Dying: A New Zealand Guide

The only person who ever described the process of death as “very easy” was Simone de Beauvoir, and it’s probably safe to say that the title of her greatest work was indeed intended to be ironic. 

Another author, the Wellington-based Karen McMillan, has teamed up with a couple of others to produce a new book out about how to make death and dying just a little easier. 

Dying: A New Zealand Guide for the Journey is billed as a more-than-useful resource for anyone involved with a terminal illness deal with the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and those caring for them.

Along with Ms McMillan, Peter Fox and Sue Wood authored the text.

The book was produced to enhance the dignity and comfort of all concerned in the dying process, according to the publisher.

Compassionately “written and drawing on years of practical experience in hospice care and counselling, the authors discuss what they and others have found happening in the terminal stages of illness – what the dying person can expect, what others have found important to do. They show how to respond positively and practically to situations that are likely to arise,” the publicity reads.

The book includes practical advice, from palliative care and support therapies to financial considerations.

Mary Schumacher, the chief executive of Hospice New Zealand, has given the work a resounding thumbs-up.

“This is an amazing resource for anyone who is dying and for those caring for them, and is also essential reading for all health professionals,” she writes. “The approach is holistic, the writing sensitive, and the advice practical and easy to follow. It is a book to come back to again and again.”

An interview with McMillan can also be seen here.


David Cohen is a Wellington based journalist and author who often writes about health, ageing, and disability topics.