Book release, book launch events, and ways to engage with dying and death.
Book Release - 21 Days to Die: A Canadian Guide to End-of-Life
It's book time! The book is available for pre-order at a discount up until October 13 through my awesome publisher at Sumeru. After that it will be widely available on Amazon and through other bookstores. (If you are an anti-Amazoner like me, I hope you take the opportunity to go straight to the publisher to purchase the book, and you will even be rewarded with a 20% discount, but you have to move fast!) For anyone living in my neighbourhood of Roncesvalles in Toronto, I encourage you to show up in person and buy a book straight from me for $25 with no shipping charges at all, and I'll even sit with you to chat a bit and sign it if you like. So lots of options outlined below for getting your hands on this book. Buy a bunch of books and give them away as macabre Christmas, Hanukkah, or birthday presents. They are truly the best love gifts around!
What's this book really all about? This book Some of you may be asking yourself what this book you are reading about is really all about. Here's a summary from the back cover that describes it for you.
Conversations about death don't have to be morbid. Following the 'Positive Death Movement' and public education such as Death Cafes, many of us yearn to speak more openly about dying and death in ways that are more natural and direct.
21 Days to Die was written in that spirit, in the hopes that all Canadians will come to recognize the signs of physical death and the sequence to facilitate necessary conversations and better timely decision-making. The book addresses botht the medical and advance care planning aspects, but also aspect such as the psycho-social needs, grief work, and rites of passage, and so much more.
Written by a social worker and lay Buddhist Chaplain, 21 Days to Die inspires fearlessness in the face of seeing what doesn't want to be seen. under these circumstances the mindfulness practices of being fully present in the moment, and remembering the impermanence of all living things are both universal and calming.
Book Events This book is meant to be read, discussed, and engaged with. As such, it's really good to have other people around to talk to about the ideas in this book. It's meant to be provocative and disrupt your every day life and the trajectory you think you're on. In short, it's meant to remind you of the impermanence of life, and to motivate you to live more urgently and more fully. Here are a few ways to 'meet the author' and learn about the book, in addition to just buying the book and reading it by yourself. There will be more options in the months ahead, but here are the current opportunities.
In Person Drop In Book Purchase and Signing October 14, Thursday, 5:00-8:00pm
In the Village Healing Centre parking lot outdoors, 240 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Dress appropriately to the weather, because I will be there, rain or shine, huddled under an umbrella or snuggled into a warm sweater, whatever is needed. This is a drop in event that is meant to give me a few minutes to say hello to anyone who wants to stop by and catch up a bit. I will have a box of books with me for sale, for $25 cash, no shipping fees. We'll stay outside the whole time, and for anyone who is wondering, yes, I'm double vaccinated and don't have any in person contact with unvaccinated children these days. No registration needed - just show up.
Virtual Book Launch October 19, Tuesday on Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm
Listen to me read sections of the book, answer questions from the audience, and generally celebrate together. I'd love to hear your impressions of the book, and hope to make this an interactive event. You are welcome to join from ANYWHERE, and I hope to get attendees from not only Canada, but the United States and Europe as well. BYOC (Bring Your Own Champaign).
Monthly Discussion with the AIT Dying, Death, and Community group - Thursday on Zoom October 28, 21 Days to Die: Recognizing Death
Cost: Dana donation
Single session discussion on the signs of death, including body, speech, and mind indications. This is a group that meets monthly to discuss all matters of dying and death, including practical, emotional, spiritual, and existential concerns.
Weekly Meditation Class With the Awaken in Toronto group for 4 sessions - Wednesdays on Zoom, 7:30-9:00pm November 3 - 24, Recognizing the Dying Stages
Cost: Dana donation
Includes a review of portions of the book, as well as question and discussion times. Includes 30 minute meditations on traditional Buddhist death practices and meditations.
Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED) - Online November 9, 7:30-9:00pm ET on Zoom
Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) has been legal in Canada since 2016, and many proclaim to be interested in applying for it. However, people tend to overgeneralize it as the best option for limiting suffering at end of life, and too often they wait too long to ask for it.
Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED), on the other hand, is an intervention that is much closer aligned to palliative care and is appropriate in many end-of-life scenarios. I write about VSED in my book, and I'm told it's one of the least known options, and yet one that aligns so well with natural death philosophy that it really should be better understood and considered. Come learn about how choosing the right moment to stop eating and drinking, and having your family on board for this decision, is one of the best ways to achieve a natural and pain-free end-of-life experience.
Recognizing the Final 21 Days of Life - online public education / meditation retreat January 21, 7:30pm ET - January 23, 2022, 4:30pm ET on Zoom
Join me as I share a public education training on recognizing the final stage of dying. I will describe what happens at the body, speech, and mind levels, and I will embed this information in hospice palliative care options in Canada. I will describe many of the terms and interventions unique to end-of-life care, and ensure that you are equipped to make decisions that align with your values.
In addition to learning knowledge about the dying process, participants will be encouraged to do traditional Vajrayana Buddhist meditation practices on dying and death to in an experiential way. Death is so much more real when imagined beforehand.
Participants are encouraged to read the book - 21 Days to Die: The Canadian Guide to End-of-Life, in advance of the weekend. To purchase a copy of the book from the publisher, click here.
Classes will be held on Zoom, and the link will be sent one week prior to the first class. Recordings will be made of the classes, and will be available for one week after the last class.
Class schedule (6 sessions):
Friday - 7:30-9:00pm ET
Saturday - 9:00-10:30am ET, 3:00-4:30pm ET, and 7:30-9:00pm
Advance Praise for 21 Days to Die Still not convinced that you want to read the book? Here are some comments from readers working in the field of hospice palliative care who have already read the book.
"With a wealth of expertise in palliative care, Linda Hochstetler brings knowledge and compassion to a topic that many avoid, yet none of us will escape. Informative and thought-provoking, 21 Days to Die is an important resource that helps us better understand dying and death in Canada." -- Dr. Naheed Dosani, Palliative care physician and health justice activist
"Give yourself the gift of reading 21 Days to Die; it is educational, compassionate and caring. Hochstetler generously shares her wealth of knowledge and experience in a concise book that will be a key tool for Canadians to deepen their understanding of how to care for and be with one another at the end of life." -- Kathy Kortes-Miller, PhD, MSW author of Talking About Death Won't Kill You
"Linda Hochstetler generously shares life-honouring wisdom without beating around the bush, calling on her years of experience supporting the dying & those they leave behind. Linda weaves in ideas & approaches from various people & perspectives, including Buddhism, that can strengthen our capacity to consciously navigate dying & death, particularly in a Canadian context." -- Chase Everett McMurren, MD, CCFP, MDPAC(C), Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto
If you have connections to a group who would like me to talk about the book, or select topics from the book (like navigating the hospice palliative system), please share my contacts. Or maybe you would like to choose this book as the book to read for your book club, and invite me to join your book club and lead the discussion for the evening. Let's get the word out together about recognizing the final 21 days of life!
For more information about my background, please refer to my website - www.lindahochstetler.com or my contact - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview with the Buddhist Door Global
I was interviewed by my publisher, John Negru, for a blog on his website. If you'd like to learn a little bit about my views on end-of-life while waiting for the book, here you go!
A Death Cafe, is not explicitly connect to the book, but it was one of my first forays into public education around dying and death, and I continue to champion the Death Cafe movement as one of the primary opportunities for talking casually about dying and death.
We're holding our 5th virtual Death Cafe on Zoom, and plan to utilize their Breakout Room option to "sit" in small groups and ask each other questions and share stories. There's no agenda and no guarantee of where the conversations will go other than the death theme. There is no fee to attend, and conversations are sure to be one of the most profound and deep experiences of the month. The pandemic experience has increased the urgency to get us talking about death and dying, and facing up to our own mortality.
RSVP is required to receive the password for the gathering and be let in from the waiting room.