Funeral Planning Books

Apr 9, 2012 | 4 comments

When it comes to end-of-life and funeral planning issues, what books do you turn to? I’ve got a bunch of great resources on my bookshelf. Here are a few recommendations for your consideration, with direct links to Amazon:

Jane Brody, weekly personal health columnist for The New York Times, has written prolifically on living a healthy lifestyle. As she so practically notes in the preface to her book, “…even the healthiest of lives eventually must come to an end. In this book I hope to help my readers make that end – for themselves and for those they love – as peaceful and, yes, as enjoyable as it can be.”

The full title pretty much says it all: Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life. This book is a wonderful resource that covers many planning areas in a warm, thoughtful tone. Throughout, Brody provides great insights on advance directives, funeral planning, care giving, hospice and palliative care, spiritual care, organ and body donations, and so much more. (hardback and Kindle)Party of Your Life cover

The Party of Your Life: Get the Funeral You Want by Planning It Yourself by Erika Dillman is a relentlessly upbeat guide to making your send-off a memorable celebration. The book provides guidance on details for the funeral of the future: a major party! She encourages individuals to write down all the desired elements, from themes and settings to music and readings. With snappy chapter titles and helpful how-to tips, Dillman encourages establishing a funeral box, an official funeral website, and a posse to carry out your funeral plans. (paperback)

GRAVE reflections by funeral directors Gloria and Louis Salazar provides well-grounded information about funeral planning, burial versus cremation, legal issues surrounding death, prearrangement and insurance, and more. In a nice finishing touch, both authors wrote their own obituaries and funeral plans. (Kindle, paperback through

While this is not available on Amazon, Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook by Stephanie West Allen is a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of planning. It’s a complete funeral or memorial service designing workshop in a book. Stephanie founded the October 30 holiday, Create a Great Funeral Day, now going into its 13th year.

Last but not least, there’s my book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die by Gail Rubin. It covers the gamut with a light touch, from death’s door to “what if” questions. A Good Goodbye is a great resource minus the morbidity that won Best of Show in the 2011 New Mexico Book Awards. (paperback and ebook)

A Good Goodbye