Reading List

{ Doing The Work }

  • The Needs of the Dying book cover

    The Needs of the Dying

    By David Kessler

    Author David Kessler has identified key areas of concern in death and dying: the need to be treated as a living human being, the need for hope, the need to express emotions, the need to participate in care, the need for honesty, the need for spirituality, and the need to be free of physical pain. Kessler provides a vocabulary for family members and for the dying that allows them to communicate with doctors, with hospital staff, and with one another, and–at a time when the right words are exceedingly difficult to find.

  • finding peace at the end of life book cover with abstract tree on a waterline

    Finding Peace at the End of Life: A Death Doula’s Guide for Families and Caregivers

    By Henry Fersko-Weiss

    Death doula Fersko-Weiss helps the dying discover meaning in their lives, express that meaning in powerful and beautiful legacies, and plan for their final days with dignity.

    He emphasizes thoughtful planning for how the last days should look, sound, and feel, and encourages the use of touch, guided imagery, and ritual during the dying process.

{ Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) }

  • 'This Is Assisted Dying' by Stefanie Green book cover: blue with doves cut out from white tissue paper

    This Is Assisted Dying: A Doctor’s Story of Empowering Patients At The End Of Life

    By Stefanie Green, MD

    A compassionate memoir by Dr. Green, who has been in the field of assisted dying since 2016. She discusses the reasons a patient might seek an assisted death, how the process works, what the event itself can look like, the reactions of those involved, and what it feels like to oversee proceedings and administer medications that hasten death.

    She describes the extraordinary people she meets and the unusual circumstances she encounters as she navigates the intricacy, intensity, and utter humanity of these powerful interactions.

{ Organization & Tidying }

  • 'The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning' by Margareta Magnusson book cover

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter

    By Margareta Magnusson

    Artist Margareta Magnusson instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming.

  • Your Digital Undertaker: Exploring Death in the Digital Age in Canada book cover

    Your Digital Undertaker: Exploring Death in the Digital Age in Canada

    By Sharon Hartung

    The author, a former military officer and tech executive shares what she’s learned about the estate industry and the taboo topic of preparing for one’s own death. This book is an exploration of death in the digital age in Canada, which lifts the lid on how the deathcare and estate industry works today, and tackles it through the project management and digital lens.

{ Contemplation }

  • Still Here by Ram Dass book cover with a portrait of a smiling Ram Dass

    Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying

    By Ram Dass

    Spiritual pioneer and stroke survivor Ram Dass guides readers in an exploration of aging and dying. The wisdom he shares is simple and profound: Yes, we are our bodies, but we are also infinitely more. It’s also encouragement to ‘be here now’ in every moment and situation amidst a culture that fears wrinkles.

  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion book cover

    The Year of Magical Thinking

    By Joan Didion

    This book is an account of the grief that followed the death of the author’s husband John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003). It follows Didion’s reliving and reanalysis of her husband’s death in the process of also caring for her ill daughter. The book also incorporates medical and psychological research on grief and illness.

  • Blue tinted book cover of "Blue Nights" by Joan Didion with a photo of Joan and her daughter as a baby.

    Blue Nights

    By Joan Didion

    A work about losing a daughter. Textured with memories from her own childhood and married life, this is an intensely personal account of her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old.

{ Grief }

  • It's OK that you're not Ok book cover with blank background and an empty chair

    It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

    By Megan Devine

    Author Megan Devine says grief is simply love in its most wild and painful form. It is a natural and sane response to loss. In this book, she offers insight and experience from being a therapist as well as someone who has witnessed the loss of her partner. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, happy life and replaces it with a middle path of building a life alongside grief.