Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to the End

Here we have the most comprehensive end of life book I’ve come across, and I’ve read a lot of them. Miller & Berger have given us a guide that touches on every aspect of ending our lives well, and with dignity, and peace, and with all loose ends wrapped up.

The book contains several descriptors rarely considered by other similar works, such things as how to tell children you’re dying, how we actually die, what our final 24 hours will be like, and how we can grieve well, if we’re the one left behind.

Addressing a conversation many of us avoid, death and its inevitability, A Beginner’s Guide to the End assumes that we’re ready to plan for it. There are chapters on looking ahead at finances and how to optimize that situation; chapters on coping, and how to tell people, and about love-sex-relationships, every one of which a pending death influences. There are ‘hospital hacks,’ and advice on writing your own obituary, and what happens the day after you die.

Mostly, for this reader, the book reveals the ‘richness’ that acknowledging our coming demise can bring into our lives prior to that day. It’s not a morbid reflection; it’s a loving clarification that too often we live in fear of, the one reality we share as human beings, the only creature that is aware of its own mortality.

Mostly, A Beginner’s Guide to the End affirms that There’s better way to live, and, ironically, it can be in preparing for our own death.