“Beautiful” and “Uplifting”

A collection of creative nonfiction essays about end-of-life issues. How depressing, a friend said.

I thought the same thing until I read one and then another and then another.

Sad, yes. But depressing? No. "Twelve Breaths a Minute," a book commissioned by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation as part of its ongoing end-of-life initiative, is uplifting.

The 23 essays, chosen from among more than 400 submissions, also are beautifully written. The writers are the sons, daughters and parents who have had to deal with the deaths of family, as well as members of the medical profession who have had to balance the oath to save lives with the desires of a patient to die without extraordinary medical measures. Sometimes they are both. – Pohla Smith