Dying With Dad
"...a kind of end-of-life Welcome Wagon gift package of words."
- by Yvonne Caputo
Do you struggle to broach the topic of end-of-life care with your adult children or your aging parents?
Do you wish you had a practical handbook for initiating those tough conversations?
Do you need a nudge to think about how to live out your final days?
Winner, 2022 Maincrest Media Book Award (Death and Dying)
Award-Winning Author of Flying With Dad
Finalist: 2020 Best Book Awards
American Book Fest, Health: Aging/50+
“How could you let your father die when he could have been saved? Even if it’s what he wanted, wasn’t that hard?”
When Yvonne Caputo wrote her first book, Flying with Dad, she was surprised to find that readers had questions—not about her father’s adventures in World War II, but about how, years later, she was brave enough to stop paramedics from reviving him to respect his Do Not Resuscitate order.
In Dying with Dad, Yvonne’s goal is to share the joy she felt when her father died. Not because he died, but because at the end of his life he was treated exactly the way he’d wanted. It was possible because she dared to have a heart-to-heart conversation with him about his wishes for end-of-life experiences before it was too late.
She started with the Five Wishes document, a guide to conversations with family and doctors about how you want to be treated if you or a loved one become seriously ill. A living will and trust takes care of what happens after death, but it doesn’t cover things beyond medical treatment. Like the intimate, emotional, and spiritual things we really should talk about with our families. Yvonne Caputo dared to have a heart-to-heart conversation with her father, guided by the Five Wishes document, about what he wanted for his end-of-life experiences. Advance directives or a living will and trust don’t cover things beyond medical treatment—the intimate, emotional, and spiritual things we should talk about with our families.
What You’ll Learn in Dying with Dad:
- It’s possible to have an end-of-life conversation about what the dying desire
- There are practical tools like the Five Wishes that provide a framework for these important conversations
- How to transform a conversation about death into an action plan for how we want to live our final days, and how we want to die.
Dying with Dad is a book to buy now, not when death is already at the door. If you or your loved ones are aging or preparing for death, this book will help you have the conversation that matters, when it matters, before it’s too late.
What to Expect
Our Universal destiny
Books and Belonging
Chicks and Chicken Dinner
Mess Up the Fishing
The Great Divide
The Magnificent Mark
Learning To Ski
The Calling: Therapy Leads Me To Another Career
Learning to Listen
Mirroring and Meaning
Mom Didn’t Say
Live Until You Die
Walking with Winnie
A Gift to the Family
There is No Try
Onward: Fear Not
My Five Wishes
Passing the Five Wishes On
Notes from Peter and Kat
Winter’s Lesson: Schooling And Skinny Skis
In Dying with Dad (excerpt)
Each of us will die. It’s a fact that causes fear and trepidation to the point that people won’t talk about it.
‘The elephant in the room’ is a widely accepted idiom. If something is embarrassing, uncomfortable, or difficult to confront, it is more likely to become the elephant in the room—that which everyone knows is there, but no one acknowledges.
In many homes, death is the elephant in the room. People arrange the furniture around its mass, vacuum under its low-slung belly, and avoid its inquisitive trunk. They close their ears to its trumpeting call and avoid staring at the expanse of gray.
In the nineteenth century, people died at home. Family members took care of the body of their loved one. They washed and positioned the body, lovingly combed their loved one’s hair, and chose favorite clothing. Friends and relatives would sit with the body until the coffin and grave were prepared.
Medicine and medical practice have had a great impact on death and dying. Death, now, most often happens in hospitals or nursing homes. Medical professionals take care of the living body while it is dying, and morticians take over after death. The personalized connection between the dying and their home and family is largely lost.
There are exceptions. Hospice and palliative care teams can keep medical details in mind but focus upon what the dying desire, and some services are available to support end-of-life conversations.
I sometimes wonder if I am an exception; as a girl I was surrounded by death. Before I was thirty, I could list seventeen family members and friends who’d passed away. Grandparents, including the grandmother who had lived with us for a time and passed when I was a sophomore in college. I remember being relieved—her health and mental health issues had burdened us as well. My mother’s brother Mac died in his late fifties from a massive heart attack. He left me fifty dollars in his will to go out and have fun on him. There were other elderly relatives, too, all whose deaths fit into what I knew was the fabric of life. Other deaths, though, were like gaping tears in that fabric.
"...a well written and compassionate nudge to get us talking with our friends and family about how we want to live our final days, how we want to die, and how they can help us do that.”
Author of The Picture Wall: One Woman's Story of Being (His) (Her) Their Mother
“Dying With Dad offers some practical tools to help transform a conversation about death into a tangible plan that respectfully invites the participation of our loved ones and honours their wishes in every aspect of not only dying but living as well."
Author of the award-winning In the Thick of It: Mastering the Art of Leading from the Middle
“This book will fill your heart with love and your eyes with tears as you unpack your personal thoughts on what it means to die with dignity and the gift that it can bring to those you love most.”
Author of Color Today Pretty: An Inspirational Guide to Living a Life in Perspective
“This book brought respect and dignity to my future thoughts for myself and for others. Yvonne Caputo brought together a kind of end-of-life Welcome Wagon gift package of words that are going to serve me well in the way I listen to the truth of others and speak my own."
Author of Listen for Water
“Yvonne Caputo’s Dying with Dad provides a gift to every reader that shows, in a very real and practical sense, how to take good care of the people we love the most. Her example of using Five Wishes with her dad shows this is something that is within reach for all of us.”
President, Aging with Dignity
"Caputo’s prose is crisp and insightful, and she has a gift for phrasing things in a way that offers subtly new perspectives on difficult ideas."