Advice for Future Corpses by Sallie Tisdale [7/10]

One of the recurring morsels of advice artfully provided by Sallie Tisdale, author and palliative nurse and Zen Buddhist, in her remarkable “Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying,” is that when it comes to your death, “all the planning and support and advance directives in the world won’t give you control.” Time and time again she stresses that in this final journey, every individual makes herself anew. And yet, paradoxically, in this book she guides us through falling ill, falling mortally ill, dying, and, for survivors, grieving. Sometimes advice to a carer, sometimes wisdom for those about to die, a mix of tales and instructions and analyses, “Advice for Future Corpses” manages (at least for me it did) pierce the veil of blindness and disregard around death. She writes: “At the moment of death, a thousand tiny things happen. A fading, a flattening out.” And then, tenderly, she describes the body after death. Wonderful writing throughout. I appreciate this isn’t for anyone, but if being honest and being prepared are something you ascribe to, Sallie Tisdale is your beacon.

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