We asked longtime FoCo Mag contributor Laura Pritchett to share the why and how behind her brand new book, Making Friends with Death about the one thing no one seems to really want to talk about—how to die.
Okay. Death. Why?
“I’ve been convinced I’m about to die since I was a young child, so death has been a lifelong obsession. But it really ramped up about a decade ago, when I was in a lot of pain. A roaring something was taking over my neck and head and eye muscles—diagnoses were plentiful and colorful, but at one point, the cause ceased to matter. It just felt like I was going to die. And I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to die. I had young children, a writing career that was just taking off, a good life.
I found myself suddenly seeking some wisdoms, and fast. But there was no help. At least, not that I could find that were really practical and applicable. And I hadn’t seen any examples of what felt like “a good death.” I didn’t even know what that would look like for me.
In the end, I was diagnosed with something that wasn’t killing me (any faster than any of life is going to kill me), but by then I was hooked and wanted to finish and publish this book. Because the one thing that this mess taught me was this: It’s absolutely contingent upon us to prepare while we are healthy and calm—so that when the s*** hits the fan, we are better prepared to work with the mess that is mortality.
I read a lot of books, I talked to people. I attended seminars and retreats of various sorts. I talked to those who volunteered in hospice work, I talked to folks who had serious diagnoses, I talked to people who were dying. I talked to my therapist. With all this reading, interviewing, list-making, homework, journaling, therapy-ing and so on, well, I was making some progress in facing my fear. I still don’t wanna die. And sometimes I’m still scared. But I certainly feel more peaceful about going.