Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death

Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death

by Erica Brown


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Called “cathartic” by The Wall Street Journal, this wise and affirming book helps you accept and prepare for death through important conversations about what matters most.

“Extreme empathy with extreme tough-mindedness.” That’s how David Brooks, of The New York Times, describes Erica Brown. In Happier Endings, she helps us confront our fears about death—for ourselves and our loved ones—and demonstrates how the last days of life can be among the most inspiring if we learn to leave a legacy of words and values, to forgive and apologize, and to make important decisions.

Along the way, she introduces us to people of all faiths who deal with death in enlightening ways, including a mother who arranged for her children to sprinkle her ashes on a favorite ski slope; an ex-nun who prepares people to die; a group of women who ritually wash their dead; and a family whose grandfather’s ethical will is read by his survivors each year. After reading Happier Endings, you will have a greater understanding of what a good death can be and what a life well lived looks like.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451649239
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Dr. Erica Brown is an educator and the author of ten books, mostly on the themes of spirituality and leadership. She lives with her husband, four children and two dogs just outside of Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Preface Overcoming the Fear of Death 1

Chapter 1 The Business of Death 19

Chapter 2 Pondering the Afterlife 49

Chapter 3 Sanctifying the Body in Death 77

Chapter 4 Death, as an Escape 117

Chapter 5 Denial, Resignation, Inspiration 149

Chapter 6 A Different Bucket List 177

Chapter 7 Closing Words 211

Chapter 8 The Last Apology 241

Chapter 9 Learning from Grief 261

Chapter 10 Using Death, to Change Your Life 289

Epilogue 319

Appendix Writing an Ethical Will 321

Acknowledgments 329

Notes 331

What People are Saying About This

David Brooks

“Brown has what many people are looking for these days….conviction.”

Bruce Feiler

Erica Brown is the teacher we all want and the guide we all need. Happier Endings is an elegant portrait of the most powerful part of being human: how we live. From the wisdom of the Bible to the frontier of the Internet, this important book makes the persuasive case that the final years of life are among the most critical – and the most meaningful. Bravo.

Daniel Silva

"Erica Brown is wise and brilliant, with a refreshing sense of humor and an enriching perspective on some of life's great challenges. Readers will find comfort and sustenance in her words.

David Gregory

"Erica Brown has a unique voice. A woman of faith, she speaks to everyone searching for God and greater meaning. In Happier Endings, Erica explores our attitudes toward death by helping us identify what it means to be alive. She inspires and she reminds us what is most important before we say goodbye.

Customer Reviews