Stories of American prowess in technology and medicine abound. And while these achievements have extended the lives of patients, they have not always extended the quality of those lives. As the older population in America skyrockets, more and more people who have received a terminal diagnosis, as well as those who love them, must grapple with the devastating decision of how they will forestall–or face–death. In Dying Made Easy(er) by Myra Bennett, we are guided through the diverse phases and considerations of the end of life by an experienced traveler who’s spent many hours “as a guest in the sacred place of the dying.” Bennett, a hospice nurse and certified end of life doula, who has also grappled with death in her personal life, invites us to contemplate dying from many different angles: legal, social, physical, psychological, and spiritual. Her Dying Made Easy(er) is both a handbook of pertinent information and a medley of informed suggestions for us to consider when experiencing or sharing the phenomenon that is the end of life. Bennett believes it is imperative that we–as a community–are aware of how to find help when faced with death and dying. In Dying Made Easy(er), she provides the resources to address this pressing need.
Bennett, who is the co-founder of Compassionate Crossings in Sacramento, has seen it all. She’s witnessed the dying process unfold in beautiful ways, with gifts for all involved, and she’s seen it devolve into a series of anguished mishaps that leave the family praying for an early transition. As there are no opportunities for rehearsals or do-overs, Bennett is committed to helping us better understand dying as the last–but not the least–chapter of life, and to helping us dream what this chapter might look like. In her warm and wise book, we learn how to turn this dream into a personal reality that will meet not only our deep-felt needs and desires but also those of our family and loved ones.
What motivated you to write about such a tabu subject?
Because it is a tabu subject. Death is a natural event of life that all of us will experience. We know this is true–yet–in our culture, we choose to deny it. As a hospice nurse for many years–and now as an end of life doula–I have been witness to dying experiences that were challenging for everyone involved, often accompanied by unnecessary pain and suffering. Opening up the dialog about death and dying is the first step in changing the way we die.
You refer to yourself as an end of life doula. Could you explain this role and how it compares to hospice?
Hospice is a medical model, therefore, the focus on services provided is based on the medical needs of the dying person. The end of life doula is a holistic model that sees dying as a life event, therefore the care is based on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of all involved.
What will be the subject of your next book?
When discussing fears about dying, most people say they are afraid of what happens after death. In my next book, I would like to explore some of the possibilities of what lies beyond this life.
If you ever write a fictional novel, what will the subject be?
Love (not romance).
What is the first step a person can take when planning their happy ending?
The first chapter in Dying Made Easy(er) is titled “Estate Planning and Advance Healthcare Directives”. This subject is covered first because if the reader does nothing else but what is suggested in this chapter, the dying experience will almost assuredly be better.
Thank you, Myra Bennett and iRead Book Tours.
About the author
Myra has been a student of death and dying since she experienced the loss of her husband in 2001. The years that would follow saw the loss of many friends and family as well, which gave her life experiences she would later use to care for patients as a hospice nurse at a large national hospice agency.
Today Myra is a certified end of life doula at Compassionate Crossings in Sacramento where she not only guides and supports terminally ill persons and their families, she also speaks and educates on all subjects related to death and dying.
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