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What would you do with one year to live?

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Publishing My First Book: 20 Unexpected Things

Who knew that writing a book would look like this? Recently a friend challenged me to make a list of some of the remarkable things that came out of writing Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind. The past year has been a whirlwind of epic...

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Can a Museum of the Macabre Help You Deal with Death?

I spoke to Joanna Ebenstein, the museum’s creative director, about how the general public might perceive such an exhibit. “People think it’s morbid to talk about death and dying,” she said. “But I feel that thinking that way is morbid in itself.”

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Living A Year As If It Were My Last

“Statistically my time was up at least a year ago. But I’m still here,” wrote my childhood friend Marisa at the top of her Facebook note “25 Random Things About Me.” I had read and re-read her list so many times I’d nearly committed it to memory.

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A Personal Farewell to Shep Nuland, the Man Who Taught Us “How We Die”

Sherwin Nuland was known affectionately as Shep by my family. He and my father were young roommates – physicians-in-training in London in the late 1950s.

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Lessons Learned From Making Your Own Coffin

This beautiful piece about an ailing doctor who makes his own coffin appeared in the New York Times over the weekend. Once again I was struck by the realization that honest reflection on our own death is more about living than about dying.

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My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech

A couple of years ago I blogged regularly about my Year to Live project. The 365 day experiment profoundly changed the way I think about life, even to this day. Every once in a while, something fantastic and year-to-live-y grabs my attention and makes me want to jump up...

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Learning to Enjoy Every Sandwich

We all have some form of magical thinking when it comes to dying. It’s how we attempt to gain control over our fears. My particular brand of magical thinking is that if you eat well, exercise and meditate, you will most likely have a long and healthy...

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When Death Is Real: A Postscript on My Year to Live

What I did not write about was the all-too-real end-of-life journey of my earliest childhood friend Marisa, who was courageously facing metastatic cancer while I went about my hypothetical journey.

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