Part checklist, part memoir, this nonfiction book offers practical advice to help prepare for the loss of a spouse.
When Post learned that her husband had a terminal illness, both of them felt blindsided by the news. In their struggle to cope with his diagnosis and quick decline, they avoided talking about the practical, day-to-day issues of life without a partner. After he passed away, she regretted not having those conversations—particularly when the toilet flooded and she realized she didn’t know where to find the water shut-off valve. To prevent other couples from experiencing the same frustrations amid their heartbreak, Post wrote this book, her debut, which offers general advice and lists alongside entries from her journal and her personal recollections of her husband’s final months. The book engages readers from the beginning, especially in the introduction, where Post warmly invites readers to “use the ideas in this book as your permission and your incentive to approach these subjects with your partner.” She goes on to discuss financial assets and liabilities, wills, estate planning, funerals, burials, hospice care and more, including the emotional challenges of living without a spouse. Post writes in a friendly, conversational tone that makes difficult topics seem less overwhelming. However, a few sections rely more on anecdotes than facts, making the book feel less like a guide and more like a memoir—a style that may win over some readers while alienating others. Many of Post’s stories and comments are geared toward senior citizens, and a handful of her suggestions appear a bit dated, from Chapter 3’s gender-specific breakdown of unfamiliar household tasks (home maintenance for widows, cooking for widowers) to the chart of average funeral costs last updated in 2009. But while Post’s specific experiences may not be universally relatable, they could prove quite comforting to readers going through a similar situation.
Not a comprehensive manual on end-of-life issues, but a decent reference for couples, especially valuable for older readers and caregivers.