“Dying with Ease: A Compassionate Guide for Making Wiser End-of-Life Decisions” by Dr. Jeff Spiess— Death as a Fact of Life

Spiess, Dr. Jeff. “Dying with Ease: A Compassionate Guide for Making Wiser End-of-Life Decisions”,  Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

Death As a Fact of Life

Amos Lassen

Death is one of the topics that we tend to shy away from even though we are well aware that we are all going to die. We just do not want to believe it. Instead of looking at our options and considering the possibilities that can impact our final days, we ignore the idea  of death because we are afraid of it. This increases the pain and grief we experience at the end of life, and also impacts the suffering of those we leave behind.

Dr. Jeff Spiess has cared for the dying for some thirty years and he explains here that if we face the ideas of death and our mortality, we will make wiser decisions and thereby live our lives more fully and with less stress. He usescultural and religious references and poignant narratives to inform, inspire, and challenge “our cognitive and emotional understandings of our own lives and deaths.”

Spiess gives us practical ideas and information about planning ahead, hospice and palliative care and ethical and legal issues that are part of death in this country.

Heanswers such questions such as how to plan for the last part of life, the options against unbearable suffering, what religion and spiritual philosophy say about dying and what it feels like to die. Because of Covid-19, we have all become more aware of death and the fact that we could be gone tomorrow. We are all afraid and now the great unknown seems closer than ever. If we can push those fears aside, we will be able to make smarter decisions and see that fearing death can be dealt with.

COVID-19 has made many of us more aware of our own mortality. By putting the fear of our final days to rest, we can make wiser and more authentic decisions throughout the rest of our lives—however long they may be. Death may be inevitable, but fearing the end-of-life is avoidable.

Spiess finds additional insights in depictions of dying in literature, including sacred texts, music, and popular culture. He gives us information and inspiration and we are challenged to deal with our lives and our deaths.