To Die Well
Sidney Wanzer
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Buy *To Die Well: Your Right to Comfort, Calm, and Choice in the Last Days of Life* by Sidney Wanzer online

To Die Well: Your Right to Comfort, Calm, and Choice in the Last Days of Life
Sidney Wanzer
Da Capo Lifelong Books
232 pages
February 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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So few of us really understand the importance of having our estate planning - a detailed and registered will, a living will and an advanced directive - in place by the time we are on our own. Even if we have few possessions, we will still have preferences in the handling of our effects, burial preferences and possible financial needs taken care of. By neglecting to take care of these things, we can force a horrendous amount of work on those who are grieving our loss, at a time when the last thing they want to do is think about appointments and decisions. Worse, we can leave the fate of our lives in the hands of strangers. A car hits a 22-year-old who is doing nothing but walking down a streets. He certainly has no idea he may die that day, and he has nothing in place. Then he finds himself kept in a coma for years and years with no hope of recovery – yet the professionals keep him alive, poking and prodding and doing operations or other invasive procedures. Did this youth want this life? This is the kind of thing we really need to take more seriously in this society.

Sydney Wanzer and Joseph Glenmullen, both MDs, worked together to pub a detailed and friendly self-help manual for those who would like to have their wishes recognized when they cannot voice their desires themselves. Both of these men have had long and accomplished careers in dealing with terminal patients and their families. To Die Well offers numerous real-life stories of patients, doctors and the author’s experiences in such a kind and friendly manor. The importance of the issue is made clear; however, readers will find themselves feeling more secure about their future and less concerned about those they leave behind. Readers will have a little work ahead of them in regards to putting their wishes on paper and making it legal, but they will certainly feel empowered and reassured.

To Die Well is published by DaCapo Press, a branch of the Lifelong Books publishing company and member of the Perseus Books Group. The book includes several sample forms that readers can use as a template to create their unique plans that suit their particular situation and wishes.

I have certainly appreciated the opportunity to review this practical guide to life planning, and I recommend this book to any and all who care about their future. Readers will appreciate that the book is equipped with a durable hardcover and protective slipcover. Environmentalists may enjoy the fact that the publishers chose to print the book in the U.S., rather than overseas – thus reducing the fossil fuels spent on production and distribution. The only thing I could find that could work against this book’s evaluation is that there was no information as to other environmentally sustainable printing options that may have been employed, such as recycled content. However, I could not find it in my heart to dock this book based on this issue.

Buy it – follow the authors’ advice. Your family will thank you, and you’ll feel better, too.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Lillian Brummet, 2008

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