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Briefly Perfectly Human summary

Alua Arthur

Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real about the End

17 mins
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    Briefly Perfectly Human
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    Death doulas provide invaluable – and daunting – care work.

    Conversations about death are never comfortable, but they’re crucial. And as paradoxical as it might sound, tackling this thorny subject head on actually enhances our quality of life. When we confront our mortality, we become more focused on what truly matters: our values, relationships, and how we manage the time allotted to us on this planet. Thinking and talking about death also helps us to approach the end of our lives gracefully, reducing the fear and anxiety that often accompany the prospect of dying.

    That, in a nutshell, is the conclusion of Alua Arthur, America’s leading death doula or “death companion.” Her journey to becoming a death doula began from a place of personal discontent. Previously working as an attorney, a profession that brought more dissatisfaction than fulfillment, her life changed after a transformative encounter with a terminally ill traveler in Cuba. That meeting taught her the importance of actively shaping one’s life narrative, leading to the foundation of Going with Grace, an organization dedicated to assisting others in planning for their end-of-life stages.

    A crucial part of Arthur’s work is addressing and resolving regrets, allowing individuals to reconcile the life they lived with the life they wished they had. This process is crucial for dying with peace and dignity. The support provided during these times covers practical aspects, such as finding appropriate care, as well as offering a profound emotional connection, providing a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on during times of isolation and despair.

    But as Arthur recognizes, this kind of work isn’t only performed by professionals. In fact, the role of a death doula is something many find themselves performing informally for loved ones. Recognizing the importance of death literacy – understanding how to discuss and handle end-of-life issues – is crucial for living in a community. The skills and knowledge to support those nearing the end of life are invaluable, fostering a community environment where death is acknowledged openly and handled with care and respect. 

    The reality of caring for someone nearing the end of life can feel isolating, despite the shared nature of the experience. The intense personal and emotional challenges can make caregivers feel uniquely alone, underscoring the need for community support and understanding. This support isn’t merely about practical help but also about being present and responsive to the emotional and psychological needs of both the dying and their caregivers. In this Blink, we’ll be looking at how carers can go about this incredibly challenging – and rewarding – task.

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    What is Briefly Perfectly Human about?

    Briefly Perfectly Human (2024) explores the profound impact of confronting and understanding death on leading a more fulfilling and authentic life. Drawing on insights from America’s most visible death doula, it highlights the importance of discussing and preparing for the end of life while encouraging us to embrace mortality as a way to live more fully in the here and now.

    Briefly Perfectly Human Review

    Briefly Perfectly Human (2021) delves into what it means to be human through the lens of a death doula, Alua Arthur. Here's why this book is a gem:

    • Offers a unique perspective on mortality, prompting deep reflections on life's meaning and purpose.
    • Shares profound insights about death, expressing the beauty and importance of embracing our mortality.
    • Through poignant stories and wisdom, it celebrates our shared humanity, making each page thought-provoking and deeply moving.

    Who should read Briefly Perfectly Human?

    • Individuals seeking deeper understanding of life through mortality awareness
    • Caregivers and health professionals interested in end-of-life care
    • Anyone looking for personal growth and transformative perspectives

    About the Author

    Alua Arthur is a death doula, a companion who supports and guides individuals and families through end-of-life experiences. She is the founder of Going with Grace, an organization that offers end-of-life planning services. Arthur’s TED Talk, “Why Thinking About Death Helps You Live a Better Life,” has garnered over 1.5 million views since its release in 2023. Arthur is also a regular guest on platforms like CBS’s “The Doctors” and Disney’s “Limitless” docu-series.

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    Briefly Perfectly Human FAQs 

    What is the main message of Briefly Perfectly Human?

    The essence of Briefly Perfectly Human centers on embracing our mortality to live authentically and purposefully.

    How long does it take to read Briefly Perfectly Human?

    Reading Briefly Perfectly Human takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Briefly Perfectly Human a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Briefly Perfectly Human is a profound exploration of living fully. It's worth reading for its insightful perspective on life and acceptance.

    Who is the author of Briefly Perfectly Human?

    The author of Briefly Perfectly Human is Alua Arthur.

    What to read after Briefly Perfectly Human?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Briefly Perfectly Human, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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