The 10 Best Grief Journals of 2021, According to an Expert

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Our Top Picks
It can provide a place to have conversations you normally would with your lost loved one.
Comes with a keepsake journal, therapeutic lavender bath soak, and body oil to help with relaxation and stress relief.
Best Guidebook:
Angel Catcher at Amazon
The Angel Catcher is a combination of a journal, guidebook, and keepsake with room for photographs and space to record memories.
It can be a helpful tool for both therapists and parents to help promote discussion and conversation.
Full of clear instructions, space for writing, challenges, and explanations to help increase understanding and self-compassion.
A blank journal that gives permission to be bewildered, angered, and free to write what you like can be very helpful for some.
Best for Loss of a Father:
Dear Dad, I Keep Thinking About at Amazon
Writing prompts to encourage healing and resilience along with plenty of space to record all the Dad-specific conversations.
Best Daily Journal:
Taking it Day by Day at Amazon
The daily structure and writing prompts help to keep you on your healing journey.
Inspirational writings and quotes from authors and visionaries help give readers words to go with their confusing emotions.
Best for Family:
The Memory Book at Amazon
Family members can fill the pages of this journal with photos, keepsakes, and writings to process emotions as a family.

Grief is a complicated, confusing, and painfully bewildering process. Many people make the mistake of thinking that time correlates with the degree of healing, but often it does not. The pain of grief can be delayed or surface at surprising times and in surprising ways. Holidays, milestones in life, and general daily reminders can bring up aspects of loss that are still painful and need processing.

Grief can often be painful when other people around us have adapted to the changes of life, but we have not yet. We can feel alone and left out all over again. “In grief, we often do not want to move forward for fear that we will forget about our loved ones. Yet be assured, our loved ones would desire our growth,” says Jonathan Rios, LMHC, a licensed psychotherapist.

People do not grieve in the same ways or in the same time frame. Some may experience feelings of depression and lethargy while others may feel angry and the need to stay busy and distracted. It’s important to find resources and support options that work for each person. It’s also important to have compassion for ourselves and others in the understanding that much of the grief process won’t make sense nor will we move through it very gracefully. The important thing is to find what techniques, resources, and daily routines are most helpful for you in the healing process.

 Here are the best grief journals, according to an expert.

Best for Loss: WordsFromYourHearts Conversations With You Journal

WordsFromYourHearts Conversations With You Journal
Pros
  • Customizable

  • Hand-made when ordered

  • Includes conversation prompts

Cons
  • Not able to be returned or exchanged

  • More expensive than other journals

  • Longer shipping time

Not having the ability to talk to our loved ones who have passed is one of the most painful parts of loss. When you can no longer call or go see someone anytime you like, the pain of loss returns. Journaling can’t replace conversations with that person, but this hand-made and customized “Conversations with You” journal can provide a place to have conversations you normally would with your loved one.

The journal is made with spiral binding for easier writing and durability. Some pages include prompts and others are left blank to help customize entries. Customers can also request their journal pages to be perforated for easy removal if desired.

Best Set: GuidedGriefJournal The Grief Box with Guided Journal

GuidedGriefJournal The Grief Box with Guided Journal
Pros
  •  Includes self-care items

  • Includes prompts

  •  Valuable keepsake of memories

Cons
  • No customizable designs

  • One scent option to choose from

  •  Joyful memories may be difficult

Self-care is a crucial part of the grief process and allowing yourself to heal. This healing set comes with a keepsake journal, therapeutic lavender bath soak, and body oil to help with relaxation and stress relief.

The journal includes prompts to document happy memories experienced with your loved one and is designed to be a keepsake of happy memories you can return to for years. Buy this set for yourself or as a thoughtful gift for someone you know who is grieving. 

Best Guidebook: Angel Catcher: A Journal of Loss and Remembrance

Pros
  • Writings to inspire hope

  • Room for memories and pictures

  • Thoughtful gift

Cons
  • More guidebook than journal

  • Some may need further processing

  • No spiral binding

The Angel Catcher is a combination of a journal, guidebook, and keepsake with room for photographs and space to record memories. The writings help guide readers through the journey of healing from loss while providing plenty of space to personalize and write your own thoughts and healing moments.

This journal was designed to be a companion as you go through the grieving and healing process and evolve into a type of time capsule that you can revisit to remember the loved one and celebrate the life they lived as well as your relationship with them.

Expert Advice

“In our grief journey, we should never obligate ourselves to feel a particular way. We cannot force ourselves to move through emotions, we have to feel them as they come. It’s important to choose a grief journal that not only guides you through the stages of grief but also allows you to move through them freely. Denying our own pain is the ultimate block to transformation, so choose a journal that helps you acknowledge your pain freely, “ —Jonathan Rios, LMHC, Licensed Psychotherapist

Best for Kids: My Grief Journey: Coloring Book and Journal For Kids

Pros
  •  Promotes discussion

  •  Kid-friendly

  • Helpful words and designs

Pros
  • Best if used with an adult

  • More drawing than writing

  • For kids only

Helping children through the grief process can be a complicated task as children process things differently than adults. Grief and loss can be confusing for children as it is difficult to help them understand adult topics. The Grief Journey coloring book can be a useful tool for both therapists and parents to help promote discussion and conversation when working with a grieving child.

Encouraging words and concepts help give children a starting place to begin processing their emotions and experiences, while the coloring designs allow kids to be active and mentally process their experience and grief concepts.

Most In-Depth: The Grief Workbook

Pros
  • In-depth exercises

  • Science-backed techniques

  • Helpful instructions

Cons
  • May be too intense for some

  • Best used with therapy

  • Not a “feel-good” journal

The grief process can be intensely confusing which compounds the pain experienced. The Grief Workbook offers more than just writing prompts and uplifting passages. It is designed to educate and help move its reader through seven stages of grief.

Full of clear instructions, space for writing, challenges, and explanations to help increase understanding and self-compassion, this book is suitable for a more complex grief and healing process. It is helpful to use in conjunction with therapy to allow for deeper processing and understanding, as some aspects of the workbook may be painful to deal with.

Best Funny: Grief F*cking Hurts

Pros
  • Allows total writing freedom

  • Helpful for angry part of grief

  •  High-quality paper

Cons
  • Some may miss the structure

  • Some may not like all writing

  • No spiral binding or perforated edges

Be free and in total control of your anger, frustration, and grief with the “Grief F*cking Hurts” Journal. Using high-quality, lined paper, this journal offers 100 gloriously blank pages for you to use however your mood sees fit. Grief shows up in surprising ways and is triggered by the oddest things at times.

A blank journal that gives permission to be bewildered, angered, and free to write what you like can be very helpful for some. While some grievers benefit from structure and a well-planned process, others need total freedom to just be themselves. Make this journal exactly what you need it to be.

Best for Loss of a Father: Dear Dad, I Keep Thinking About

Pros
  • Effective writing prompts

  • Good for past and future experiences

  • Combines healing with keepsake

Cons
  • May be too structured for some

  • Short length: 47 pages

  •  Less focus on design

No one can ever replace a parent, and the loss changes how we live life forever. Part of the pain lies in the specific things we used to talk to that parent about. This journal is made just for conversations with Dad. With writing prompts to encourage healing and resilience along with plenty of space to record all the Dad-specific conversations, the Dear Dad journal is a helpful processing tool and keepsake.

The writing prompts are especially unique, such as the prompt “things that will always remind me of my father.” Designed not only to record memories but also to record all the things in the future that you would want Dad to know about. 

Best Daily Journal: Taking it Day by Day

Pros
  •  Daily prompts

  •  Plenty of writing space

  • Mood and energy tracking

Cons
  • Gender specific

  • Some prompts repeat themselves

  • Some may require more guidance

This journal is designed specifically for women and addresses several aspects of healing through grief. It includes a daily mood and energy tracker, writing prompts, and space for remembrance. The journal is made to be a slightly smaller size for added convenience when having to move around a lot.

The paper is lined, made of high-quality stock, and 110 pages allow for plenty of room to write and document both emotions and memories. Because grief is a daily process, the journal is designed to be used once a day in either short or more in-depth entries. The daily structure and writing prompts help to keep you on your healing journey. 

Best for Inspiration: On Coming Alive: Journaling Through Grief

Pros
  • 100 writing prompts

  • Inspirational passages are helpful

  • Addresses deeper topics

Cons
  • May be overwhelming for some

  • Best used with therapy

  • Easy to quit using if overwhelmed

Grief can make us at a loss for words at times. This journal pairs writing prompts with inspirational writings and quotes from authors and visionaries to help give readers words to go with their confusing emotions. There are 100 writing prompts focused on helping readers work through the most depressing, sad, and dark parts of the grief journey.

Because grief can be a complicated and confusing feeling, this journal is designed to help sort out thoughts, memories, things left unsaid, and confusing emotions that remain. It includes an in-depth feelings chart which is very helpful to use when tracking daily emotions, progress, and in therapy sessions. 

Best for Family: The Memory Book

Pros
  • Good for families

  • Beautiful colors and design

  • Good keepsake

Cons
  • Does not address all aspects of grief

  • Individual family members may need more

  • Short prompts not enough for some adults

Designed to be used as a family, The Memory Book is appropriate for children as young as 4 to participate in. Family members can fill the pages of this journal with photos, keepsakes, and writings to process emotions as a family. This technique helps decrease feelings of loneliness that grief can bring when someone struggles to express themselves.

Grief can be especially confusing for children and confusing for adults who aren’t sure how to talk about different aspects of the process. The writing prompts are simple and easy to follow with plenty of room to personalize. The book is short at 64 pages to prevent it from becoming an overwhelming project.

Final Verdict

On Coming Alive (view at Amazon) is the most in-depth journal and addresses not only the sad emotions but the angry and confused emotions of grief as well. The inspirational writings help bring clarity and the writing prompts allow the reader to make the book specific to their experience.

The Memory Book (view at Amazon) is a helpful option for children and families to grieve together, remember the loved one together, and improve communication, which decreases the feelings of isolation that grief can create. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a grief journal?

    A grief journal can be whatever helps a person move through the emotions and phases of grieving by allowing them to document their feelings, emotions, struggles, and adjusting to daily life. It can be structured with writing prompts, or unstructured, allowing you to write about anything that comes to your mind at the time.

    The phases of grief often do not correlate with time and can come in unexpected waves, therefore journaling can be done daily, or only on days when the feelings are overwhelming.

  • How does journaling help with grief?

    Journaling gives us something to do when we don’t know how to handle our emotions or feel powerless to relieve the pain of grief. Journaling gives us somewhere to go to when we can no longer go to the person we lost.

    We can document our journey through the dark phases of grief and write out feelings we think other people may not understand. Journaling also allows us to look back and see how far we have progressed through pain and challenges that were overcome, which strengthens our self-confidence. 

  • How do you write about grief?

    Some people need prompts to help put words to emotions. Others have so many jumbled thoughts that they can write for a long time but struggle to make sense of it all. You write about grief by just writing about where you are right now and how life has changed because of the loss you've suffered.

    You can also write about the ways the person or thing you've lost affected your life in a positive way. There is no right or wrong way to write about grief. 

  • What does grief do to your brain?

    “Grief Brain” is a term commonly used to describe feeling scattered, forgetful, overwhelmed by daily tasks, sad, and angry, and even disoriented. Loss can be traumatic and change the way your brain processes thoughts or even how you think about your identity.

    The intense feelings of grief can shock your brain and cause it to feel confused and foggy. This will improve as you heal and begin to feel better.

Why Trust Verywell Mind?

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 15 years’ experience working with clients to improve mental and emotional health, Mary K Tatum understands the importance of finding quality resources and techniques that work for each person. Not everyone will have the same kind of healing journey, therefore, having lots of options to choose from is vitally important in creating a lifestyle that combats mental illness and promotes health and wellbeing.  

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2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. University of Washington. The stages of grief: Accepting the unacceptable. Updated June 8, 2020.

  2. American Heart Association. How grief rewires the brain and can affect health-and what to do about it. Updated March 10, 2021.