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Shining the Light on End-of-Life Matters

Suggested resources for further exploration

Synergos, Instituto Xilonen, and Reimagine End of Life are honored to share with you this curated list of suggested resources for additional reading, listening, and watching to deepen your own explorations and reflections on end-of-life matters.


Letting Go

Noted physician and author Atul Gawande explores the question, What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?

In the Hospital, Resisting the Urge to Do More

Jessica Nutik Zitter, a critical care and palliative care physician at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, explores the limits of modern medicine and the challenges of resisting the cultural pressure of “doing everything” when there’s nothing to be done.

A Daughter’s Portrait of Her Mother Through Dementia

Dementia is often ugly, stressful, and isolating; for the photographer Cheryle St. Onge, taking pictures of her mother is a way of expressing happiness, connection, and love.

Finding Our Way: How to Move Beyond Trauma to Serving with Love

On the occasion of Synergos’ 35th anniversary, Founder and Chair Peggy Dulany described how she and others have used personal retreats for changemakers and philanthropists to help overcome our own obstacles and be more effective forces for progress in the world.

Five Things Death Can Teach About Living to the Fullest

Frank Ostaseski gives us five mutually supportive principles, permeated with love, that have served as reliable guides for coping with death.

12 Life Lessons from a Man Who's Seen 12,000 Deaths

Bhairav Nath Shukla has been the manager of Mukti Bhawan, one of the guest houses in Varanasi where people come to die, for 44 years. Here are the powerful recurring life lessons he's learned from those 12,000 deaths.

When Patients Choose to End their Lives

NYT Columnist Jane Brody writes that for some, the decision to die is more complicated than a wish to reduce pain.

When My Time Comes: Conversations About Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End

Renowned radio host and one of the most trusted voices in the nation, DIane Rehm candidly and compassionately addresses the hotly contested right-to-die movement, of which she is one of our most inspiring champions.

Documenting a Death by Euthanasia

Marieke Vervoort was a champion Paralympic athlete with four Paralympic medals, two triathlon world titles, four records for track and more. In 2016, Vervoort, who had a progressive disease, announced her retirement from professional sports and spoke of her desire to undergo euthanasia (NYT)

Broken Open

In a beautifully crafted blend of moving stories, humorous insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir, Elizabeth Lesser, founder of the Omega Institute, offers tools to help us make the choice we all face in times of challenge: Will we be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed? (Amazon description)

Growth After Trauma

Author, researcher and professor Richard Tedeschi describes how negative experiences can bring a recognition of personal strength, the exploration of new possibilities, improved relationships with others, a greater appreciation for life, and spiritual growth.

The Book of Stones

The Book of Stones, by Robert Simmons, is a new edition of the best-selling guide to some of Earth’s most beautiful natural objects. Two introductory chapters detail the authors’ theories about how to work with crystals and stones (Amazon description)

Crystals: Channel the energy of crystals for spiritual transformation by Sadie Kadlec

This modern book about crystals will equip you with all you need to know about more than 200 crystals (Amazon description).

The Crystal Blueprint

Beatrice Singer describes how the crystals we see in so much of our technology have been used over the course of many centuries, and by many different cultures around the world, for healing (Amazon description).

The Crystal Bible

Judy Hall helps readers find a known crystal instantly or identify an unknown crystal in this easy-to-follow directory that includes photographic identification, detailed descriptions, and information on the individual properties of each crystal--including the spiritual, mental and psychological, emotional and physical effects, plus its use in healing (Amazon description).


Let's Talk About Dying

We can't control if we'll die, but we can 'occupy death,' in the words of Peter Saul, an emergency doctor. He asks us to think about the end of our lives -- and to question the modern model of slow, intubated death in hospital. Two big questions can help you start this tough conversation.

The Only Reason We're Alive

Spoken word poet In-Q, accompanied by gorgeous animation, expresses the bittersweetness of life, aging, and death in the context of love like no other.


Available on Netflix, this gripping 24-minute film allows us to witness the wrenching emotions that accompany end-of-life decisions as doctors, patients and families in a hospital ICU face harrowing choices.

Craig Minowa - You Were Born

After Craig Minowa's 2-year-old son Kaidin died in 2002, he began writing music that explored that loss—and fans told him it helped them with their losses. Craig's band Cloud Cult performed a beautiful song, "You Were Born," as part of Oasis 2020: Hope and Possibility.

Surviving Death on Netflix

This docu-series explores personal stories of those who’ve had near-death experiences.

Never Have I Ever on Netflix

This highly successful teen drama series deals with grief and other “real life” issues that aren’t easy to talk about, especially for teens and the adults around them.

Coping With Alzheimer's Together And Apart

Walt and Aline Zerrenner have found a range of coping mechanisms to deal with her memory loss. Join them as they tackle a typical day.


Aging Brains Stay Sharper With Daily Housework and Exercise

Even something as simple as chopping up food on a regular basis can be enough exercise to help protect older people from showing signs of dementia, a new study suggests.

Make End of Life More Humane

Dr. Atul Gawande began researching hospice and end-of-life care options because he says he didn't know how to broach the subject of death with his terminally ill patients. 'Our system of medical care has successfully created a multi-trillion-dollar system for dispensing lottery tickets — the lottery ticket that you could get this longer life,' he says. But he says it has not prepared people for the likelihood that physicians aren't good at preparing patients whose lives will not be prolonged by medical treatment. 'So we've failed to meet the other needs people have, other than just prolonging life.'

Documenting a Death by Euthanasia

Marieke Vervoort was a champion Paralympic athlete with four Paralympic medals, two triathlon world titles, four records for track and more. In 2016, Vervoort, who had a progressive disease, announced her retirement from professional sports and spoke of her desire to undergo euthanasia.

How Is Today?

Created by two young adults who’d each experienced a profound loss, this podcast has the following mission, to “Open the conversation and dust grief off. Help us make speaking about all things grief feel normal. Not taboo.”

Sam Harris Podcast: The Lessons of Death

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Frank Ostaseski about death and dying—and about how the awareness of death can improve our lives in each moment.