Advance Praise for How to Get the Death You Want:
“John Abraham’s huge experience with end-of-life issues makes this book a veritable encyclopedia of the subject. There isn’t any aspect which he had not come across, thus addressed here are all the quirky and remote matters that tend to crop up at the close of life’s journey. The book is a clear and fast read, provocative and informative.”
— Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society, author of Final Exit
“Whatever your opinions on the right-to-die movement, this is a book you must have in your library. It will help you unlock the complexities of this controversial subject with a treasure trove of creative insights and practical understanding. Provocative, evocative, and fearless, yet it is very readable with John Abraham’s warmth and humor. Highly recommended!”
— Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, DHL, DD, author of Living When a Loved One Has Died and numerous other best-selling books on death, grieving, and related topics
“Many people do not want to talk about death for a single minute. John has been talking about it, studying it, and writing about it for forty-five years. He knows the subject. In those forty-five years (and I have known John for all forty-five of them) his knowledge has evolved and his passion has grown in a particular direction: wanting all of us to have just as much freedom in dying as we have in living. This, his latest publication, shows us, with all of John’s knowledge and all of his passion, how we can have that freedom. If you want such freedom, you need to read this book and study it.”
– Douglas Smith, M.Div., M.A., M.S., author of The Tao of Dying and The Complete Book of Counseling the Dying and the Grieving and other death-related books
“Any who are nearing the end of life, or who have loved ones with illnesses that may soon end their life, will find a wealth of information in this book. John Abraham brings such practical advice, written in accessible language, to the subject of preparing for dying. His decades of experience as a counselor to those near the end of life, supported by his actually having been with some who chose their own time of dying, makes the information he provides credible and valuable.”
– Richard MacDonald, M.D., Medical Director, Hemlock Society, 1993-2004; Senior Medical Adviser, Final Exit Network, 2005-2015; President, World Federation of Right To Die Societies, 2000-2002
“Freedom of choice, and the right to control one’s own body, continue to be among the greatest struggles of our time. In this book, John Abraham strongly advocates for the right of people to choose a dignified and pain-free ending to the relentless suffering that so often turns the end of life into a prolonged nightmare. Importantly, he gives individuals, and their advocates, the information and tools they will need to navigate the legal and medical systems, and achieve that goal.”
–Lisa Carlson, executive director, Funeral Ethics Organization, co-author of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death
“Episcopal Priest John Abraham has never shied away from controversy. During his years of innovative hospice practices and caring for the dying, he has too often witnessed unwilling patients being forced to go along with doctors who only prolonged their patients’ suffering. This inspired him to speak up for a death with dignity for those who chose not to artificially prolong their painful and hopeless situation.
Abraham has written this book about his experiences and it includes horror stories of those who did not get the death they wanted, and describes his efforts — both inside and outside the clergy — to ensure that government and health professionals listen to the wishes of those who choose a hastened death.
This book is not for the faint of heart. Abraham does not mince words when describing what he has witnessed.
And he gives detailed lists on what to do when dealing with family members, friends, clergy and medical professionals who may not share the reader’s personal choices in their manner of dying. The book also has very helpful lists that will prove useful to anyone who ever has to plan a funeral or settle an estate.
How to Get the Death You Want also explores physician aid in dying in the American states that now allow this, along with the more enlightened European countries who have less stringent requirements than the US. It truly is the ultimate “how to” book for the one process that all of us will one day go through. And it explains in a factual, logical and very clear and direct way the reasons why some of us join right-to-die organizations such as Hemlock, Compassion & Choices and Final Exit Network.
Regardless of the reader’s position on physician aid in dying, the various lists it contains by themselves make this a worthwhile book to own and read, even if only used to ensure that you are treated the way you want during a hospital or nursing home stay.”
–Renée Neumann, Final Exit Network member, Tucson, Arizona
“John Abraham has written a wonderfully inclusive guide to end of life issues. With wit and compassion, he has used his extensive knowledge to provide a comprehensive look at all sides of this topic. Readers will get an understanding of the philosophical and religious issues as well as the legal and practical ones. Anyone interested in knowing what steps they can take to best help themselves get the ‘good death’ we all seek, should get and read this book.”
–Janis Landis, President, Final Exit Network
“John Abraham’s HOW TO GET THE DEATH YOU WANT: A Practical and Moral Guide (Upper Access, paper, $14.95) is exactly as nuts and bolts as it sounds. Abraham, a thanatologist and Episcopal priest, writes extensively about advance directives and how to ensure your wishes are abided by; and then, he tells us the least painful and messy ways to go. It may not be easy to read about these methods, but they affirm the idea expressed by a popular button worn by Abraham and other members of the Final Exit Network — “Let me die like a dog” — because anyone who has ever had to euthanize a beloved pet knows how painless and peaceful death can be. Those of us who fear loss of control of our lives more than we fear death will find Abraham’s book edifying. I even appreciate the phrase he uses instead of assisted suicide; he prefers “deliberate life completion.””
— Judith Newman, New York Times review in article “I’m Dying Up Here: Books on How to Grieve and How to Die”