We created the Bookshelf for a place to highlight CaringBridge website authors who have written books about their health journey. Some people publish a book to close a chapter, and others publish a book as a way to honor and grieve the loss of a loved one. If you are a CaringBridge website author or co-author who has written a book about your experience, and would like to have your book appear in this list, please send us an email at

Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul

By Various Authors

Ninety-six essays by family caregivers, several of whom have shared their stories on CaringBridge, describe the challenges, and gifts, that come from a job no one ever prepares for.

The dedication of the book says it all: “To caregivers, who, by their benevolent acts of kindness, single-handedly ease the suffering in the world.”

Buy Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul on Amazon

Bitter or Better

By Caryn Sullivan

Minnesota op-ed columnist Caryn Sullivan, who raised a son with autism, supported her daughter through a health crisis, survived breast cancer herself, and lost her husband, Ted, way too soon, believes that healing is a choice.

In “Bitter or Better,” Caryn reminds us that in the face of any challenge to the human spirit, healing is a choice. Even when the challenges seem insurmountable.

Caryn’s memoir includes entries from the CaringBridge site she kept for daughter, Julia, who had a bone marrow transplant as a fifth-grader, to treat a rare blood disorder called PNH. (Today, Julia’s health is stable and she is doing great!)

Buy Bitter or Better on Amazon


Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

By Heather Harpham

In Heather Harpham’s memoir “Happiness,” she takes readers on a captivating journey of love, partnership, parenthood, and the unimaginable choices she is forced to make while navigating life with her daughter, Gracie, who has a rare blood disease.

Life leads them down an unexpected path, with bumps and curves in the road, that ultimately makes them all stronger.

The idea for this memoir was sparked from Gracie’s CaringBridge website, where Heather shared updates with her family and friends.

“Happiness” radiates out in multiple directions – new, romantic love; gratitude for a beautiful, inscrutable world; deep and abiding friendship; the passion a parent has for a child; and the many different and unlikely ways a family can be built.

Ultimately, it’s a story about love and happiness in their many crooked forms.

What Now

What Now! A Pivotal Story of Love, Family and the Miracle of People

By Chrissie Betlach Vinje

Chrissie Betlach Vinje recalls the unconditional love and support that she and her husband, Tom, received, after his diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme, the worst kind of brain cancer.

In “What Now!” Chrissie captures the essence of Tom’s CaringBridge Journal, in which family and friends rallied around the couple during the 7 months of Tom’s illness.

After Tom’s death in 2008, less than a year after the complete disruption of Tom and Chrissie’s happy and “ordinary” life, loved ones encouraged Chrissie to write about Tom’s health journey, and her path toward healing, in the wake of unspeakable grief.

Be Strong and Brave

Be Strong and Brave

By Nicole Pierson

Diagnosed before his sixth birthday, in 2012, with a rare brain tumor (growing mature teratoma), Gavin Pierson told his parents, “I’m going to make it, you just have to believe.”

Over the course of multiple craniotomies, chemotherapy, steroid and clinical-trial drug treatments and a series of laser ablations, Gavin named his tumor “Joe Bully,” because it continued to break the rules and threaten his life.

In “Be Strong and Brave,” Gavin’s Mom, Nicole, writes about her family’s faith and her son’s amazing perspective.

By spring 2017, Gavin had earned a red belt in karate and was thinking about middle school. Take that, Joe Bully!

We Know How This Ends

We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying

By Bruce Kramer, with Cathy Wurzer

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s Disease) was not in the life plan of Bruce Kramer.

But the former dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn., chose to transform a crushing diagnosis, in 2010, into a reflection on how life can be lived, even in the midst of devastating grief.

Bruce, also a CaringBridge author, collaborated with Cathy Wurzer, an award-winning broadcast journalist with Minnesota Public Radio on “We Know How This Ends.”

The book is an equally dignified, courageous, and even funny look at the ways in which loss can lead to healing. Bruce died in 2015, just as the book was published.

Cathy and Bruce’s wife, Ev, remain engaged in public conversations about wellbeing and caregiving.