Skip to ContentJoin the conversation over on IG!
What We're Lovin'

It's about time we're seeing more movies, TV shows, and other stuff that really gets grief right. So, shout-out to all the awesome content out there! And if you've got any recommendations for us, hit us up using the contact page.

collapse
Reads
Early Departures
Early Departures

Why we love it: Early Departures (Katherine Tegen Books, 2020) is a YA novel by Justin A. Reynolds about a 17-year-old boy named Jamal who blames his longtime best friend, Quincy, for the death of his parents who died a couple of years ago. 

Jamal’s grief seems to be taking over his whole life until something real unxpected happens. Quincy dies trying to save someone’s life…and a mysterious man offers Quincy’s mom a chance to bring Quincy back through experimental technology! 

While the storyline might sound kind of insane, the author definitely knows how to capture the voice of a teen. The feels about grief are real, and it's like you're right there with the characters. The book is a page-turner, and deals with some deep stuff like mental health challenges and identity struggles. Check it out!

 

4-line poem about grief
4-line poem about grief

Why we love it: So many young people think poetry is boring (not true) or totally old-fashioned (can be true but not always!). You've got to check this mighty poem out, though. We love the to-the-point sentiment by Naila Franics, @thishallowedwilderness, which is about and dedicated to grief: 

"Grief, I say, come in. Sit down, I have tea. There is honey. This will take as long as it takes."

The author is a grief coach who has been through grief herself so she knows all about navigating the feelings. So many of us want to try and ignore the pain, heartbreak, disappointment, and anger, but the emotions are always sitting right there whether we acknowledge them or not. 

That's why we're loving this poem that tells us to "invite grief for tea," making cozy space for it so we can feel all the feels and just be okay with all of them. BYOH (bring your own honey).

 

The Fault In Our Stars
The Fault In Our Stars

Why we love it: The Fault in Our Stars (Penguin Books, 2014) may not be recent, but it is such a classic. You might've seen the movie, but trust us - the book is one of the best YA books out there. 

The story is about Hazel, this 16-year-old cancer patient who meets this guy named Gus in her cancer support group. Things get pretty intense as their relationship heats up and they let themselves be vulnerable with each other. The author, John Green, tells it like it is, no sugarcoating.

One of the best quotes about grief: "Grief does not change you Hazel. It reveals you." Yes, we love that!

You'll laugh, you'll cry (for real, have tissues on hand), and your heart will likely break a little. But that's what makes it so good. It's raw and honest. It's a YA classic for a reason.

They Both Die at the End 
They Both Die at the End 

By Javier, age 14

Why I love it: They Both Die at the End is a book by Adam Silvera which takes place in New York. What makes this book special is that the whole premise is that on the day that you are going to die, you get a call letting you know several hours in advance so that you can take full advantage of your last hours on Earth. 

The main characters are Mateo, an introverted teen with a sick dad in the hospital, and Rufus, an orphan that is outgoing. Mateo and Rufus spend their final day on Earth getting to know each other through many wacky and emotional adventures. 

It is very cool to see how someone would react to the fact that they are dying, and it is kind of like grieving for yourself. If you are ever bored and want a good book to read, They Both Die at the End is here for you!

"On Those Days"
"On Those Days"

ON THOSE DAYS

by Donna Ashworth

On those days,
when you miss someone the most,

as though your memories,
are sharp enough,
to slice through skin and bone,

remember how they loved you.

Remember how they loved you,
and do that,
for yourself.

In their name,
in their honour.

Love yourself,
as they loved you.

They would like that.

On those days when you miss someone the most,
love yourself harder.

We asked author Donna Ashworth how she loves herself when her grief it at max, and here's what she told us:

How do you love yourself, when the waves of grief are so high and vast, you feel as though you’re gasping for air? Think of why they loved you, even just one tiny thing. Did they love your bravery, your laugh or the way you sang a certain song just for them? How did they show their love for you? Did they hug, send a text, share a joke? Think of it, think of all of it; let the tears come, the memories wash over and then let them all go again as they should. But hold on to the love, that created them all.

 

Wild
Wild

by Quinn, age 17

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed is a book detailing Strayed’s hike of the Pacific Coast Trail and reflecting on death loss of her mother and her own identity. 

This book immediately interested me because of the beautiful imagery of the Pacific coast, but as I read on I encountered articulated descriptions of my own grief (my mother died when I was 14). I could empathize with the author as she wrote “It was wrong. It was so relentlessly wrong that my mother had been taken from me.” 

But I also read lines celebrating the joy of nature, movement, love, and art. Strayed expertly balances grief with the excitement and happiness of adventure. This book is beautiful read for anyone, especially anyone looking for understanding in the wake of a death.
 

Want to know what actual tears look like?
Want to know what actual tears look like?

Ever wonder what tears are made of? What they'd look like if they were magnified under a microscope?

Rose-Lynn Fisher did. That's why this artist created a book called The Topograpy of Tears, which is an investigation of tears, which are made up of proteins, minerals, hormones antibodies, and enzymes.

Rose-Lynn started the project in 2008, while she was experiencing grief. She wondered whether tears of joy would look the same as tears of sorrow. Would tears caused by cutting an onion look different? So Rose-Lynn collected her own tears as well as those from volunteers and then studied and photographed them under an optical standard light microscope. 

What did she learn about the looks of tears?

Tears look a lot like aerial views of land. Also, every tear she captured had it's own visual qualities or "signature." So even tears of grief look different from one another.

As Rose-Lynn put it, "It's as though each one of our tears carries a microscosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean."

 

Hymn for the Hurting
Hymn for the Hurting

Excerpt from "Hymn for the Hurting" by Amanda Gorman

May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost.

Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.

Amanda Gorman is a Poet Laurette and the author of “The Hill We Climb,” “Call Us What We Carry” and “Change Sings.”
 

How grief shaped my life
credit: Arielle Bobb-Willis for The New York Times
How grief shaped my life

We love this response from award-winning producer Jack Antonoff (who's worked with Taylor Swift, Forence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey and many more artists) when asked how grief has shaped his life:

"My sister died when I was 18, but she was sick since I was five. So it was a big part of my life.

The thing about sick people, people who are unsure how long they'll get to live, especially kids in that position, is the lack of cynicism. The obsession with creation, joy, love, family. When you might not have a lot of time on earth, you don't define yourself by the things you hate, put very simply. And so that just lives in me."

See full interview here.

collapse
Movie/TV
The Summer I Turned Pretty
The Summer I Turned Pretty

by Erin, age 16

Why we love it: "The Summer I Turned Pretty" is a touching series that gets real about tough stuff, especially brothers Jeremiah and Conrad's feelings after losing their mom. 

The show follows the two brothers as they deal with grief, showing how it affects them and their relationships. Jeremiah and Conrad's emotions are honest and hit you in the feels. The way the show tells their stories is like a rollercoaster, not a straight line, just like real life.

For teens who are dealing with loss and want a show that talks about deep feelings and growing up, "The Summer I Turned Pretty" is spot-on. Share it with your friends who love shows that make you think and feel. It's a journey through tough times, love, and bouncing back that will stick with you.

Never Have I Ever
Never Have I Ever

What we love: Probably a bunch of you already know about the show on Netflix called "Never Have I Ever." But in case you haven't, try it! It's made by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fischer, and it's all about this American teen named Devi who is so relatable.

Devi is going through serious stuff (like high school isn't hard enough) after her dad dies during her orchestra concert from a heart attack. She is fighting with her mom alot and she is an only child, so it's obviously a lot of grief to hold.

What's cool is seeing how Devi and her grief evolve over the years. It's a non-linear journey, and the show captures that so well. You see how Devi tries to hold her emotions, handle her relationships (so cringy and awkward but also sweet and loving!) and her life in general. We need more shows like this!

 

 

Coco
Coco

What we love: Okay, so "Coco" is technically a movie for kids, but it's definitely for all of us! It's an animated fantasy by Pixar, and it's so good, both the story and the stunning visuals.

The movie follows a 12-year-old Mexican boy named Miguel, who goes on a crazy adventure to the "Land of the Dead" to meet his dead great-great-grandfather. The story is all about family, tradition, and remembering those who've died.

"Coco" made me feel jealous of how well Mexican culture celebrates those who have died. It's about honoring and never forgetting our loved ones, and that's such an important part of the tradition. I feel like for so many teens , we're supposed to be sad and then just move on and stop thinking about our grief so much (as if we can!).

Also the movie is just so cool looking! Death and mourning don't have to be shot in all black and gloomy gray colors. "Coco" shows that there's beauty and brightness in all of life, including remembering and celebrating the lives of those who have died.

If you're looking for a heartwarming and really good film, this is it. Get ready to feel many emotions and maybe shed a tear (or twelve). 

 

Grief Lesson in "Trolls"
Grief Lesson in "Trolls"

by Janiyah, age 17

Why we love it: A movie I would say shows grief well through most of its elements is "Trolls." There is a character named “Branch,” and he was always so sad and gloomy but nobody knew why. He then meets someone named “Poppy” that is the complete opposite of him, always happy, singing, laughing, etc. 

We find out that Branch is always upset because his grandma died. He was never able to open up about it before; but after being comforted by friends that love him, he was able to overcome the gloomy days and ground himself with the positive things that are coming around.

"The Sky is Everywhere"
"The Sky is Everywhere"

by Tina, age 17

I’ve never seen the messiness of grief better captured than in the movie, “The Sky is Everywhere.” This story, based off of an award-winning novel by Jandy Nelson, hits super close to home. It tells a story of a girl named Lennie and how her whole world falls apart after the loss of her older sister, Bailey.

While I myself have never lost a sister, I could deeply relate to this world of grief after the death of my mom. While Lennie’s experiences are mostly based around her messy love life between the new boy in town and her late sister’s boyfriend (YEAH, YIKES), there are many layered themes within. 

While I think overall I prefer the way the story is told in the book, the most beautiful part of the film is how raw it feels. I feel that practically every stage of grief was somehow represented. You can truly feel the hurt through the screen: As she runs away through the woods. As she irrationally screams at her loved ones. As she lays in the piles of her sister’s clothes just to remember her. And in every messy mistake she makes. All of this truly captures the intensity you feel after a loss. The way you wish that other people would get it, especially at such a young age. But more than anything…the way you feel you’ve gone mad.

But as someone who in my own life has put so much emphasis into putting all of these emotions into an outlet (songwriting for me!), my favorite part was Lennie’s journey to find her outlet.

Lennie is an incredibly talented clarinet player who, with the help of her musically talented love interest, had to rediscover not only her love of music, but also her happiness. She was able to reignite the flame inside her when it felt like grief had forever dimmed that light.

In typical grief fashion, Lennie initially feels guilty for feeling joy after a loss, but in the end there’s this beautiful acceptance. Overall I really think The Sky Is Everywhere is worth a read, a watch, or even both! In a sea of grief content, this one’s a winner. 

"One Day" and dozens of tissues
"One Day" and dozens of tissues

"One Day" is based on a book by David Nicholls that was then turned into a 2011 movie (starring Anne Hathaway) and then recently was made into a Netflix series (what's next...a Broadway show?).

Anyway, the series is a romantic drama about Emma and Dexter, who meet in college and experience immediate sparks. But it's the end of the school year and their relationship doesn't get a chance to really take off.

Still, they do find their way back to each other, and the series follows their friendship (and screaming matches and romantic flings) over the next decade.

Without spoiling the story for you...grief shows up in a BIG way by the end, and we're telling you right now to have your tissue box(es) sitting right next to you because you'll need it.

What we appreciate is that the person grieving (trying so hard not to spoil the story right now) does such a good job of showing all the feels and how grief isn't just something that we just get over after a few months. It's messy and awful and sometimes beautiful and everything in between.
 

My Favorite Teen Rom-Com
My Favorite Teen Rom-Com

By Sarafina, age 15

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018) is one of my favorite films. It’s based on the book by Jenny Han and is a teen romantic comedy on Netflix directed by Susan Johnson and written by Sofia Alvarez. It’s the first film in a trilogy, about a girl in high school named Lara Jean Song Covey, who writes secret love letters to her crushes. These letters end up causing major chaos in her life!

Lara Jean, along with her sisters, is also dealing with her mom passing away the year before. You can just see them going through all the hardships and really struggling because they want to ask their mom for advice when they don’t know what to do. I feel like it’s so relatable, especially for me (my dad died) and others who are grieving. We just want to ask our loved ones who died for help! It’s a really great movie, and I highly recommend it
 

collapse
Song
"See You Again" by Khalifa
"See You Again" by Khalifa

by Gabi G., age 16

What we love: "See You Again" honors the life of actor Paul Walker, who died in a car accident in 2013. I remember crying while watching the music video when it first came out, before having lost my father, and thinking it was the saddest song ever.

Years later, I listen to the lyrics,  

"It's been a long day without you, my friend
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again," 

and I empathize. 

The simplicity and repetition of the refrain emphasize the relatable feeling of wanting to spend more time with the person you've lost and wanting to tell them something, but knowing you physically can't.

As the song continues, Puth and Khalifa, reflect 

"that [the] bond will never be broken, the love will never get lost,"

reminding us that we will always be connected to our person. 

"See You Again" is a powerful tribute for Paul Walker, and a glimpse into grief.

"Bigger Than The Whole Sky"
"Bigger Than The Whole Sky"

What we love: Let us introduce to you this talented but little-known artist named Taylor Swift (hahaha). 

Okay, seriously, unless you're a true Taylor Swift lover, you may not know about this bring-you-to-sobs song, "Bigger than the Whole Sky," that's all about experiencing the death of someone who died way too soon. 

It's almost impossible not to weep at the chorus: 

"Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
You were bigger than the whole sky
You were more than just a short time
And I've got a lot to pine about
I've got a lot to live without
I'm never gonna meet
What could've been, would've been
What should've been you
What could've been, would've been you"

That line, "I'm never gonna meet what could've been." Gets me every time.

 

 

"Father" by Demi Lovato
"Father" by Demi Lovato

What we love: Love, love, love Demi Lovato's song "Father." It's all about her emotions after her dad died from cancer in 2013. Demi has always been honest and public about her complicated relationship with her father, and this song is no exception.

The lyrics are so genuine, and for those of us who have complicated relationships with our parent who died, we can all probably relate to the lines:

"You did your best, or did you?,
I think I hate you.
I'm sorry, dad, for feeling this.
I can't believe I'm saying it."

Yes, just because we love our parent doesn't mean we also don't feel anger or disappointment with their behaviors and actions. So we're glad she's "saying it" and not pretending it was something other than it was.

Demi pours so much emotion into her singing. It's like she's baring her soul to us. We appreciate her so much showing her vulnerability!

 

"Chip on My Shoulder"
"Chip on My Shoulder"

by Aryn, age 15

What we love: “Chip on my shoulder" by Rod Wave

I so appreciate the lyrics:

“And this life we live is strange
I've been lost since I was young
'Member pops had went to prison
That's when we was low on funds
Mama said I have this chip on my shoulder, that's forever
Seen them close the casket on Deja
We grew up together.”

 
These lyrics are powerful because watching the casket close on someone you loved, especially a parent or a loved one or someone who played that role, is hard and it hurts I feel like the song is a good one for people who are grieving a loved one because sometimes you feel like there’s a chip on your shoulder, and it’s just totally relatable. 
 

"How Do I Say Goodbye"?
"How Do I Say Goodbye"?

by Olivia, age 17

The song that I think about a lot when it comes to grief is "How Do I Say Goodbye" by Dean Lewis. This song is about how Dean found out about his father's cancer in 2019. It’s about how hard it is to say goodbye to the people we love because there is so much you want to tell them with little time. This song is easy to relate to if you have lost someone close to you. I feel that when you are trying to say bye to someone, you don't always know what to say. 

I love these lyrics:

So how do I say goodbye
To someone who's been with me for my whole damn life?
You gave me my name and the color of your eyes.
I see your face when I look at mine.
So how do I, how do I, how do I say goodbye?
When I couldn't, you always saw the best in me.
Right or wrong, you were always on my side.
But I'm scared of what life without you's like.
And I saw the way she looked into your eyes.
And I promise if you go, I will make sure she's alright.

I can relate to the line where it says that "you gave me my name and the color of my eyes.” My brother looks so much like my dad when he was a teen. I think it helps you to remember them more.

I also like where it says "if you go I will make sure she's alright" because I think that when a parent dies, you want to make sure that the other one is going to be okay. This is a great song about grief and some of the emotions that people go through.

"Everybody Hurts"
"Everybody Hurts"

by Ann, age 13

I love the song "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M., which was written to try to prevent more teens from dying by suicide. Even though this isn't specifically about grief, I think that the lyrics can be interpreted towards grief. I especially love these lines: 

When your day is long 
And the night, the night is yours alone 
When you're sure you've had enough 
Of this life, we'll hand on 
 
Don't let your self go 
Cause everybody cries 
Everybody hurts sometimes 

In my opinion I think these lyrics are saying that when you've had enough and think it will never get better, it's ok and normal to cry and express your emotions. For all of us who grieve, this is definitely true!
 

United in Grief
United in Grief

by Kennedy, age 15

Early on in “United In Grief,” the album Kendrick reveals he’s been “going through something” and we learn he’s speaking with a therapist. In this opening song, his lyrics introduce themes of family and generational trauma, acceptance from a damaged culture, healing, and the grief of his late friend, Chad Keaton, who was killed in 2013. 

I grieve different
(Everybody grieves different)
(Everybody grieves different)
I grieve different (Huh)

As explained through the verses, “I grieve different.” He’s become a materialistic person, going against his personal morals.
He also touches on the fact that ”everybody grieves different.” And while we may grieve differently, we can all unite with the idea of having to deal with it.

Dancing in the Sky
Dancing in the Sky

by Grayson, age 16

I love "Dancing in the Sky" by Dani and Lizzy, which handles grief very well - it talks about both the sadness of missing our person and the hope that many people have, believing they are in a better place. The song is able to show how our grief can be represented by many different emotions. Dani and Lizzy wrote this song after a close friend of Lizzy's died.

"I hope you're dancing in the sky

And I hope you're singing in the angel's choir

And I hope the angels know what they have

I'll bet it's so nice up in Heaven since you arrived"

These lyrics show how the artists hope their friend is safe and have moved on to a better place. They miss their person so deeply that they can only wish that they are happy where they are now. That hope that things are at least better for your loved one is a hope I think everyone has when going through grief, simply wanted to believe that life is better now for their loved one.

"Cause here on Earth it feels like everything

Good is missing since you left

And here on Earth everything's different

There's an emptiness"

In these lyrics however, they sing about how empty they feel now that their friend is gone. They feel lost, like everything has changed. This again, is a similar feeling that people can have when grieving, where you feel like nothing can ever be the same and that you will always be missing something, or someone.

 

collapse
In The Media
Andrew Garfield on missing his mom
Andrew Garfield on missing his mom

What we love: Let's take a second to appreciate Andrew Garfield and this interview because that guy knows how to embrace his emotions. He's not afraid to let the tears flow publicly when he talks about his mom who died.

It's so nice to see someone famous, especially a guy, be open about his grief like that. He loves talking about his mom, and he's showing the world that grief isn't just about being sad or mad. It's a whole mix of emotions, like love and even joy, all tangled together.

This interview is a reminder that grief is messy and complicated. It's not something we can neatly put into a box. You can feel happy and sad at the exact same time, and experience a dozen other emotions all at once.

So, let's take a lesson from Andrew, let out our feelings, and remember that it's okay to experience and express whatever feelings pop up around grief.

 

Grief lessons from "Harry Potter"
Grief lessons from "Harry Potter"

What we love: I love this post on whatsyourgrief.com called "What Harry Potter Taught Me about Grief," and how it teaches us about our own grieving. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you're going to love this.

The bloggers make all these wise connections between the characters in "Harry Potter" and the ways they deal with loss, and how we can learn from them.

They also talk about how people keep living on, even after they die. It's like, when someone dies, their impact and legacy can still be felt.

Check out the post to read the insights. If you're a Harry Potter fan or you're just interested in exploring how fiction can teach us about our own personal experiences, it's magic!

That Dragon, Cancer
That Dragon, Cancer

What we love:  Have you heard about this video game that came out in 2016? It's called "That Dragon, Cancer," and it takes you on an emotional journey through four-years of Joel, based on a real boy who sadly died from cancer in 2014.

The game was created by Joel's parents, Ryan and Amy Green, and their friend Josh Larson. It's a true story, and let me tell you, playing it is a rollercoaster of emotions. One of the scenes that got me choked up was all these cards in Joel's hospital room that you can click on a read.

Be warned, it's all pretty heart-wrenching. But it's also an incredible tribute to this real-life story, and there's comfort in it too. It explores themes of faith, hope, and love in such thoughtful way.

A lot of video games are made to help us escape our feelings. If you're looking for a video game that makes you feel, this is it. It's an emotional journey you won't forget.
 

Dan Levy quote on grief
Dan Levy quote on grief

Why we love the quote below: Because it's exactly the truth.

"Grief can feel like this incredibly isolated experience because it's hitting you and you leave your house and you look around and people are in the grocery store and kids are laughing and things people are carrying on. And you are in grief, you're in pain. Oftentimes it's like inescapable, insufferable, all consuming pain. And when people around you are not experiencing that, it can send you into an even greater state of isolation because you think no one understands." 

From episode #276, "Dan Levy’s Good News: No One Knows What They’re Doing," on the podcast "We Can Do Hard Things."

"To Live in this World"
"To Live in this World"

We've been seeing this poignant short poem by Mary Oliver from "In Blackwater Woods" posted on social media, and it always makes us stop and take a deep breath...

To Live in the World

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go, 

to let it go.

Why we still talk about them
Why we still talk about them

We love this sentiment written by @empowered_through_grief:

"I talk about him because I am the 

memory keeper of a life that exists only in my mind.

I talk about him to remember & honour

who he was and his impact in this world.

I will always talk about him because for 

me, he's still here, weaved into 

everything I am and do."

Yes, yes, yes! And if you happen to be a non-griever reading this: if you are uncomfortable when we grievers bring up our person who died, please know that we are honoring that person and our relationship with them. Please make space for this, even if makes you a little uncomforable.