Talking About Death Won’t Kill You

Talking About Death Won't Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations by Kathy Kortes-Miller
Published by ECW Press on March 6th 2018
Genres: non-fiction
Pages: 280
Goodreads

This practical handbook will equip readers with the tools to have meaningful conversations about death and dying

Death is a part of life. We used to understand this, and in the past, loved ones generally died at home with family around them. But in just a few generations, death has become a medical event, and we have lost the ability to make this last part of life more personal and meaningful. Today people want to regain control over health-care decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

Talking About Death Won’t Kill You is the essential handbook to help Canadians navigate personal and medical decisions for the best quality of life for the end of our lives. Noted palliative-care educator and researcher Kathy Kortes-Miller shows readers how to identify and reframe limiting beliefs about dying with humor and compassion.

With robust resource lists, Kortes-Miller addresses• advance care plans for ourselves and our loved ones• how to have conversations about end-of-life wishes with loved ones• how to talk to children about death• how to build a compassionate workplace• practical strategies to support our colleagues• how to talk to health-care practitioners• how to manage challenging family dynamics as someone is dying• what is involved in medical assistance in dying (MAID)

Far from morbid, these conversations are full of meaning and life — and the relief that comes from knowing what your loved ones want, and what you want for yourself.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Pinky swear!

I was excited to read Talking About Death Won’t Kill You because I’m one of those weird people who is fascinated by death, the psychology of people around death, and I do think that death is one of those things that is just brushed under the table in Western society. Not a lot of people talk about death and even less people know how to discuss it when it’s creeping up on someone’s doorstep.

When I had the chance to review this book, I thought it would be great. I’d be able to read about death from the perspective of someone who teaches people how to handle death and the process leading up to it. How cool is that! Unfortunately, I felt that while the ideas were there, the execution wasn’t the best.

I found a lot of the information in the book repetitive. In the first couple of pages the author explains that she teaches this undergrad course and then a couple of pages later, explains the exact same thing. Small things like that happened throughout and made it a little hard for me to stay engaged, as I’d find myself starting to skim.

If you can get past that, though, the book is pretty interesting. It touches on all the important aspects of talking about death – talking about it at work, telling your children. I was super interested to read chapter 9 – Posting, Tweeting, & Texting – Dying in a Digital World. Living in a digital world has drastically changed how you find out about death, how you talk about it, and even how people who have died are remembered. This chapter especially was full of useful tips on how to manage this new world. It made me more aware of what I’m sharing and how I’d be remembered if I passed suddenly (I say this as I knock on some wood).

All in all, Talking About Death Won’t Kill You was a neat little book. Was it my favourite? No. But I did learn some things about how to handle the process of dying that I didn’t know before and it’s made me think about death in a different manner.

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Resilience

Resilience: Navigating Life, Loss, and the Road to Success by Lisa Lisson
Published by ECW Press on October 17th 2017
Genres: memoir
Pages: 240
Goodreads

Lisa Lisson’s life seemed perfect: she had married her high school sweetheart, applied her marketing degree to a position at FedEx Express Canada, and risen to become a vice president (and would ultimately become president) of the company. One night, after putting their four children to bed, her husband, Patrick, marvelled that their lives seemed perfectly happy.

Just a few hours later, everything changed.

One moment Lisa was sleeping beside Patrick, and the next, she was kneeling on the floor beside his unconscious body frantically administering CPR. Patrick had had a massive heart attack and was in a coma, and the doctors were blunt: there was no hope. But for the next two years, Lisa stood by his side and awaited a miracle, while continuing to balance life as a high-powered executive and mother of four.

Part leadership guide, part memoir of loss, and part personal empowerment primer on how to achieve your goals no matter what the universe throws at you, Resilience is an inspirational story about how to rise to the top in a man’s world, triumph over adversity, lead a fulfilling life, and live each day with purpose and gratitude.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Pinky swear!

First off, Lisa Lisson, I applaud you. You are a strong, fierce, independent woman and I am sorry you’ve had to go through the things you have, although I have a feeling you’re the type to tell me it’s alright because you learned from it. I’m applauding you anyway.

Lisa really knows how to pull heart strings. The book starts off with a punch to the gut and it just continues from there. I found myself immediately drawn into the story and the issues Lisa was facing. You could almost feel the panic and sheer distraught coming off the page. Although I felt bad because I knew these were actual events that had happened to someone, I was hooked and wanted to keep reading.

Alternating with these heartbreaking chapters were chapters about Lisa’s rise to the top of FedEx. They begin with her telling us why she chose to work at FedEx and then detailed her climb up the corporate ladder. These chapters were less exciting for me but they were short enough that it didn’t bother me too much. The most insightful part of these chapters were learning that even if you’re a bigwig, you still get anxious when you’re in the process of getting promoted to bigger wig. These chapters just lacked a little bit for me. Maybe I wish there’d been more solid advice here, but I don’t think that’s what this book was trying to achieve.

The biggest downside to Resilience for me was the repetitiveness. I found that, especially near the end, a lot of thoughts and explanations of her career were repeated. It didn’t take away from the story too much, but it happened enough that I started looking forward to the book being over. Besides that little hitch, I was a little sad when the book finished.

I won’t lie, it was also pretty cool to read a book that takes place in Ontario, since that doesn’t happen very much with what I read!

The one piece of advice that I will be taking away from this is creating a list of goals as a leader for your department, with input from your employees. It seems like such a simple concept but I’d never thought of it before!

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