I want to share a reading list of the books about death and dying that I find worthwhile, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching.
Why? I'm writing a new handful of songs right now and they all have to do with dying.
Why now? In October 2011, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 3c primary peritoneal carcinosarcoma. In layman's terms, ovarian cancer. The day she found out, I moved home to be her primary caregiver. I didn't return to my "normal" life (whatever that is) until June 2013. That's when the de-bulking surgery, 12 rounds of front-line chemo, 9 rounds of maintenance chemo were enough to keep her in remission. She's alive. She's thriving. For now.
"to live is just to learn to really die"
- a line from my song "The Actress" on the Telephone Game album -
This collection of books and articles is certainly not a “best of” list, and is in no particular order. From each piece, at least one sentence helped me on my own journey of dealing with disease and dying over these last two years. What books or articles would you add to this list? What has helped you get through your tough times? Let me know, in the comments below.
Christopher Hitchens, Mortality
Jamaica Kincaid, My Brother
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss
Ed. Nell Casey, Uncertain Inheritance, Writers on Caring for Family
William Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life
From the Atlantic: How Not to Die, by Jonathan Rauch
From the New Yorker: Letting Go, by Atul Gawande