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Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  1,571 ratings  ·  228 reviews
In this groundbreaking new work, David Kessler—an expert on grief and the coauthor with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of the iconic On Grief and Grieving—journeys beyond the classic five stages to discover a sixth stage: meaning.

In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler Ross first identified the stages of dying in her transformative book On Death and Dying. Decades later, she and David Kessler wr
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Scribner
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A Ashill Go straight to Grief Demystified (Caroline Lloyd) - debunks all this "stages" nonsense and you'll learn about Professor Neimeyer who is the REAL exper…moreGo straight to Grief Demystified (Caroline Lloyd) - debunks all this "stages" nonsense and you'll learn about Professor Neimeyer who is the REAL expert in meaning making and grief.(less)

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 ·  1,571 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5? There is some really good stuff in here but I just can't say it's particularly well-written. Quite a few typos as well which was surprising. Maybe a bit of a publication rush.

On Grief and Grieving (the 5 stages book that DK co-authored) was really formative for me and this is sort of supposed to be "the sequel". I have noticed in my own life how important meaning is, as a later stage of grief. I couldn't quite connect how all the different parts of the book related back to meaning, though,
Clif Hostetler
Mar 02, 2021 rated it liked it
This book explores paths toward healing for people overwhelmed by grief. Though the cause of grief is often death of a loved one, it can also be the result of divorce, betrayal, or end of a career.

As inferred by this book’s subtitle, the whole world knows about the five stages of grief. (view spoiler)
Natalie Aguirre
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to help you find meaning in life after the loss for someone you love. I have been struggling with this since I lost my husband, and I am starting to look at how I go on in life in a different way since reading this book. There are specific chapters on losing a child, losing someone to suicide, and losing someone to a drug overdose that may be helpful to people in this situation. Really recommend this book.
Joanne Mcleod
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In being a physician and having spent a lot of time dedicated to Oncology and Palliative care, I have been very aware of and read some of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross writings on death and dying, as well as the five stages of grief. But for some reason I only became aware of David Kessler in reading his book, “Finding Meaning”. I always felt there was something missing in dealing with grief, especially at a personal level. I found the missing link in David’s writing about the sixth stage of grief, ...more
Kent Winward
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The book contains a good amount of information on dealing with grief. Not a lot of philosophical depth and I got a bit sick of the name dropping, but overall helpful in looking at how we handle grief and the addition of meaning as an additional stage makes a lot of sense.
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing read I loved!
Cathy Cheshire
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartfelt Hope and Loving Inspiration

I wish there were more books like this where grief education is enveloped in hope about the possibility to fully live when we are ready, especially after feeling despair wants to keep us lost in darkness. Although every grief journey is different, I believe the genuine sharing of grief experience and how we can go on as David lovingly expresses, can inspire so many to find their own way after loss. We can feel less alone and an easing of the terror that every
Jill Hinton Wolfe
Helped me find hope, then heal

I read this book in the hopes that I might find some wisdom in the unexpected loss of my vision. It helped me first acknowledge the pain & hold it loosely so that I could really see it for what it was. Then like a small lamp turned on in a dark room, I started to see things differently. Perhaps the single most important takeaway from the book, for me, was the question that came at the end, “Who would I be if I grew and changed because of this loss?” Not everybody is
Tiffany Rose
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finding Meaning is about finding meaning in the loss of a loved one, but I feel it can be used for any type of great loss that effects us greatly that we grieve over, such as the ending of a long term relationship. This book is beautifully written and fently guides you to find meanjng from loss. It shows you the importance of finding meaning and also tells stories of others who have found meaning from the loss of those close to them. It is a good read.

I would like to thank Netgalley and the pub
Cristie Underwood
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book while struggling with the sudden loss of my grandfather a few years ago. Despite it being years, I have had a hard time. Thanks to the author of this book, I now understand that I was searching for meaning as to why this death occurred. It has been helpful looking back on my times with my grandfather with love vs pain. I highly recommend this book to anyone else struggling with grief.
Tracey Axnick
Dec 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely excellent. I lost my father and my husband in less than a year and have read many books on grieving. This is a standout - thorough, balanced and meaningful. It will help you whether you’re a person of strong faith or an atheist. I found the last 3 chapters especially poignant. Highly recommended.
Ross Flynn
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-book
Best book I ever read on grieving. I’m a psychotherapist and I’ll be referring clients to it. I found the narrated version extra helpful, hearing David’s voice and empathy in every story. David models wonderful thoughts and phrases that enable presence in the face of a lifetime of grief.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure that it gave me anything knew. I also question some of his sources, especially Williamson and Frankl. However, he does still know a lot about grieving, and the book would probably be helpful for people struggling with that, while being more accessible than some deeper books.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is written with so much compassion and therefore healing for the grieving person.

“We often believe that grief will grow smaller in time. It doesn’t. We must grow bigger. We must be the architects of our lives after loss.”
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was great. I am five years out from my husband passing away, and I still found this helpful. David Kessler co-authored the book about the Five Stages of Grief, and he introduces Finding Meaning as the sixth stage. His insights are great and the stories are really helpful. Highly recommend.
May 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grief, non-fiction
Meaning: How can you honor your loved one?
How can you create a different life that includes them?
How can you use your experience to help others?
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read many books on grief over the last almost five years, I feel like this book is helping me finally turn a corner. Everything Does Not happen for a reason. We can find meaning, however, even in the face of heartbreaking loss and grief.

“You heal when you can remember those who have died with more love than pain, when you find a way to create meaning in your own life in a way that will honor theirs.”

“We often believe that grief will grow smaller in time. It doesn’t. We must grow bigger We
Jul 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was so helpful for me when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. It was interesting and Kessler gave a lot of good examples to make the whole grief process more understandable and helping to give those suffering grief some hope.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
No one taught me "grieving." It's almost always something you're forced to learn when something terrible happens. Also, reading a book will never make you an experienced griever or in any way make grieving okay. But there is tremendous merit in thinking ahead about what grieving looks like, listening to other people's stories, and reframing the way you think about grief and pain. Kessler is not only a great writer and counselor, a few years ago he lost his own 21 year old son. He reflects about ...more
Aug 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
I read this book because a friend of mine is translating it and wanted me to write the introduction for the book. He said he’d been thinking of me from the first page to the last because of all the things that I’ve been doing for my father in his memory ever since he passed away. He said I am a perfect example of what this book is talking about, reaching a sixth stage of grief, finding meaning in what has happened and creating meaning in it.

I have read about 10 other books on grief and grieving
Mar 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing new, recycled material, not fulfilling. Didn't finish. ...more
3.5 stars.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
As much as I admire David Kessler and his work, I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to. I skipped over a lot of it, because the stories of his patients were too upsetting and I really just wanted the "advice" without the "examples". I particularity found the chapter on suicide helpful even though I lost my dad to suicide back in 1992. I was really reading this book because of losing my husband in 2019. Most of it was okay, but one section upset me, and that was the section on having a fu ...more
Heather Hunter
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Though my own experience with death and grieving began when my grandfather died when I was six and I was not allowed to attend his funeral. I was his favorite and he was my guy and it really set the stage for my relationship with grief and grieving.

Then my mother died when I was 16 and many deaths later, I feel an intimate and powerful relationship with death having been with many family members as they took their last breaths.

If you know death well or have yet to have it knock on your door, it
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A truly remarkable book. I found this so incredibly healing for the wounds of grief both old and new, ones I was conscious of and ones I didn’t realize were waiting to be healed. I hope this book finds its way to many in mourning and I for one will be making a point to bring it to the attention of those I know who are well beyond the raw and heart wrenching early days of grief but not yet sure of where to go after acceptance. I think the idea of having a generative state of making meaning, that ...more
Gina Buonaguro
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a very helpful book. I bought it six months after my mother's death but wasn't ready to read it. Another six months and I was ready. I think I did some of these things about finding meaning intuitively, but also see opportunities for more into the future that I think will help me grieve, especially during Covid when many rituals have been cancelled. The only thing I felt detracted from the book was the frequent celebrity name dropping, but perhaps that's more of my own beef - ...more
Aug 09, 2021 added it
Shelves: arc
An excellent addition to the book “On Grief and Grieving” by the same author with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. This book picks up where the previous one left off, and would be an excellent addition to the library of any clinician, clergy member, or anyone who works with grieving people.

ARC provided by NetGalley and St Martins Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work-books
This book is truly a gift. I’d recommend this book to everyone. We have all experienced losses. This book is a nice step to help someone in the healing process and to take their grief work to the next level. It also discusses traumatic losses too. I also felt moved when the author discussed the loss of his son and mom and how he’s been working on meaning in his life.
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The book gave me a lot of comfort in ways to be able to move forward but also eventually get to a point where there is more love than grief after the loss of a loved one. I also appreciated that love and the memories are more important than trying to hold onto a lot of physical items. With time, we still have the ability to grow and do things in memory of person's death. We can't change the fact a person is no longer with us, but we can change how we move forward in a positive way through memori ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I discovered this book through a podcast by Brene Brown (whom I highly recommend). This book focuses on the loss of a loved one but the principles could be applied to the loss of a job or life as we know it. Another book I'm glad I read. ...more
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David Kessler David Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief. His experience with thousands of people on the edge of life and death has taught him the secrets to living a fulfilled life, even after life’s tragedies. His new book is Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. He coauthored On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding P

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As the final days of the year tick themselves off the calendar, the 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge is coming to a close. Sincere...
161 likes · 150 comments
“Each person's grief is as unique as their fingerprint. But what everyone has in common is that no matter how they grieve, they share a need for their grief to be witnessed. That doesn't mean needing someone to try to lessen it or reframe it for them. The need is for someone to be fully present to the magnitude of their loss without trying to point out the silver lining.” 12 likes
“You don't have to experience grief, but you can only avoid it by avoiding love. Love and grief are inextricably intertwined.” 6 likes
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