If you haven’t noticed, there’s a publishing trend at the moment for books about grief and death. You’ll find plenty of memoirs, self-help books and novels discussing euthanasia, grief and dying, but why is this topic so hot right now? And how can books help?
Written by Emily who works in our Sales team.
Why read books about death?
As difficult as it can be, having the big scary conversations with your loved ones is so incredibly important. What will happen when you die? What if you become ill and you are unable to express your wishes regarding your treatment? How do you want your family to react? Reading books about death and dying can have an incredible effect on your ability and willingness to discuss these matters with your nearest and dearest.
With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix is a brilliantly moving collection of the author’s experiences as a palliative care doctor. She works with the dying, she brings them comfort, she aims to give them each a good death. Mannix describes death to her reader as she does to her patients, explaining that there is less pain than people imagine; one just gets more and more tired, spends a lot more time asleep, and eventually won’t wake up. This had a marvellous calming effect on me – reading about the experiences of others, varied stories covering a wide scope, helped me come to terms with my own mortality.
As the incredibly heart-breaking A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion shows, grief is overwhelming. Didion doesn’t remember going through the motions; she does remember the conversations she and her partner John had before his sudden death. She knew that he wanted an autopsy and so could easily make that decision. In a foggy year, where Didion kept expecting her partner to walk back through the door, it was easier to make the decisions she absolutely knew were the ones he would have chosen.
I would encourage everybody to sit with these books, to stare death in the face alongside these authors, and decide how you will one day greet it.
Have you read any of these books? Or has a book helped you come to terms with your grief or mortality in the past? Let us know in the comments below.
Posted on February 1, 2018 by Andrea