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Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying
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Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  97 reviews

In its loving, fierce specificity, this book on how to die is also a blessedly saccharine-free guide for how to live.”The New York Times

We Are All Future Corpses

Former NEA fellow and Pushcart Prize-winning writer Sallie Tisdale offers a lyrical, thought-provoking, yet practical perspective on death and dying in Advic
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Gallery Books
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  416 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Canadian Reader
As the title of her current book makes clear, Sallie Tisdale is a provocative writer who likes to address uncomfortable (even taboo) subjects that many prefer to avoid. If you can get past the blunt, weirdly funny, and challenging title of this book, you’ll be okay with the contents: an interesting mix of personal stories, practical advice to assist you in preparing for your own death or caring for a dying loved one, details about the actual process of dying (the changes in the body at various s ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everything you always wanted to know about dying, mostly. Interesting, yes. And a great tonic for those of you into denial and delay (you get "D" for effort). It suffered a bit from some repetition, yes. And the part about Tisdale being Buddhist didn't get as much attention as I wished.

But the cool part came in the final chapters, especially about what happens to your body in the final hours, and what happens to your body once it has "crossed" (and gee, I wish there were an exclusive chapter on
Diane Barnes
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I admit the title is what drew me to this book. I continued reading because it is an unsentimental, non-religious, practical look at death and dying. As the author points out, birth and death are the two experiences that every living creature shares, that no one can practice for, and that are the big mysteries of existence.

In case you think this is a depressing book, it is not. Realistic advice on how to control what you can, and make dying easier for yourself and others.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A wonderfully philosophical and yet tongue in cheek reflection on what needs to be done at the end of life. Wonderfully practical, this treatise written by a palliative care nurse and Zen Buddhist, provides authentic information of how to handle a body when it has deceased and explains the person's final symptoms in his/her waning days and what it means. It also is a joyous affirmation on how to live. As someone who volunteers with hospice patients, I found it wonderfully informative and would b ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, this made me think about death even more than I usually do, but I found Tisdale's thoughts on it and on the process of dying to be helpful and sometimes illuminating.

I have no doubt that all of this would resonate even more with someone either suffering from a terminal illness or helping someone else through the last stages of their life, but even from my relatively fortunate angle, this provoked me to consider, and sometimes reconsider, what I think makes a "good death," what role a funer
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was extremely interesting and informative to me at my age of 65. I wish I had read it 5 years ago when my mother was dying, and I think everyone could benefit from the author’s observations and advice.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every word of this book. I listened to the audio version. I kept writing down phrases & I knew very quickly that I'll need to listen to this book again. I'll need to have a copy of the ebook so I can highlight a hundred perfect insights & so I can take advantage of the thorough & specific advice in the two appendices.
The advice is for us, future corpses, but almost more so for us, visitors. The choices are simpler for us as corpses than as helpers. It's not entirely new, but
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a Buddhist physician working in Hospice, I have read many books about death and dying some of which are referenced in this engaging book. Not the dry tome on Advanced Care Planning, or tackling the subject from a particular point of view, Sally Tisdale manages to tackle just about every subject related to death and normalize it. The chapters on what to do with a body and grief are particularly informative and not covered well in other things I have read. Kudos!
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is a great read if you are helping another person through the perfect, near-painless, at peace-with-the-world beautiful death. Or if you want reassurance that death is usually like that. If instead you are by the side of a person fearing death, suffering through some painful last weeks, not at peace with the world or with regrets, this book is unhelpful at best, insufferable at worst. Tilsdale devotes very few words to those sort of dying experiences, brushing over them as exceptions t ...more
Marcus Choo
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Close your eyes. Feel the grass. The silk sheets. The skin of the loving hand. Hear the long-held note. Dance a little. Smell the bread. Imagine that.

As somebody who has spent a not insignificant amount of their time in a dissection room opening up cadavers, I probably am more aware of mortality (at least on a biological sense, in being aware of the horrifying internal clockwork that keeps us alive) than the average person. I think a lot about death but always as an abstraction, at a remove -
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Don't worry about this book being depressing, it is really fantastic and strangely comforting. We are all going to die someday and Tisdale does a great job at laying out the process in a kind and compassionate way. She also talks a lot about what people caring for a dying person should and should not say and do. There is a lot to think about and much to do to prepare in order to make sure your care wishes are followed and it is good to begin while you are in good health. Death doesn't have to be ...more
Rebekah Gamble
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book! I love the 'death positive' movement and the concept of the good death stuff, but there's a layer of a lack of realism there. This book? This book is real. It's honest about 'you do all this planning, but that doesn't mean it's going to turn out how it is in your mind. Here's what we can and can't do; here's how you get as ready as you can for this.' It's such a well balanced read as the author gives you practical pointers on what you need to do to be ready for death as ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Early in the book Sallie Tisdale says, "This is not a book about a Buddhist approach to dying." However, the fact that she is a Buddhist brings Buddhist beliefs and parables into most chapters. Many of the deaths she writes about are of her Buddhist friends or teachers so some Buddhist rituals are described.

That given, Tinsdale does help the reader understand what to expect with the death of a loved one or your own death. Ms. Tinsdale is a nurse who has worked many years in palliative care so h
Tom Rust
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sallie Tillsdale interweaves her experiences with death with practical advice on how to cope for both sides of the ordeal. It flows well, but I might have trouble looking up a certain tidbit. And it brings home I am not anywhere ready to die.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is essential reading for anyone who is mortal. It inspires the reader to live a better life and demystifies so many myths about illness and dying. It is especially helpful if you want to be supportive, and not annoying, to anyone who is ill or dying.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Took a little while to get into but wow am I glad I read this. Near the end, I was often in tears -- from open hearted news, not sadness. A lovely look at death and grief using poetry, science, Buddhist principles and anthropology. So, a book about life.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
i really liked this book. as a middle-aged future corpse and lover of (some) future corpses, i thought it was well done. i especially liked the chapter titled 'communication' and found the appendices helpful.

i recommend to everyone. i also recommend not reading the 'bodies' chapter while eating.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As the title says a practical book (perspective on death and dying), really well written.
I think this book is absolute necessity for everyone and anyone.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: socio-political
I liked this highly practical book. I had hoped for a full chapter on suicide, as opposed to an appendix on assisted death, but there are other books that pick up on that theme.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite book about death so far. It gives you so much practical information, for before, during and after experiencing dying. I cried and laughed, I hope I remember everything that was conveyed to me when I eventually experience the totality of death with my family and friends.
Kathleen Flynn
A heartfelt yet practical book. I recommend it for anyone planning to die, now or in the future.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everyone young and old. Dying is a part of living, and Sallie Tisdale tells us how to do it best. This is not a grim depressing book at all. Tisdale interjects humor, but she mostly educates. I learned so much from her. I wish I had been exposed to it sooner.
Was a little bummed this focused mostly on late-life death and old-age dying. Some helpful points, though.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite simply, one of the best books I have read regarding dying, death, and grief. And I’ve read a lot.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’re going to die some day, you should read this book.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot less practical advice then I thought there would be considering she is also a nurse. It's very well written, but a little too zen poetry for my taste.
Tracey Johnson
Jul 11, 2018 marked it as to-read
Unsure how to remove Star Rating when accidently touched. Dad is reading it.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book by not only the subject, but by the nature of the authors’ perspective. Tisdale has been a nurse who has worked in various areas of nursing including palliative care. Being a nurse who works in critical care myself, I’m always interested in others perspectives on death and the dying process. Tisdale sets out to offer nuanced advice and a bit of how to when it comes to dealing with death and the dying in America and with this book she accomplishes just that.

Tisdale offer
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Probably a 4.5/5 stars, but that's not an option, and I'm feeling gracious this morning.)

A good book to have on hand to pick-up and read a bit, then put down and reflect. I'm not actually grieving so I'm not sure how it would help with that. I am actually dying (generally speaking) and I found it quite useful in that regard. Always be contemplating your death because it could occur at any moment. I thought the writing meandered and repeated at times (hence the 4.5 stars) but it wasn't that both
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a meditation on the one topic nobody wants to think or talk about, especially not in the early stages of their lives: death. It's going to happen to all of us. The question is: are you prepared? Tisdale's answer is that you can prepare yourself, but not in the way you might think.

Through a series of personal stories she illustrates different ways of handling these types of situations. She portrays how one, without any preparation, instinctively responds. Especially when in the pres
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“forgot that I would get old and lose the power that seemed entirely part of me, the power that allowed me to be busy and productive, rear three children, write books in the evening, and still get up and go to work.” 0 likes
“death is present, we are not.” (Many centuries later, Bernard de Fontenelle echoed him. He was a month short of a hundred years old when he died, saying, “I feel nothing except a certain difficulty in continuing to exist.”) Epicurus died at the age of seventy-two from prostatitis, which he found a misery. His attempt at comforting words fails to comfort many people. The idea that there will come a time when I am not is exactly what we fear. The Internet is a handy place to express and fuel our fears; there are many forums available” 0 likes
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