According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans died in hospitals or nursing homes, with only 30 percent having their final moments at home. Studies have found that many people don’t start thinking about their own demise until it’s too late.
If you’re ready to confront the inevitable, “A Beginner’s Guide to the End” can be a helpful place to start. Written by palliative care doctor B.J. Miller and Shoshana Berger, the book doesn’t sugarcoat what it means to die: They break down the actual death process and tell you what to expect when you’re ill.
“If you know what to look for, the body will tell you what you need to know,” they write.
But what else should you look for as you die? It turns out that death is about much more than your body shutting down. The dying process can raise questions about religion, sex, long-held secrets, money and family dynamics. Miller and Berger cover all those topics and more, with the help of useful illustrations.
You may not be able to guarantee the kind of death you’d like, but this book can help you — and those you leave behind — make plans. From explaining how to fill out funeral home paperwork to examining with the emotions that accompany a tough diagnosis, the book is a gentle, knowledgeable guide to a fate we all share.