• Outside the box: everyday stories of death, bereavement and life

Outside the box: everyday stories of death, bereavement and life

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ISBN 9781910919637
Cover Price: £21.99
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We live in a society where people struggle to look death in the eye. Death has become the territory of professionals and we rarely see a dead body, unless it is someone very close to us. Death has become hidden, and so more traumatic. This book shows that, if we start talking openly about death, it can change the way we live. In it, people from all walks of life share their experiences and what they have learned from accompanying others. Heartbreaking, angry, questioning and contradictory – even laugh-aloud funny – the stories illuminate, inspire, reassure and inform. They are accompanied by advice and comment from professionals working in end-of-life planning, health, bereavement and funeral care.

Watch the video of the book launch which was created by Liz Rothschild here


Introduction - Liz Rothschild

Getting ready

Making a death plan – Jane Duncan Rogers

Your digital legacy – James Norris

The departure lounge

Preparing for death – Bob Whorton

Counselling at death’s door – Helen Kewell

Far too soon

The death of a child: stillbirth, neonatal and postnatal deaths – Jen Coates, Helen Pepler

The wisdom of children

Helping children and young people through bereavement – Sarah Harris

Deaths in military families – Helen Fisher

Out of the blue

Sudden death and disappearance – Debbie Collins

The shock of death – Dr Pat Johnson


Living and dying with dementia – Hazel May

It’s not all about humans

When a pet dies – Diane James

When it’s time: euthanasia – Sophie Stainer

What is dying like?

 Dying in hospital – Dr Andrew Jenks

What happens at death – Deb Wilkes

Now what?

After the death – Liz Rothschild

The funeral

A good funeral – Fran Hall

Funeral poverty – Rosie Inman-Cook

Grieving and remembering

Life after a death – Dr Marilyn Relf

Death as a teacher

What death teaches us about life – Liz Rothschild

The wider view – Liz Rothschild

Postscript: Covid-19 – Liz Rothschild

‘Nothing can fully prepare us for death, but this fabulous book is as close as we’ll get. More than any other book I’ve read on the subject, and I’ve read many, this gives you directions and permission to have the death you want, either for yourself or for someone you love. The shared stories of death are wise, moving, useful and sometimes funny, and the expert commentaries offer excellent advice without being too prescriptive. Of course, we may not get the death we imagined – it can be a messy and unpredictable business. But this book gave me the sense of joining in and contributing to the most important conversation we may ever have. We are all going to die, but how we do it really matters. So let’s start listening and talking…’
Phil Hammond, NHS doctor, broadcaster, writer and comedian

‘Outside the Box is just that – an entirely different sort of book about dying, death and bereavement. From editor Liz Rothschild’s exquisitely written introduction, through the cornucopia of stories, both disquieting and inspirational, to the lucid and eye-opening contributions of death workers and grief counsellors, I found myself caught ineluctably into a healthy reflection on my own mortality. I exhort all those who are avoidant, bereaved or simply curious in the face of death to avail themselves of Outside the Box – before they or their loved ones are placed inside it.’
Robert A. Neimeyer, Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, editor of Death Studies ‘

Telling stories is fundamental to enabling people to find meaning in life and its losses. By bringing together so many people’s first-hand experiences of death and dying with the wisdom and knowledge of those who work in the “death industry”, this excellent book enables us to prepare better for the end of our own life’s journey and make our own “departures” as good as possible – for us and for those we love and who care for us. It is a book not just for the bereaved and dying but, as the title rightly says, for the living too.’
Julia Samuel, psychotherapist, speaker and author of Grief Works andThis Too Shall Pass ‘

Speaking as one getting ready to go (cancer), I find this book is tailor-made for me. And, unless you’re banking on ducking under the Reaper’s radar – which (sorry) you very definitely won’t – this book is tailor-made for you too. We live in a culture that has a dysfunctional relationship with mortality. Liz Rothschild gently shows how, by taking practical steps to get ready to go, we can dispel much of our terror and do the right thing by our nearest and dearest, who would otherwise inherit a mess. And there’s more. Outside the Box touches on myriad aspects of death, grief and funerals. Further, Liz has recruited excellent experts, and – here the book’s crowning glory – she has gathered stories from all manner of ordinary folk like us. It is difficult to find a readership for books about death. I suspect this one is going to be a breakthrough.’
Charles Cowling, founder of The Good Funeral Guide

Liz Rothschild

Liz Rothschild is a writer, actor, playwright and founding director of Westmill woodland burial ground in Wiltshire. She has been a funeral celebrant for more than 25 years and has run numerous death cafes and a course on preparing for end of life. In 2012 she launched, and continues to curate, the Kicking the Bucket festival in Oxford. She also wrote and performs a one-woman show, Outside the Box – a life show about death, which premiered in 2016 and has toured the UK and US.  Many of these stories come from her audiences.

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Liz Rothschild