No One Has to Die Alone

Preparing for a Meaningful Death

No One Has to Die Alone

Foreword by: Jean Watson
No One Has to Die Alone offers meaningful insights and practical tools to rise above fear and make a difference in how we face the transition of death, dying, and bereavement.

Caring for a terminally ill loved one can be the single biggest challenge of your life. Drawing from her experience sitting with over 500 people as they died and caring for her own terminally ill father, Dr. Lani Leary gently guides caregivers, family, and friends through the difficult transitions of illness, death, and bereavement.

No One Has to Die Alone offers the practical skills, vocabulary, and insights needed to truly address the needs of a dying loved one while caring for yourself through the process. Dr. Leary shows both patient and caregiver how to rise above feelings of fear and isolation to find peace and meaning in each person’s unique end-of-life experience.

Whether used as a reference book to address a particular challenge or read from start to finish, this is a must-read for anyone facing death or the loss of a loved one. You’ll learn:

• how to listen to and support a loved one’s needs;

• what to expect as a loved one declines and the different grieving processes and tasks;

• the key to supporting a grieving child;

• what resources are available for patients and caregivers;

• the lessons of near-death experiences and the value of after-death communications.
  • Atria Books/Beyond Words | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781582703527 | 
  • April 2012
List Price $15.00 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for No One Has to Die Alone includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Lani Leary. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1.  What was your reaction to the introductory story of the death of Lani’s mother? What deaths or losses in your life did it remind you of?

2.  In chapter 1, the author contends that, “Our fears and anxieties are the barriers to compassionate care,” and that those fears stem from one’s attitudes, assumptions, lack of experience, and lack of knowledge. When in your life’s story did you feel that you could not handle some experience of death, dying, or loss? What assumptions or lack of experience impeded you?

3.  “There is no one right way to die” may challenge one of your assumptions. Discuss your “ideal death” and allow each other to describe and explain their preference. 

4.  Chapter 4 describes different roles that a caregiver might adopt. Which role(s) are you most comfortable with? Most trained for? Which would you want to avoid or feel uncomfortable with?

5.  Leary feels strongly that see more

About the Author

Lani Leary
Photograph by Marsha Forsythe

Lani Leary

Dr. Lani Leary has over twenty-five years of experience as a psychotherapist working with chronically ill, dying, and bereaved clients. She served as the director of mental health services at Whitman Walker AIDS clinic, as a professor of Death Studies at George Mason University, and as a researcher at the National Cancer Institute of NIH. Leary also garners wisdom from her personal experience—her mother’s death when she was a child, her father’s death from cancer, her own profound near-death experience—and has sat with over 500 people as they died.

Dr. Leary has spoken nationally at over 250 conferences, writes a bereavement column for, and is the author of Healing Hands an international, bestselling audiotape on therapeutic touch and pain management.