Dear Life By Rachel Clarke

Dear Life is a touching, poetically written book about death. The author, Rachel Clarke, is a palliative care doctor who stresses the importance of compassion and connection during the final stage of life. Death is a unique human experience for each person; but as humans we have the choice to decide how we respond to this fate of being mortal. 

RATING: 4.7/5



  • “Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver
  • “We’re the one animal that knows that we’re going to die, and yet we carry on paying our mortgages, doing our jobs, moving about, behaving as though there’s eternity.” -Dennis Potter
  • Maybe you only really appreciate the joy of being alive when you accept that all of it, every single one of your experiences, is destined to be lost. That’s when you savor it. Maybe death makes us love life.
  • Even among healthy patients, chest compressions and electric shocks – the mainstay of CPR in adults – are often unsuccessful. Only one in five people who arrest while in the hospital survive to discharge. 
  • “God does play dice with the universe. All the evidence points to him being an inveterate gambler, who throws the dice in every possible occasion.” -Stephen Hawking
  • Life is short and impossibly sweet and forever hangs in the balance. A morning’s blue skies may frame an afternoon’s carnage.
  • The word ‘doctor’ originates from the Latin docere, meaning ‘to teach’, while ‘patient’, from the Latin patiens, means ‘one who suffers’.
  • Neurobiological research shows that our perception of pain is highly dependent on the context in which it occurs and can bear little relationship to the extent of any wounds. For example, severe burn patients undergoing treatments or physiotherapy report only a fraction of their pain when distracted with a virtual-reality-style video game during the procedure. 
  • There is always a spark a beauty or significance to be found in the life you have left, even – perhaps especially – at its end.
  • “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard
  • From the briefest flash of a mayfly in the summer to the slow grind of a glacier etching valleys from rock, everything that lives will die, everything is doomed to disappear. No matter how beautiful, no matter how loved, nothing stands still, nothing endures. Impermanence is our only constant.

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You can also check out Being Mortal By Atul Gawande

5 thoughts on “Dear Life By Rachel Clarke

  1. I stumbled across your blog and am fascinated by your story and this project. It’s such a smart idea! I’ve really enjoyed reading these. I was a non-fiction reader myself until last year where I challenged myself to read 100 classics (still very much in progress!). But it’s nice to be able to see what lessons these books advocate.

    Out of curiosity, what do you do with all of this information? You must be learning quite a bit about psychology and human behavior from these books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comment! I appreciate the feedback. 100 books is a big goal, I’m impressed you got this! But this all originated out of me not remembering what I had read and wanted something to look back on/show for what I’ve completed. I actually go back to these posts because I find myself telling them in conversation or just sharing them with friends because I think they are relatable. I personally get more out of books because of this blog, taking notes etc.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Funny you say that – when I found your blog, I noticed that I had read a few of the books you had and went straight to those as a refresher. I can imagine it’s nice to have a database to fall back on. It’d be really interesting if you wrote something on the lessons you hear over and over and your thoughts on them since I’d imagine there’s a little bit of overlap.

        Liked by 3 people

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