There are many books and other resources available that address death and dying and the grief process. These can be helpful sources of information and can provide insight to patients and caregivers alike. The following books are just a few that we have found helpful.
“Dying Well” by Ira Byock
In “Dying Well”, Ira Byock argues that telling someone’s life story (patient or family) is integral to the process of dealing with death. It is a poignant book written by a hospice physician with 20 years of experience. He has served as a past president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine. He believes, “Nobody should have to die in pain. Nobody should have to die alone.”
“Final Gifts, Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying” by Maggie Callanan
“Final Gifts, Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying” is geared toward caregivers and addresses the challenges of communicating with a dying loved one. An excerpt taken from the back cover states, “When someone we love is dying…it’s hard to know how to help, what to do, what to say. Yet if we know how to listen and what to look for, the dying themselves can often supply the answers, letting us know what they need to hear and express to allay their fears and face death with serenity.”
“On Grief and Grieving” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross literally “wrote the book” on death and grieving. Her seminal first book, On Death & Dying, set the standard for counseling about mortality and mourning. Counselors discovered that the five stages of dying that she identified (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) also applied to other difficult and catastrophic life crises. In this final book completed before her death in 2004, Kübler-Ross and coauthor David Kessler revisit the five stages to create a deeply emphatic and accessible guide for those in grief. In this powerful book of guidance, Kübler-Ross utilizes practical wisdom and spiritual insights garnered from her decades of experience as a psychiatrist, humanitarian, and grief counselor.