A journalist/author and an Episcopal priest reveal how to talk about the intricacies of death with family and friends.
This small book by Crampton (Manners! I Know, Right?, 2017, etc.) and debut author Jones makes a big contribution to the ever growing literature about death and dying. Far from being a lugubrious and solemn read, the guide offers a lot of substance in a warm and approachable fashion. It is aimed at those who may want to talk with family and friends about their deaths and what they want from the experience but who may shy away from this difficult topic that most people scrupulously prefer to avoid. While not everyone will share the Episcopalian context that interlaces the content with inclusions from the Book of Common Prayer, the advice and research the authors provide prove insightful, thorough, and, well, fun. The authors do mention briefly other faith traditions, but the writers stress the Christian context. Some of the tips are surprising. “It may seem peculiar to write your own obituary,” the authors say about one of the exercises discussed in the book, “even to noodle around with a few words mostly for amusement.” The authors have a serious purpose, though—relieve the family of the burden of writing an obit during the stressful funeral time. The manual’s useful topics include how to deal with reluctant or resistant family members; how to appoint a health care representative; living wills; advance directives; where and how to retain all-important paperwork for family members; funeral planning; and the advent of green funerals. The authors write about these and many other not-so-obvious aspects of death planning with a thoroughness belied by the brief length of this book, which also features a selected, annotated bibliography as well as a helpful topical index. The authors are organization freaks, and they bring their obsession for order to this presentation that offers readers a challenge to engage in planning for life’s end instead of just avoiding the inevitable.
A welcoming guide to a dreaded and morbid subject—conversing with loved ones about death.