I wanted to let you know that I think your book is excellent. It contains so much important information, and is so thought provoking. I love all of the links. And, I especially liked the section on shades of gray, as I have been dealing with significant cognitive decline with my mother. I see this book as an incredibly useful resource, and have gone back to re-read sections.
Thank you so much for all of your hard work in writing and publishing this book.
A RETIRED PSYCHOLOGIST
January 25, 2017
Dear Dr. Peterson,
I am delighted to have your new book, “Your Life, Your Death, Your Choice.” There is growing acceptance in our culture that we are going to die and that we can choose to make some choices about the circumstances of our deaths. Your book is a wonderful tool for that endeavor.
The first thing that struck me about the book is that it provides a great number of excellent resources, literally at the click of a key. The links to articles, videos, and documents give instant access to the information your text has just shown is needed. It is such an amazing and easy-to-use resource!
Second, the tone and tenor of your text is marvelous. It is warm and at the same time information-packed. I found myself feeling completely comfortable as I read, and I am sure other readers will experience that too. That’s important: other materials I have read have seemed threatening or condescending or superficial and too wordy.
If I were still teaching, I would use your book as a text in clinical and well as developmental psychology classes. And if I were still in private practice, I would recommend it strongly to many clients. Being retired from both, I am still active in community affairs, and I have already recommended it to several friends, colleagues, and groups. You may be sure that that will continue. I also plan to invite you to speak at my Unitarian Universalist church. I believe that every health care worker and professional, and every individual who wants to manage her or his departure as well as possible, should have your book as a resource.
Thank you for providing a desperately-needed resource for all of us, professionals and lay people alike. And congratulations!
Judith G. Dederick, Ph.D.
Psychologist in New York and New Jersey (retired)
Professor Emerita, Hunter College of the City University of New York
A Financial Planner
I got the book last night and downloaded it on my iPad and it works perfectly. The colors are all there and the links work well. I’ve read about a third of it so far including the linked articles and videos. It is an excellent, thought provoking read. I love the links feature. Some of the stories are tough to watch but I believe are extremely important to view. I lost my mother 8 years ago to cancer and I can relate to many of the stories especially the sense of denial family members have as well as the way physicians address or do not address the issue of dying. It brought back a lot of memories and emotions from that difficult time in my life but I felt better knowing that I wasn’t the only one that had certain thoughts and feelings during the process. I wish I had read it 10 years ago as I truly believe it would have helped me and my family through that time. I’m looking forward to reading the rest this week as well as opening the discussion with both my loved ones and clients. I have no doubt this book will come up in many of our conversations with clients as we often talk of estate planning but less often really dive into the emotional process. Thank you for writing the book and sharing your research on this difficult but important subject.”
I love the videos. They are so real and are a nice change of pace from just reading.
The hyperlinks are awesome. It’s pretty quick to get a link to a podcast or a video.
Consultation with Children of Aging Parents
When we found Mark, we were in a state of constant worry. Our parents were getting more frail, but conversations about wishes at the end of life were unproductive. We did not want our parents to be swept up in the system of aggressive medical care that we had seen. We wanted to honor their wishes for the end of their life, but we had trouble eliciting what those wishes were. Then came Mark. He sat down with our parents and the connection was immediate. He was patient, kind, and understanding. He led us through a series of conversations and exercises designed to understand more about our parents' preferences. We now feel much better equipped to walk down the road ahead. We couldn't recommend Mark more highly.
Consulting with Families by Telephone
Our family, consisting of four couples and one single, in two generations, asked Dr. Mark Peterson to lead us, steer us, nudge us, through a discussion of end-of-life choices and issues. We all got his book, YOUR LIFE, YOUR DEATH, YOUR CHOICE and worked our way through it before our phone meeting with him. We found the options for care and number of choices to be almost intimidating! We needed guidance and are so thankful that Mark worked with us by telephone. It felt daunting to tackle the concepts and decisions on our own.
It was a hard and wonderful process! It would have been so much harder to do without Mark’s expert help. He is an excellent listener, catching nuances in someone’s concerns, finding questions that were waiting to be asked, understanding how to lead us forward in our discussions. Mark was able to explain the nuances—and often the outcomes—of the choices. Mark is a deeply empathetic and compassionate man.
Our first “meeting” was via conference call, since we were in four different places. Our second was via Skype with Mark because our family was gathered in one place. Being all together helped to keep the conversation going after our discussion with Mark and allowed us to better understand each person’s choices and concerns.
We highly recommend that others work with Mark in the way we did. We all feel so good about the conversations that we had with him. We learned so much about ourselves under his guidance and made choices that will help the whole family when the time comes.
--What worked well?
“Having frank discussions about the issues… Mark’s giving many examples. His terrific bibliography, his providing worksheets on the choices in different medical scenarios, what I have to do to prepare for the end of life, the need to discuss with my doctors… This was an amazing course that was so helpful in focusing on the difficult issues and situations. I had never thought about as possibilities at the end of my life. Mark is knowledgeable and has done so much research. He is also generous in his sharing of all this information. The course was a transforming experience.”
“Well presented, made me think more seriously.”
“Mark’s thoughtful comments and examples.”
“Excellent readings – very interesting speaker who presented realities at the end of life. Group dynamics very helpful. I learned from others. Mark’s passion for getting folks to do the personal work surrounding the topic added much.”
--What are you taking back with you into your life?
“Much better clearer understanding of my and xxx end of life wishes. Documents to share with physicians, family and some dear friends as to my wishes.”
“Knowledge and importance of my and other end of life processes.”
“Lots to think about and read. A clear action plan.”
A Medical Doctor's Perspective
I just wanted to thank you again for the Advanced Directives Course. It was so informative and eye opening. I had previously thought I knew a little bit about the issues involved, but I came to realize my knowledge of the nuances and actualities was quite limited.
The amount of research you did to document and supplement your ideas was really astounding. Plus the fact that you really put your heart into the course and were so committed to making sure that your lucky students got the important points and learned what they had to do to take care of themselves.
Thanks so much again for your kindness, concern, compassion and knowledge…”
a Man With an Incurable Progressive Illness
After attending a lecture by Mark Peterson, entitled Avoiding Suffering By Embracing Mortality, we bought Mark’s book, "Your Life, Your Death, Your Choice: How to Have Your Voice to the End of Your Life," for all members of our family and planned a serious conversation about D who was afflicted by a progressively debilitating lung disease caused by the 9/11 attack.
Specifically we wanted to know what did D want – was he clear about what he wanted – could we honor his wishes – could we even understand his wishes – what were our own thoughts about our own end of life – could we even talk about our individual thoughts – how would David feel about hearing what we were thinking about what might be ‘right’ for him – could we listen to him – could we honor his wishes?
It turned out to be one of the most wonderful, intimate times our family had ever had. Certainly the depth of our conversation touched each of us in very profound ways. And, we learned that listening and sharing could lead to a great deal of comfort for us all.
Thank you Mark for giving us the tools we used to reach the place we were in during David’s last days. We will be forever grateful for your insightful work and guidance in working thru the clutter in our minds to get to a place of clarity and love.