Estate planning attorneys can find themselves dealing with more than just legal issues when their clients have a death in the family. Here are some books to help you understand and address practical and emotional issues when it’s time to put your estate planning work to the test.
On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
This book by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler is a classic text which stands the test of time. First published in 2005, it has been re-released ten years later with a foreword by Maria Shriver – someone well acquainted with grief and loss.
Kübler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief was initially five stages of reaction the dying experienced before death. Those now well-known stages, first spelled out in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
The Stages were never meant to be regarded as a set-in-stone process – not everyone experiences every stage, and the stages could be experienced in any order. In On Grief & Grieving, Kübler-Ross and Kessler apply these stages to explain the inner and outer worlds of grief – how our emotions affect us within our minds, and how grief affects our relationships with others.
This new edition of On Grief & Grieving includes a reading group guide with topics and questions for discussion and a listing of online resources.
The Soul Sitter’s Handbook: What to do when your loved one is dying
Written by Stacey Canfield with Candace Conradi, The Soul Sitter’s Handbook provides sensitive guidelines on how to be present and supportive in the face of the dying process. The book is an outgrowth of an online community (www.SoulSitters.com) that helps people move from anxiety to confidence while dealing with life transitions and loss. A revised version of the book is being released in the summer of 2015.
People are afraid of death and being around the dying. They are afraid they will say or do something wrong. The authors introduce several ways to be fully present, calm and collected, to start meaningful conversations, and address the unfamiliar emotional landscape of grief.
In the face of a serious illness or loss, The Soul Sitter’s Handbook can provide the courage to think more clearly, make wise choices and connect with loved ones, both the living and dying.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory
If you’ve seen the “Ask a Mortician” YouTube video series by Caitlin Doughty, you know the humorous touch she puts into discussions of death. That same humor shines throughout her book, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.
At the start of the book, Doughty’s a newbie to the funeral industry, a crematory operator who hasn’t yet attended mortuary school. We follow our heroine through the doors of Westwind Cremation & Burial, a Bay area low-cost provider. She gives us a close-up look at one purveyor’s operations offering the American Way of Death.
She does not flinch from conveying the details of death. Decomposition, bodies in refrigeration units, the overflowing grease from cremating a portly woman, the process of embalming and the tricks of preparing a body for viewing – she shares the death details most people avoid when they turn their loved ones over to professionals for disposition.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a combination memoir and call to action for becoming an educated and involved funeral consumer that will make you LOL.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend my own award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. It provides the information, inspiration and tools to plan and implement creative, meaningful and memorable end-of-life rituals for people and their pets.
A Good Goodbye addresses the Baby Boomer generation with gentle humor on the vital information about funeral arrangements that most people don’t learn about until faced with a death in the family. This easy-to-read book tells how to plan a memorial service and reception, ways to communicate the news, collect vital information before it’s needed, and write obituaries and eulogies.
All these titles are available on Amazon.com and through other book retailers.
Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is a Certified Thanatologist – a death educator – and Certified Funeral Celebrant. An engaging speaker who uses funny films to teach about serious subjects, she is author and host of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. A regular contributor to the AAEPA blog, she also co-authored the free eBook, Celebrating Life: How to Create Meaningful Memorial Services, with Templates and Tips. Her website is www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
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Phone: (800) 846-1555