Making Friends with Death: A Field Guide for Your Impending Last Breath
A slightly irreverent (But Always Respectful) New book and support system FOR BeFriending the inevitable
We all enjoy denial, and who could blame us? Mortality salience is a strange thing. And yet. Many of us do want to talk about it, do want to prepare, do want to get our things in order. When the time comes, we want to do it right, with our chins up and our hearts brave. If we can make friends with death—even a bit—well, we will have done ourselves (and others) a great service. It's probably hard for most of us to make BFF with death, true. But in the end, some friendship is better than none. So, welcome to Making Friends With Death . . . a spunky, practical, and honest book and support system dedicated to helping us journey into the final frontier.
What others are saying About the book . . .
As a practicing clinical psychologist, I exhort all my patients to confront their fears and adversities head-on — rationally, courageously, with grit and determination. This is exactly what Laura Pritchett does in her much- needed self-help book, Making Friends With Death. She shares a veritable cornucopia of personal experiences, strategies, perspectives, and workshop-like exercises to demystify, intelligently prepare for, and gracefully manage this most daunting of all of life’s challenges — our passing. Written in an accessible style fused with warmth, humor, and wisdom, it should be on everyone’s got-to-read list and part of every clinician’s library.
---- Russell Grieger, Ph.D., author of The Couples Therapy Companion, Unrelenting Drive, and a memoir, The Perfect Season.
Wow. While I’ve read my fair share of advice and research on dying, sat with dying patients, and experienced my own mortality at a young age, nothing could’ve prepared me for this book. The emotions surrounding death – from catapulting hope to bottoming out grief – are captured in such a succinct and artful way that is at once both fearfully honest and – dare I say – entertaining. Laura Pritchett has assembled a true workbook for the one course none of us want to take. Astonishingly, I feel I may have been given the key to a good death.”
---- Laura Katers, Physician Assistant, Inpatient Pain Management, University of Washington Medical Center
Death, that universal experience that is rarely discussed at parties, is now made accessible to all of us. Laura Pritchett has provided us with an intricate road map for the exploration of our death so that we can get on with the business of joyful living. This book is truly a gift to humanity.”
----Dr. Tim Flynn, Physical Therapist and International Expert in Chronic Pain Management
About the author
Laura Pritchett is a mere mortal who will someday die. She’s also the author of five literary novels: Stars Go Blue, Red Lightning, The Blue Hour, Sky Bridge, and Hell's Bottom Colorado. She's the recipient of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the High Plains Book Award, the Willa Award, and others. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, O Magazine, Salon, High Country News, The Millions, Publisher’s Weekly, Bloom, The Sun, and others. She holds a PhD from Purdue University and teaches and speaks around the country—as she happily prepares for her death. You can find out more at www.laurapritchett.com or www.makingfriendswithdeath.com
PBS called The Blue Hour "One of the books that will make you think about what it is to be human" --
And she's recently been called one of the Bad Ass Women Writing the West:
Death:The Final Frontier!
Death is serious business. And getting bad news really hurts. And coping with fear is no laughing matter. And yet. A little humor, and a lot of practical advice, and some serious wisdoms--well, that's what this book is about.
In this light-hearted, spunky exploration of the one thing that is certain, Making Friends with Death offers a look at all the uncertainty that precedes this final act. Written by American novelist Laura Pritchett, this book offers a compelling mix of practical how-to advice and personal narrative. Based on Pritchett's own quest for a peaceful death at a time when it felt very near, this book encapsulates all she learned over years of research, interviews, and plain-and-simple crazy questing to make some sense of our greatest quest—to die with our chins up, our hearts brave, and our souls at peace.
Pritchett offers up wisdoms she has gleaned from all sorts of interviews and journeys, including a decade of traditional research and a lifetime of other related, but less formal, pursuits (digging up a dead body, hosting Death Cafés, gently questioning the dying, and confronting the grim reaper herself).
Making Friends with Death broaches the sacred and the scary with warmth, research, and humor. Interspersed with a variety of workbook-like exercises, this book will prove to be the go-to companion for anyone who would prefer to greet death as an old friend, rather than a spooky stranger.
You can find out more here www.laurapritchett.com or amazon.com/author/laurapritchett and buy the book here: To order, contact your local independent bookstore. My locals happen to be The Tattered Cover in Denver and Old Firehouse in Fort Collins Colorado.
But why death, Now?
Once upon a time, I thought I was dying. Well, I knew I was dying, in that I’ll-die-someday kind of way, but at one point in my 30s, it felt pretty imminent. I’d seen no good examples of a good death—the deaths I’d witnessed seemed to be bitter, painful, messy affairs. So I began a journey of research and inquiry that led me down some bizarre and wonderful paths. I talked to hospice workers, dying people, living people, doctors—anyone who was willing to answer my frank questions about how we can make peace with death and do it well. . . .
I don't find death to be a morbid topic. My friends report that I'm a surprisingly happy person, in fact. It's just that I’ve been obsessed with dying well for most my life, and I've just seen too many deaths that didn’t strike me as ones I could use as good examples.
I wanted to get real and frank about it all. It’s best to fess up to the fact that decline hurts. Disease sucks. Death can be scary. Caregiving can be super hard. And our own death . . . well, that just seems unacceptable at times.
But die we will. And that's why I left my fiction writing to spend some time tracking down death . . . and seeing what joys and wisdoms and peace I could find.
A gift idea?
If someone is struggling with bad news, flowers are nice. But then they wilt and die. I wish someone had sent me this book instead—that's why I wrote it! To give a gift to myself! Basically, it's a quirky-yet-useful guidebook/journal to help everyone through those moments that matter.
Workshops, readings & retreats
Classes and retreats are offered at various places across the country -- and if you have a group of interested participants and would like to schedule a visit, email email@example.com
There are lots of books about dying . . . and many are great! I honor (and list) them in my own book. But I needed something different. Basically, I needed a “How-To-Guide,” or a “Dummy’s Guide to Death.” I thought I was out of time and needed to move fast. So I wrote the book I needed.
Nature photos by Gene Dodd.
Author photos by everyone, including my sister, children, boyfriend, and random strangers.
Black-and-white artwork by Leslie Patterson, and if you should need her awesome talent, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org