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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9781973675341
  • 150 pages
  • $30.95
Paperback Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9781973675334
  • 150 pages
  • $13.95
Kimberly Best
Author, Service Provider
How to Live Forever: A Guide to Writing the Final Chapter of Your Life Story
Your life is a story, and it's yours to write, all the way through to the end. There are numerous decisions to be made regarding aging, illness, and end-of-life issues, but many people put off those decisions until it's too late. We may be purposeful in planning for our lives, but we often leave the last piece, the final chapter, undefined. How to Live Forever seeks to lay a foundation for people to live well in the time they have, to leave their stories behind as their legacies, and to write their own best ending so that their final wishes can be honored. Author Kimberly Best encourages you to consider what you want the final chapter of your life to look and feel like, providing you with tools and prompts that can help you have difficult conversations regarding legal decisions, health care plans, relationships, and death and dying. If we recognize the finite nature of our days, we can live purposefully, plan ahead for the end of our life story, and die without regret, living fully to the end and finishing well.
Reviews
In this moving and compassionate guide, nurse and family mediator Best imparts knowledge and wisdom on end-of-life issues, urging us all to be proactive and make plans (legal, medical) sooner than later. Best wins reader trust right away by acknowledging the common tendency to avoid thinking about or discussing death (“Why do we glorify the start of life but deeply fear its end?”). But, she reasons, “death is a given,” and in increasingly profound chapters, she urges readers to take control of our endings: execute documents and estate planning; decide where to host your funeral; communicate the stories of our lives; and, ultimately, recognize that “the biggest regrets that we can have… will likely be around hurt relationships.”

The chapters on relationships prove especially strong, offering clear-eyed, forward-thinking insights on handling conflict, offering apologies, and enacting forgiveness so that we might “finish well.” Noting that “family conflicts are the biggest threat to estate planning,” and never downplaying the truth that these conversations are difficult, Kim advocates for mediation, persuasively demonstrating that it “helps to have help.” Prudently chosen evidence and citations lend credence to her arguments, and intimate anecdotes pulled from Best’s own experiences as an RN give the material some narrative power: “As I sat with this woman during her last moments of life, I looked at her, and I was struck by the realization that life is like a book,” she writes. Best urges us to consider our life in such terms, and take control of how we want to write the story.

Even in the face of death, Kim’s tone is hopeful. This inviting, inclusive book, crafted to appeal to anyone facing the most universal of challenges, insists that much undue end-of-life suffering is avoidable, and that few relationships are too broken to be fixed before the end. “As long as we have breath,” Best writes, “there is still time to change our course.”

Takeaway: This inviting guide offers universal, insightful lessons on the difficult subject of ending a life well.

Great for fans of: Kathy Butler’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Sherwin B. Nuland’s How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Kirkus

A debut self-help book offers suggestions for practical and emotional end-of-life planning.

In this manual, Best draws on her experiences working as both a nurse and a mediator as well as on lessons learned from

her own relatives’ end-of-life processes to guide readers through establishing wills, making health care plans, and telling

their stories to loved ones. In concise chapters, the author explains each topic, provides examples, and presents readers

with a step-by-step checklist of items to discuss and consider. While the volume spends some time on concrete legal and

financial aspects of end-of-life planning, Best generally takes a holistic view, encouraging readers to make the most of

relationships, think about how they wish to be remembered, and figure out what kind of rituals they would like survivors

to commemorate them with. The author urges readers to accept the idea of death and position themselves to meet it as

productively and positively as possible, giving and receiving forgiveness when necessary in order to end relationships on

the best note. Best’s explanations of technical terms are clear and easy to follow (“Supported decision-making

recognizes, respects, and protects your right to make choices for as long as you are able”), and the book’s tone is

supportive and comforting, an appropriate fit for the subject matter. The anecdotes that appear throughout provide solid

examples of the advantages of planning in advance, demonstrating how an estate can languish in probate if its disposition

is not arranged ahead of time, and showing how a person who leaves instructions for a positive celebration of life instead

of a funeral can leave friends and family with a sense of love and appreciation rather than sadness. The manual’s dictum

to “think about our lives as stories” delivers a unique angle on developing an understanding of a full and well-lived life

as well as a sense of structure that may be valuable to readers in plotting their own trajectories. Best also recommends

several works that the audience may find useful, particularly Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. In addition, the book

includes helpful references and a bibliography.

A thoughtful and readable guide to making crucial death arrangements and estate decisions

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9781973675341
  • 150 pages
  • $30.95
Paperback Book Details
  • 10/2019
  • 9781973675334
  • 150 pages
  • $13.95

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