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Publisher's Summary

In this groundbreaking and “poignant” (Los Angeles Times) book, David Kessler — praised for his work by Maria Shriver, Marianne Williamson, and Mother Teresa — 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 wrote the classic On Grief and Grieving, introducing the stages of grief with the same transformative pragmatism and compassion. Now, based on hard-earned personal experiences, as well as knowledge and wisdom gained through decades of work with the grieving, Kessler introduces a critical sixth stage: meaning.

Kessler’s insight is both professional and intensely personal. His journey with grief began when, as a child, he witnessed a mass shooting at the same time his mother was dying. For most of his life, Kessler taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about end of life, trauma, and grief, as well as leading talks and retreats for those experiencing grief. Despite his knowledge, his life was upended by the sudden death of his 21-year-old son.

How does the grief expert handle such a tragic loss? He knew he had to find a way through this unexpected, devastating loss, a way that would honor his son. That, ultimately, was the sixth stage of grief - meaning. In Finding Meaning, Kessler shares the insights, collective wisdom, and powerful tools that will help those experiencing loss.

“Beautiful, tender, and wise” (Katy Butler, author of The Art of Dying Well), Finding Meaning is “an excellent addition to grief literature that helps pave the way for steps toward healing” (School Library Journal). 

©2019 David Kessler (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Finding Meaning

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paying it forward

This is my social media post, the moment I finished listening to this book. I work in medical practice management for a prominent hospital.

"At the height of the NY pandemic in April, our hospital had daily conference calls to touch base, disseminate information and support. One of the doctors, and I wish I could remember which one, mentioned he was reading this book, and that it was helping him as well helping him help others. I remember being struck that he was in a position of high hospital leadership, in the pit of the Covid trenches, and looking to be better, both personally and professionally. I ordered it on the spot. I just finished reading it.
The past 2 years have been clouded by much personal loss, death being just one of them. This book on finding meaning- the 6th step of grief - helped put words to the previously undefinable. I found some bits of insight and wisdom to deploy in my own life. Sharing (as did that MD) in the hope to pay it forward. You never know where the life rafts come from...
❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤"

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A Beacon of Light Leading Out of Despair

Of all the books I've read since the death of my daughter, almost two years ago now, this has been the most meaningful and helpful for me. David Kessler has tapped into every aspect of my grief and given me hope of finding meaning in this great loss. Thank you David for helping to guide my broken and wandering heart toward life again.

4 people found this helpful

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Essential Book for a Grief Journey

Our beautiful son died by suicide almost five years ago. David’s book is the first one I’ve read that finally helped me to look not only at my grief but also to look beyond it. I have a long way to go and I may never truly be able to find the meaning of my loss, but David’s words and the raw stories of his own loss provided a light. Thank you David😘

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The best book for my grief

After more than two years' grief of loss of my dad, and countless self help books, I thought I was ready to move to the sixth stage. This book is so meaningful for guideline and the author knows my grief deeply. The hope is giving me full strength to look for the meaning and to move forward with my life.

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I loved this book! I listened to it on Audible and hung on every word.

After being my mother’s caregiver for a lung transplant and losing her @ home on hospice winter solstice 2019 this book spoke to my soul. It helped me understand the grieving process, and I recommended it to a friend who lost her daughter to suicide - she is also loving it. Most excellent work Mr. Kessler. I’m going to listen to it again and I bought a hard copy too. 🙏

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Absolutely life changing

If you are grieving, this book will help you heal. Beautifully written with tender love

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Helpful in Healing

This might not be as helpful in early grief, but a little over a year after my tragic loss, it provided me with a lot of needed and helpful perspective. I realized that there are many ways to make meaning from loss--some of which I'm already doing, and more I can aspire to when I'm ready.

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This Book Helped Me Through my Mother’s Death

I first heard about David Kessler and his néw book on the Podcast on The Idea Fountain. It helped me through severe grief over watching my mother die a painful death and the aftermath of losing her. I recommend this to anyone who is around grief. It also taught me how to respond to people who are grieving.

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A Must Read for the Grieving Heart

This book truly helped me to sort through trauma and grief and loss. Highly recommend.

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Amazing book

I learned so much from this book. I love that David himself narrated it. His voice is so soothing and genuine that I was able to really grasp the meaning of his words.

1 person found this helpful