A Beginner’s Guide to the End: How to Live Life to the Full and Die a Good Death
by BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
This reassuring and inspiring book, by palliative care physician Dr BJ Miller and writer Shoshana Berger, provides a vision for rethinking and navigating this universal process of facing the end of one’s life.
As a field guide for the living, it is an accessible, beautifully designed companion book, offering a clear-eyed and compassionate overview of the most pressing issues that come up when one is dying. It will bring optimism and practical guidance to empower readers with the knowledge, resources and tools needed in looking toward and being prepared for their own death… or to be supportive when others are facing life-limiting illness or the end of their life. This clear, concise, rich resource is a life saver!
Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up by Koshin Paley Ellison
An inspiring book that will help readers rediscover their values and discover a way to truly live life to the fullest. With guidance that is both simple and wholly transformative, Koshin Paley Ellison, Zen teacher and psychotherapist, shows us how to, in being our best self, pay attention, be of service, and be with others. Drawn from Zen precepts and illustrated with anecdotes from Koshin’s own life and practice, this book is about getting back in touch with your values, so you can live energetically, authentically, and lovingly. This an invitation to wake up to ourselves and the world around us. It is time to live wholeheartedly.
The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully
by Frank Ostaseskie
The cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project and pioneer behind the compassionate care movement shares an inspiring exploration of the lessons dying has to offer about living a fulfilling life.
Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.
The Five Invitations show us how to wake up fully to our lives. Awareness of death can be a valuable companion on the road to living well, forging a rich and meaningful life, and letting go of regret. The Five Invitations is a powerful and inspiring exploration of the essential wisdom dying has to impart to all of us.
Awake at the Bedside by Koshin Paley Ellison, Editor
This book isn’t about dying. It’s about life and what life has to teach us. It’s about caring and what giving care really means. In Awake at the Bedside, pioneers of palliative and end-of-life care as well as doctors, chaplains, caregivers and even poets offer wisdom that will challenge, uplift, comfort—and change the way we think about death. Equal parts instruction manual and spiritual testimony, it includes specific instructions and personal accounts to inspire, counsel, and teach. An indispensable resource for anyone involved in hospice work or care-giving of any kind.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.
Bridging the Gap by Kimberly C. Paul
This moving collection of written vignettes tells of life lessons learned and meaningful experiences had by Ms. Paul in her eighteen years working in a hospice program. You will come away feeling a new comfort level in being with someone who is facing dying… and in being a part of conversations about our mortality as humans. It is so true, when we allow the dying to become our teachers, we find ourselves embracing living in a new and wholesome way. Be inspired to design your own life and death around what matters most!
Listening Below the Noise by Anne LeClaire (I will always have this on my bedside table!)
A meditation on silence, the art of being present, and simple spirituality from critically acclaimed novelist Anne D. LeClaire Listening Below the Noise offers a practical path to achieving calm, peaceful solitude in hectic lives. Practitioners of yoga and meditation of various traditions have long known the curative powers of stillness; in Listening Below the Noise, LeClaire offers her own unique, compelling version of this ancient wisdom tradition.
Making Friends with Death by Judy Lief
In Making Friends with Death, Buddhist teacher Judith Lief, who has drawn her inspiration from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, shows us that through the powerful combination of contemplation of death and mindfulness practice, we can change how we relate to death, enhance our appreciation of everyday life, and use our developing acceptance of our own vulnerability as a basis for opening to others. She also offers a series of guidelines to help us reconnect with dying persons, whether they are friends or family, clients or patients.
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness Needs and Communications of the Dying<
by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley
In this moving and compassionate classic—now updated with new material from the authors—hospice nurses Callanan and Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years’ experience tending the terminally ill.Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts—of wisdom, faith, and love—that the dying leave for the living to share.
Being with Dying by Joan Halifax
The Buddhist approach to death can be of great benefit to people of all backgrounds—as has been demonstrated time and again in Joan Halifax’s decades of work with the dying and their caregivers. Inspired by traditional Buddhist teachings, her work is a source of wisdom for all those who are charged with a dying person’s care, facing their own death, or wishing to explore and contemplate the transformative power of the dying process. Her teachings affirm that we can open and contact our inner strength, and that we can help others who are suffering to do the same.
Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying Wisdom of the World Series
Through words and music, this beautifully designed CD set offers heartfelt words, from some of the world’s greatest visionary leaders, set to original soul-stirring music, creating an atmosphere of relaxation, insight, and healing. Graceful Passages addresses themes of letting go, closure, expressing love, forgiveness, appreciation of life, and continuity of spirit from different perspectives and faith traditions. A compelling musical score, created by a pioneering healing music artist and award-winning composer, lovely still-life photographs, and elegant design create a gentle invitation for the reader and listener to reflect upon what matters most.
“What really matters at the end of life” TED talk by BJ Miller, MD
“One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die” NYT article by BJ Miller, MD