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Happier Endings by Erica Brown

Happier Endings by Erica Brown

Ratings: (0)|Views: 2,457 |Likes:
Published by Simon and Schuster
We are all going to die, but some of us will die better.
As a spiritual teacher based in the Washington, D.C., area, Erica Brown has attracted a strong following among those looking for practical wisdom based on the world’s most revered and treasured religious texts. Here she shares stories and ref lections on one of life’s most essential topics: how we pack each day with love and meaning precisely because we will not live forever. Erica helps us confront our fears about death—for ourselves and our loved ones—and demonstrates how the last days of life can be among the most inspiring if we learn to leave a legacy of words and values, to forgive and apologize, and to make important decisions about our last hours.
Praised by New York Times columnist David Brooks for combining “extreme empathy with extreme tough-mindedness,” Erica Brown is a leading religious scholar with a sense of humor and a gift for storytelling. In Happier Endings, she meets people of all faiths who deal with death in enlightening ways, including a mother who arranged for her children to sprinkle her ashes on a favorite ski slope, an ex-nun who prepares people to die, a group of women who ritually wash the dead, and a family whose grandfather’s Ethical will is read by his survivors each year.
Brown leads readers on an emotional journey to prepare for and accept death, drawing on the wisdom found in many spiritual traditions. The crucial step, Brown writes, is becoming comfortable discussing death—and not just in the abstract. This kind of honesty allows for important conversations, from financial wills to last words that reinforce to those you love most what matters most to you.
After reading Happier Endings, you will have a greater understanding of what a good death can be and what a life well lived looks like.
We are all going to die, but some of us will die better.
As a spiritual teacher based in the Washington, D.C., area, Erica Brown has attracted a strong following among those looking for practical wisdom based on the world’s most revered and treasured religious texts. Here she shares stories and ref lections on one of life’s most essential topics: how we pack each day with love and meaning precisely because we will not live forever. Erica helps us confront our fears about death—for ourselves and our loved ones—and demonstrates how the last days of life can be among the most inspiring if we learn to leave a legacy of words and values, to forgive and apologize, and to make important decisions about our last hours.
Praised by New York Times columnist David Brooks for combining “extreme empathy with extreme tough-mindedness,” Erica Brown is a leading religious scholar with a sense of humor and a gift for storytelling. In Happier Endings, she meets people of all faiths who deal with death in enlightening ways, including a mother who arranged for her children to sprinkle her ashes on a favorite ski slope, an ex-nun who prepares people to die, a group of women who ritually wash the dead, and a family whose grandfather’s Ethical will is read by his survivors each year.
Brown leads readers on an emotional journey to prepare for and accept death, drawing on the wisdom found in many spiritual traditions. The crucial step, Brown writes, is becoming comfortable discussing death—and not just in the abstract. This kind of honesty allows for important conversations, from financial wills to last words that reinforce to those you love most what matters most to you.
After reading Happier Endings, you will have a greater understanding of what a good death can be and what a life well lived looks like.

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Published by: Simon and Schuster on Feb 14, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/31/2014

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Chapter One
the busess of deah
A
unt Diane and Uncle Roy ound Alyssa’s body collapsed on thefoor in her apartment late one Wednesday aternoon in Sep-tember ater no one had answered her phone or many hours. Thataternoon, eerything about their lies changed oreer. It was eeryparent’s nightmare stretched out beore them in graphic horror. Inher memoir
The Year o Magical Thinking,
Joan Didion sums upthose painul minutes o deastation that transorm amilies when herown husband died suddenly o a heart attack in the liing room: “Liechanges ast. Lie changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner andlie as you know it ends.” Alyssa had also died alone, refecting one o our most persistentears. We are terried to die by ourseles, let alone and undiscoeredor a long time. The Japanese hae a word or it:
kodokushi
. Translatedloosely, it means “lonely death.” In
Psychology Today,
Proessor Bella
9781451649222text.indd 192/14/13 12:32 PM

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