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3 books on grief and loss recommended by Families for Safe Streets members

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At World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims in 2021, Julie Mitchell (pictured above) bravely stepped up to the microphone. Julie’s beloved son Dylan was hit and killed by a speeding truck driver in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood in 2013. Julie is a co-founder of our chapter of Families for Safe Streets.

I listened as Julie shared a short passage of a book she kept coming back to in the aftermath of Dylan’s death.

“In order to heal, you must return to love. You must return to the very, very core, the center, of the relationship you have still and forever with the person you love so dearly that died.”

I later asked Julie about what she had shared that day. Julie told me that her world broke apart after Dylan was killed, and left her with the most hopeless feeling you can ever imagine. “All I wanted to know was that there could be some light at the end of the tunnel,” Julie said, “because you can’t see any light at all after losing a child.”

Julie read the book Permission to Mourn by Tom Zuba, which the above passage is from. The book helped her eventually to see that she could let go of the anger and find light again through her pain.

I asked a couple other Families for Safe Streets members for any books they felt could help others going through traumatic loss and grief.

Steve Bingham’s daughter was killed at the age of 22 by a speeding truck driver as she cycled to the AmeriCorps job that she loved. Steve recommends Grief Prints by Radha Stern. This memoir and guide helps family and friends provide compassionate support to someone who is grieving.

Nani Lavin, whose husband Bob was killed by a driver in 2020, found powerful guidance from Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments: Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World by Kent M. Keith. The idea that “good and constructive things can still happen after devastating loss” spoke to Nani.

Do you have a book that might help others who are facing loss and grief? Please share it at so we can make this an even better resource.

And know that the Families for Safe Streets community is here to provide guidance, understanding, and comfort to those who have been impacted by a traffic crash.

San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets brings together people who have had someone they care about hurt or killed in a traffic crash. It also includes people who have survived a traffic crash themselves.

Families for Safe Streets also helps people channel their grief into action. We use our voices to push for the changes needed to prevent more tragedies. We are part of a national Families for Safe Streets movement.

Contact with questions about San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets. Walk San Francisco provides support and guidance to Families for Safe Streets.