Death is a topic we all need to confront, be it our own mortality or that of those we care about. And thinking and talking about death and dying is a struggle for many people. Whether you embrace the conversation or prefer to avoid any thought of death, this "joyful book about death" is a wonderful opportunity to explore how death and dying affects our lives, even when death may not be imminent.
"We're All Going to Die" is brought to life through Leah Kaminsky's journey with her anxiety about death as a family physician, daughter, mother, and friend, and expanded through interviews with a range of carefully selected and not always predictable experts and individuals. Leah covers a huge range of topics: ignoring death; children and death; daredevils; health anxiety; life-threatening illness and disability; near death experiences; living with loss, especially suicide; surrounding ourselves with life; euphemisms for death and the medical view of death as failure; honouring the dead; "a good death"; and the growing death movement. A gentle approach makes these serious issues immediately accessible, while examining a vast amount in many layers. The pages of my copy are already dog-eared, with a multitude of turned corners to mark sentences and passages that I want to come back to again. I am sure that when I re-read this book, I will be struck by additional insights.
At the heart of Leah's unique, refreshingly honest, respectful and beautifully expressed perspectives, and the touching stories she shares about others, are her kindness and compassion. These qualities are key to her narrative helping others to celebrate life and experience the fullest joy possible in each of our lives, whatever our circumstances and wherever we are in our relationship to death.
A “must-read” in my view and one I am already recommending to family, friends and my own patients.