End-of-Life Reading Options

People everywhere turn to reading and books as a source of comfort, information and to provide clarity on life.  This is particularly true for someone who is battling a terminal illness. A book may bring comfort to them and solace and guidance to the families and friends who are caring for them.

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There are many types of books you can read to help prepare for the end-of-life transition including books that are tangible resources and inspirational works that can offer support.

End-of-life Reading Resources: These books provide a better understanding of the end-of-life process and the importance of living life to its fullest until the end. Some examples are:

  • When Life Becomes Precious: The Essential Guide for Patients, Loved Ones, and Friends of Those Facing Serious Illness by Elise NeeDell Babcock – a resource for those preparing for the loss of a loved one. The book contains hundreds of tips to help patients, caregivers, co-workers, and family members make each day more precious.
  • Graceful Passages:Companion for Living and Dying by Remal Malkin and Michael Stillwater – this book and CD set uses music and the spoken word to help readers come to terms with loss and death as a part of life. The book talks about the process of letting go and how to transform fear and pain into an outlet for healing.
  • What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom for the End of Life by David Kuhl – this book is told through the perspective of Dr. David Kuhl. He draws upon his background in counseling psychology and expertise in palliative care to outline a realistic approach to end-of-life care. Through this information, Dr. Kuhl inspires people to become more fully alive even when facing a serious terminal illness.

Inspirational Books: Focusing on a positive message, these books can help take one’s mind off of their individual situation.

  • end of life book options from San Diego HospiceTuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom – a true story about life lessons that a student learns from his professor who is terminally ill with ALS.
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – an uplifting story from a man battling a terminal diagnosis for Pancreatic cancer. The book  discusses  celebrating dreams that you’ve achieved or will pursue.
  • The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living by Dr. Ira Byock – four phrases that can provide us with a clear path to emotional wellness and guide us through the thickets of interpersonal difficulties to a conscious way of living that is full of integrity and grace

These are just some of the many books that may help ease the pain of a terminal diagnosis. Do you have any books that you would like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Written by mdelacalzada

Communications Executive, Social Media Aficionado, Caregiver Advocate. Currently serves as the Executive Director of Communications and Public Relations at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine, a non-profit community-owned healthcare organization since 1977.


6 Comments on "End-of-Life Reading Options"

  1. I’d like to suggest you consider a review of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. It’s got the information, inspiration, and tools to plan a healing, memorable end-of-life celebration. Thanks for your consideration!

  2. I have written and published a book Dying A Natural Passage
    which is in it’s second printing and used by hospices
    through out the US.
    Who can I talk to about having my book as part of your recommendations?

    I have heard so much about San Diego Hospice, and hope to visit this year.
    Thank you so much,

    Denys Cope, RN, BSN, MSS
    RN-40+ years, Hospice RN 24+ years, End-of-Life Coach,
    Elder Care Manager, Author, Professional Speaker

    Beyond Coping
    -For Those Living Through Dying

    ” I am the relative you wish you had when you are faced with
    healthcare challenges.”

    BK: Dying: A Natural Passage (Winner 2008 New Mexico Book Award)

    Web: http://www.livingthroughdying.com
    Email: denys@denyscope.com
    Ph: 505 474-8383
    Address: 4524 Calle Turquesa
    Santa Fe, NM 87507

  3. So much is precious after diagnosis of a life-threatening illness! What helps it to remain precious is to hold the discussions about what’s most important to the individual & those they love (bucket list & “the 4 things that matter most”); how they want to be cared for at end of life (MOST, Advance Directives, health care power of attorney); how they want their body cared for after death (e.g., green burial, cremation); & how they want to be celebrated (e.g., eulogy, memorial, obit).

    Each of us has responsibility for defining these things for ourselves and for our loved ones. One can do these things independently – there’s a great website – http://www.lifebeforedeath.com In November, an Exit Strategies Seminar, which addresses these 4 components of end-of-life planning, will be launched in Durham, NC. The intent is to ease the inevitable, for each of us & offer your loved ones the gift of knowing, when you’re transitioning, what you want done.

  4. A few of my favorites, all of which I’ve read and highly recommend (as listed on the Caregiving page of my Web site, http://www.griefhealing.com/care-giving-links.htm ):

    Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide To The Emotional and Spiritual Care Of The Dying

    The Final Act of Living: Reflections of a Longtime Hospice Nurse

    Final Gifts : Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

    Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness

    The Needs of the Dying : A Guide For Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life’s Final Chapter

    Sooner or Later: Restoring Sanity to Your End of Life Care

  5. Thanks for the info

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