the other side.  She eventually established a mediumship practice that became dedicated to bringing messages from the other side to parents who had lost children.

Where Two Worlds Meet: How to Develop Evidential Mediumship

By: Janet Nohavec

Where Two Worlds Meet offers a clear and concise framework to help understand how evidential mediumship works and provides systematic techniques for developing the ability to communicate with those on the other side. Whether the reader is searching for understanding of how their loved ones are continuing to communicate with them, or has a desire the develop the skills themselves, this book provides useful information. The author emphasizes that mediumship is sacred work, and therefore carries tremendous responsibility.

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