Books about end of life, for the caregiver?
January 3, 2023 3:16 PM   Subscribe

I’ve found lots of books about grieving, and some about end of life (for the dying person), but I’d like something to read about experiencing the last few week or days of a loved one’s death. Doesn’t need to be self-help, though that is fine too. Meditations on the experience welcome. But I want something that explicitly addresses the time prior to final passing.

Additional details: I’m an atheist, so I prefer resources that are not specifically associated with a particular faith. I have a therapist.
posted by CiaoMela to Human Relations (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This booklet, while not a full sized book, gives some really specific information about what to expect in different stages of end of life. It's not religious and is free to read as a pdf.
posted by Eyelash at 3:41 PM on January 3, 2023 [5 favorites]

Best answer: When I hd an assignment similar to this, I went with Special Exits which is a graphic novel, and honest and specific in the way I've come to associate with that genre
posted by DebetEsse at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2023

Best answer: If you’re open to fiction, Catherine Newman’s “We All Want Impossible Things” is a beautiful - and hilarious - reflection on living through a friend’s last days.
posted by amelioration at 6:05 PM on January 3, 2023

Best answer: Roshi Joan Halifax! Being with Dying in particular.
posted by supercres at 6:14 PM on January 3, 2023

Best answer: My mother's hospice nurse gave us a small booklet which was very helpful. The woman who wrote it has multiple others that I ended up ordering as well. They are very reasonable in price. Her name is Barbara Karnes, RN and her site for end of life education materials is

I also just finished "We All Want Impossible Things" and agree with amelioration. "Crying in H Mart" a memoir by a young woman caring for her mother during her last months is also very good. Both had very similar experiences to what we went through with my mother.
posted by maxg94 at 8:18 AM on January 4, 2023

Best answer: What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez is another novel that hits on this.
posted by monster_a at 8:18 AM on January 4, 2023

Best answer: Being Mortal hits some of your requirements.
Being Mortal shows that the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life – all the way to the very end.
posted by aeighty at 9:53 AM on January 5, 2023

Best answer: The Needs of the Dying gave me a lot of guidance and comfort when my mother was dying.

We All Want Impossible Things does provide a very accurate (and touching and sometimes hilarious) picture of hospice.
posted by lyssabee at 1:09 PM on January 6, 2023

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