Resources for End of Life Planning

As Tidelines editors researched for the Resources for End of Life Planning post, we encountered many excellent resources. A sampling of those is included here. There are books, articles, and websites with information on what to do to prepare for the end of life, on how to start the conversation we all seem to avoid, and on what to do when a loved one dies.

Most of the books are available from The Charleston County Public Library, many in ebook, large print and audiobook formats as well as traditional print. In most instances, the articles are available by clicking on the link. Websites can be accessed by clicking on the web address. For help with books or articles, call the CCPL Main Library at 843-805-6930 or the John’s Island Regional Library at 843-559-1945.


Facing Mortality

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande
Gawande looks at the way modern medicine has changed the experience of dying, what the implications of this change are for each of us, and what we would need to do to change a system that knows a lot about prolonging life but little about tending to death.

Planning for the End of Life

The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life
by Katy Butler
An inspiring, informative, and practical guide to navigating end of life issues by an expert in the field and the author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death
by BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
The first-ever practical, compassionate, and comprehensive guide to dying–and living fully until you do.

Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die
by Gail Rubin
If you need guidance to downsize and organize, Rubin brings a light touch to cleaning out the dark recesses of your drawers and closets. Each of the 100 things on her list will give you ideas for moving excess goods from your home. Because no matter where you’re going, you can’t take it with you!

Talking About Death Won’t Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations
by Kathy Kortes-Miller
Dr. Kortes-Miller’s extensive experience in palliative care and her own personal connection with death and dying are clearly evident in her book and illuminate the shadows surrounding this topic. Learning how to communicate effectively with caregivers, families, healthcare providers and employers is crucial to making death less daunting.

What to Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter
by Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman
When Bateman came to the realization that someday Hopkins, her mother, would die, it became a catalyst to begin recording step-by-step instructions to take her through the days, months, and years of life after loss. The project became a way for mother and daughter to connect with humor, honesty, and gratitude. Now this illustrated manual will leave readers laughing, teary-eyed, and considering their own mother/daughter relationships.

The Whole Death Catalog: A Lively Guide to the Bitter End
by Lynne F. Maxwell
Maxwell explores all facets of death with a variety of facts, anecdotes, practical information, and wisdom in an irreverent yet meticulously researched sourcebook.

After a Death Occurs

Death’s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve
by Sandra Gilbert
This book challenges our perceptions and beliefs of dying and the way we grieve. Weaving together the author’s experiences of grief with passages from literature and history, it presents various perspectives on death.

Let’s Talk About Death: Asking the Questions That Profoundly Change the Way We Live and Die
by Steve Gordon and Irene Kacandes
Experts in end-of-life care tell us that we should talk about death and dying with relatives and friends, but how do we get such conversations off the ground in a society that historically has avoided the topic? This book provides one example of such a conversation. The coauthors take up challenging questions about pain, caregiving, grief, and what comes after death.

The Widower’s Notebook: A Memoir
by Jonathan Santlofer
Written with unexpected humor and great warmth, The Widower’s Notebook is a portrait of a marriage, an account of the complexities of finding oneself single again after losing a spouse, and a story of the enduring power of familial love.

(Book images and summaries are drawn from CCPL catalog and book promotions.)


“After the Dying Things Are Done.” Schrobsdorff, Susanna. Time Magazine, 9/3/2018, Vol. 192 Issue 9/10, p. 30-30.

“A Checklist before Dying.” Donovan, Erin. The Billfold, October 6, 2017. (Click here.)

“A Checklist for Mortals: Preparing for Death’s Arrival.” Dewey-Daniel, Becky. (Click here.)

“Family Communication at the End of Life.” Keeley, Maureen P.  Behavioral Science, Sep 2017, Vol 7 Issue 3, p45. (Click here.)

“How to Plan for End-of-Life Care.” WebMD. (Click here.)

“Many Avoid End-of-Life Care Planning, Study Finds.” Andrews, Michelle. NPR, August 2, 2017. (Click here.)

“Preparing for the end—it’s in the cards.” Modern Healthcare, 5/25/2015, Vol. 45 Issue 21, p0052-0052. 1p.

“This Startup Makes End-of-Life Planning a Piece of Cake.” Matos, Alana. Forbes, February 7, 2018. (Click here.)

“Websites help with end-of-life planning.” The Associated Press, The Denver Post June 22, 2016. (Click here.)

“What to Do When a Loved One Dies.” Julien, Stacy. (Click here.)


“Best online end-of-life planning and document services.” Editorial Staff. (

“End of Life Planning.” Reeves, Zack, and Consumer Affairs Research Team.  (

“A Good Goodbye.” Rubin, Gail. (

“It’s OK to Die.” Williams-Murphy, Monica, and Murphy, Kris. (

Medicare. (

National Alliance for Grieving Children. (

NHDD. “Advanced Care: Planning the Conversation Project.”

Open to Hope. (

“Preparing for Dealing with Death: A Practical Checklist.” Loehnen, Elise. (

“Preparing for Death: A Checklist for the Inevitable.” Sipola, Chris. Financial Samurai. (

“6 Online Resources to Start Advance Care Planning Conversations.” Thomas, Judy (

The United States Social Security Administration. (

Tidelines Editors