“There is nothing wrong with you for dying,” palliative care Doctor BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger write in A Beginner’s Guide to the End. “Our ultimate purpose here isn’t so much to help you die as it is to free up as much life as possible until you do.”
Theirs is a clear-eyed and big-hearted action plan for approaching the end of life, created to help listeners feel more in control of an experience that so often seems anything but. Their audiobook offers everything from step-by-step instructions for how to do your paperwork and navigate the health-care system to answers to questions you might be afraid to ask your doctor, like whether or not sex is still okay when you’re sick. You’ll be walked through how to break the news to your employer, whether to share old secrets with your family, how to face friends who might not be as empathetic as you’d hoped, and how to talk to your children about your will. (Don’t worry: If anyone gets snippy, it’ll likely be their spouses, not them.) There are also lessons for survivors, like how to shut down a loved one’s social media accounts, clean out the house, and write a great eulogy.