The Lost Art of Dying: Reviving Forgotten Wisdom
By Lydia Dugdale
(259 pages, nonfiction, 2020)
Death. That dreaded word. It rolls off our tongues in a whisper. We mustn’t let it find us. But in doing so, we are only making death more scary. We’ll do anything to fight it. No matter the cost. Which results in the art of dying well being lost. So how do we make death less scary? How do we properly prepare ourselves for the fate that catches up to all of us? That’s what this book will tell you.
We need to look at what death is. Its history. This book goes into details of how death was viewed or overlooked in the past. It even describes the accounts of historical plagues and how they were handled. Which considering the pandemic, makes that information all the more interesting. What nuggets of wisdom can they tell us? How can we prevent the same fate? If you’re concerned about what happens to your body after you die, this book goes into those details as well as contrasting them against history and what other countries do.
It is possible to prepare ourselves for death in a way that allows us to die well. What does dying well mean? It means not being resuscitated three times in one night, just to die by the end of it. It means not doing another round of chemotherapy that will reduce your quality of life, when you are past the point of its ability to help you. It means using palliative care early on, to help prepare you, keeping that fear at bay. It means asking and exploring the existential questions before the clock runs out.
In order to die well, you need to live well. If you want to know how, read this book. It covers topics like fear, the body, the spirit, and rituals. This book will teach you a lot. I thought this book was going to be a downer and rather boring, but it actually stimulated my mind and got me thinking. It’ll make you feel less alone; everybody dies. When the Grimm Reaper comes calling, it might make it easier if you are prepared and have a plan. Definitely a great read for the living because it takes a lifetime of living well in order to die well.
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