Happier Endings

A Meditation on Life and Death

Happier Endings

We are all going to die, but some of us will die better.

As a spiritual teacher based in the Washington, D.C., area, Erica Brown has attracted a strong following among those looking for practical wisdom based on the world’s most revered and treasured religious texts. Here she shares stories and ref lections on one of life’s most essential topics: how we pack each day with love and meaning precisely because we will not live forever. Erica helps us confront our fears about death—for ourselves and our loved ones—and demonstrates how the last days of life can be among the most inspiring if we learn to leave a legacy of words and values, to forgive and apologize, and to make important decisions about our last hours.

Praised by New York Times columnist David Brooks for combining “extreme empathy with extreme tough-mindedness,” Erica Brown is a leading religious scholar with a sense of humor and a gift for storytelling. In Happier Endings, she meets people of all faiths who deal with death in enlightening ways, including a mother who arranged for her children to sprinkle her ashes on a favorite ski slope, an ex-nun who prepares people to die, a group of women who ritually wash the dead, and a family whose grandfather’s Ethical will is read by his survivors each year.

Brown leads readers on an emotional journey to prepare for and accept death, drawing on the wisdom found in many spiritual traditions. The crucial step, Brown writes, is becoming comfortable discussing death—and not just in the abstract. This kind of honesty allows for important conversations, from financial wills to last words that reinforce to those you love most what matters most to you.

After reading Happier Endings, you will have a greater understanding of what a good death can be and what a life well lived looks like.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451649222 | 
  • April 2013


Erica Brown on Finding Humor in Writing a Book on Death

Spiritual teacher, Erica Brown, on her experiences in writing a book about how to tie up loose ends and die better.

Articles About This Book


Posted on Tips on Life & Love

Posted by Kristy Ojala

By Erica Brown Author of Happier Endings There is an art to the consolation note, the sympathy card, the letter marking loss and sadness—even if you cannot share in the sadness because the person who died is an absolute stranger. I find that what...

About the Author

Erica Brown

Dr. Erica Brown is an educator and the author of ten books, mostly on the themes of spirituality and leadership. She lives with her husband, four children and two dogs just outside of Washington, DC.