Nursing Book Club
Advice for Future Corpses: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying by Sallie Tisdale
Taking direct aim at a taboo topic
In many ways, Advice for Future Corpses is the most important book I’ve read in a very long time. Almost poetic, this book is too valuable to ignore.
Author Sallie Tisdale is an Oregon-based nurse practitioner who has worked in hospice and oncology. She has had a life-long familiarity with death. Her interest began in childhood with the loss of pets and extended to her adult years with the loss of people close to her (family members, teachers and friends).
A Zen Buddhist, she faces mortality with a clear-eyed practicality where most of us look away or pretend that examining it too closely may cause Death to look for us.
Tisdale’s examination of death and end of life practices includes an examination of the physiological and psychological events of fatal illness as well as the emotional journey of family members. She explains the starts and stops and what the accompanying emotions may be, as well as the tougher questions of who can help, who cannot and what happens to families when one member has challenging medical needs and not everyone is equally able to be there.