Being Mortal

Through some source I can no longer remember, I added “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande to my Goodreads list, and snagged it from the library right after they purchased it. I’ve been telling a lot of people about it and thought that I’d share it with a wider audience.

I’m not fantastic with book reviews, but mostly this is an opportunity to encourage people to at least have conversations with their loved ones about how to handle end of life care. In many cultures, discussions of anything related to death and even illness can be very challenging for people.

As my generation has been losing grandparents for a few years now, and some of us are starting to be concerned about our parents aging, I feel that the conversations really need to happen. Even for husband and wife this topic can almost be taboo…and then, in the height of grief, we and those closest to us must make decisions about whether to continue care, go home for hospice, etc. The process of creating a will and having an advanced directive can be great conversation starters for this, and you may be surprised about what you discover about the wishes of your spouse and family members.

The thing is, we don’t know what our end will be, and human nature hopes for the best outcome, especially when there is terminal illness. We hold onto the miracle treatment and put ourselves and our loved ones through surgeries, treatments, and other painful operations. Some work, some don’t. What I love about this book is that it doesn’t try to dictate what we should do. It is an observation from a doctor who has been working with patients for decades and had to confront family illness before writing a book to address it. The stories can be heartbreaking, but the information in this book about options and current trends could save your family a lot of pain and heartache.