Understanding death and learning about what happens when you die is at the crux of our mission. Here are a few key resources for you to delve deeper into topics such as the dying process, the funeral industry, dealing with tragedy, hospice care, and more. We hope to help bring the death conversation back into everyday life in order to live fully.
Caitlin Doughty is out to reclaim death. The Los Angeles mortician, author, and founder of the 'Order of the Good Death' and 'Undertaking LA' speaks to Fresh Air's Terry Gross about our society's reluctant relationship to death and how honesty is the cure.
Audio Source: www.npr.org
This is an intimate and honest conversation with palliative-care pioneer Larry Librach throughout his own journey from cancer diagnosis to his death in 2013. Librach dedicated his life to helping patients navigate their final stages—with this book, author Phil Dwyer compassionately documents how Librach faced and prepared for his own death. http://conversationsondying.com/
Summary:The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford (1964)—the classic exposé that reveals the inner workings of the American funeral industry with humour and insight. Robert Gottlieb says in his editor’s note in the edition of Mitford’s book published 36 years after the original (in 2000), “Unfortunately, the corrective is as necessary today as it was then.”
Summary:Grave Matters: A Journey Through the American Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial by Mark Harris (2008)—Environmental journalist Harris follows families who opted out of chemical embalming and fancy caskets, elaborate and costly funerals, and who embraced instead a range of natural options.
In Harris’s preface he says that green burials are “just one of many strategies we’re embracing in search of more meaningful, more fitting, and, ultimately, more natural alternatives to the generic send-off proffered by the local funeral home. And if my research and travels are any indication, it’s doing nothing less than rewriting—and, in the process, re-righting—the American Way of Death.”
“Like many Westerners at the turn of the 21st century, my family and I had not had much to do with death,” says author Katherine Ashenburg. “In their 20s, my daughters had four living grandparents. Hannah had been to only two funerals in her life. This was our first experience with sudden death at a young age.”
The book, which emerged from Ashenberg’s observations of her daughter’s intuitive mourning process when Hannah’s fiancé was killed in a car accident, explores the delicate dance we do to transport ourselves back to the land of the living after we lose someone we love.