End of Life Resources

“The remedy for dirt is soap and water. The remedy for dying is living.” – Chinese proverb

Numerous books, articles, websites, videos, and other online resources are available to offer guidance and answer questions, on everything from writing your own obituary to the green burial movement to alternative pain management. Read on for more of my favorite books and websites, plus other sources of information and inspiration.

End of Life Websites

My colleague and teacher Trish Rux and her companions at Death Doulas have compiled an amazing list of resources! Organized in categories, such as Advanced Planning, Caregiver Resources, Movies, Podcasts, and Books – including children’s books – this is a fantastic list of the best that is out there.
The Conversation Project® is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected. “Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of those that cared for them are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain. It’s time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It’s time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it’s time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don’t want for ourselves.

This organization has created some stunning documentaries about the end of life, including “In the Realm of Death and Dreaming: Does Consciousness Continue After Death?” And coming in early 2022, parts 2 and 3 of this film series. 

After her husband was suddenly killed in an accident, Chanel Reynolds became a co-founder of this website and wrote the bookWhat Matters Most: The Get Your Sh*t Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance, and Life’s “What-ifs.” When she became a widowed, solo parent overnight, she learned that taking care of a few, simple things like basic estate, emergency, financial, and end-of-life planning in advance can make a hard time a little softer. Her mission is to remove as much ‘optional’ suffering from life’s hardest moments, and she believes that this is easier than you think!

End of Life Books

Being Mortal 

by Atul Gawande

An excellent and beautifully written overview of what has happened to get us where we are as a society in relationship to death, and possible antidotes to a medicalized approach to the end of life. Excellent introduction to the Big Picture! “Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life―all the way to the very end.”

The Art of Dying Well 

by Katy Butler

This book picks up where Being Mortal leaves off, offering a pragmatic guide with concrete steps to make the end of life a more humane and compassionate experience. Heart-felt, with specific questions asked and advice given for your (or a loved one’s) stage of aging. Excellent read – I think this should be required reading for anyone over 50. “A common sense path to define what a ‘good’ death looks like” (USA TODAY), The Art of Dying Well is about living as well as possible for as long as possible and adapting successfully to change.”

This beautiful rumination on life, death, and the choices we make as we live is a deep summary on what is possible when we lean into our experience. The Five Invitations Ostaseski puts forth are: Don’t Wait; Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing; Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience; Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things; and Cultivate Don’t Know Mind. “These Five Invitations can be understood as best practices for anyone coping with loss or navigating any sort of transition or crisis; they guide us toward appreciating life’s preciousness.” Gorgeous, spiritual-minded read.

At times wry, always deeply compassionate, “This is a book about preparing for your own death and for the deaths of people close to you.” The author lays out a road map with incredible anecdotes and tidbits offered along the way. Succinct, practical, beautiful, best title ever.

Die Wise 

by Stephen Jenkinson

This book is extraordinary, but not for the faint of heart! I found that I had to just “drink it in” with huge gulps and long sessions of reading — it was too dense for a light read. That being said, it is one of the most powerful manifestations of truth around the power of our deaths and our grieving of everything that I have read. I loved it, and devoured every page in gulps — but if you don’t like a lyrical, intense read, it might feel like too much to bite off and chew. Stephen is also featured in a remarkable documentary film called “Griefwalker,” and I will offer a study group around this book in Fall 2021.

Best Life Best Death Affiliates

Spirit Vessel offers mindfully handcrafted Ceramic Urns and personalized Celebration Of Life Ceremonies to assist in grieving, honoring, and celebrating you or your loved one.

Create your own unique Exit File™ as a map to record and communicate your wishes, to aid and guide your family in the time of a medical crisis or your death. 

The Nokbox is a complete system that helps you organize all of your accounts, possessions, social media presence, communities, kids, pets, personal history, and estate plans (even if you don’t have estate plans yet!).  The Nokbox covers every aspect of your life (even down to the organization of your keys) and also helps your NOK manage your estate when you are gone.

“When death comes to find you, may it find you alive.”
– African proverb