Death and Dying
Overcome Your Fear of Death
For most people, the dying process, whether it be our own or that of a loved one, is one of the most challenging times of our life. We come face to face with our spiritual nature when someone we love is dying or does die. It brings up the ultimate question: the meaning of life.
We have the opportunity to live life fully in the face of our own death and those we love with an attitude of acceptance and grace. Knowledge of the afterlife can be very helpful in this process.
The process of dying was once part of the process of living. Well into the first part of the 20th Century, several generations of families often resided under the same roof, and the process of dying was part of everyone’s life. Later, illness and death moved out of the home and into the hospital or nursing home. Fortunately, when circumstances allow, caring for the terminally ill today can still be done at home, with the support of hospice care.
The books and videos referenced below are meant to be a resource for you and those you love. These books generally fall into the following categories:
An example of a deathbed vision or deathbed apparition is when a patient who sees a deceased loved one and communicates with the deceased in the presence of a caregiver. These apparitions differ from patients having medication-induced hallucinations. Typically, the patient’s mood will change to one of peace and serenity following such an experience. After the apparition, they will either recover from their illness or they will die. Death following a deathbed apparition differs from a near-death experience (NDE). In the case of the near-death experience, consciousness leaves the body temporarily and then returns to the body which then recovers.
After-death contacts are instances when the spirit of the person who died communicates with the bereaved.
Self-Care in the Grieving Process
These books provide information and support for one’s own grieving process. They discuss such matters as communication with the dying and responding to their needs.
Managing Care for the Dying
The focus of physicians caring for terminally ill patients is constrained by modern medical training, record-keeping, and economics. Medical training is not very helpful in responding to personal, as opposed to the medical, nature of dying. Our current technology places the emphasis on curing, not caring. To admit that treatment is no longer possible is to admit defeat. This is demonstrated by cases in which elderly people who are clearly at the end of their life are resuscitated. For the patient and the family, the enormity of the final transition far outweighs the medical matters. Some of these books offer help to those wanting to learn how to navigate the many issues associated with the dying process.
In 1961 Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist in the United States, in her book, On Death and Dying, gave the public a new and different way of viewing the terminal patient. This landmark book helped pave the way for the hospice care movement to take root and flourish. The following excerpts are from Final Gifts, one of the books listed below:
“Hospice is the main setting in which care of the dying has evolved into a natural, patient-centered approach. This special way of care is based on two principles: the dying people should be able to choose how they spend the time they have left, and that their remaining time should be as peaceful and comfortable as possible.
A hospice nurse is part of an interdisciplinary team—doctor, nurse, social worker, chaplain, and volunteers, with other specialists such as dieticians and physical and respiratory therapists brought in as needed—whose members play two key roles: care of the patient and care of the family. The evolution of home care has meant that many types of equipment and many functions once possible only in medical facilities—professional monitoring of patients’ vital signs and delivery of intravenous pain medications—can be provided at home.”
Organizations on Death and Dying
Video Presentations on Death and Dying
Books and Videos on Death and Dying
Buhlman, William and Susan
Byock, Ira, M.D.
Dying Well: The Prospect for Growth at the End of Life by Ira Byock, M.D., 299 pages (1997)
Ira Byock, M.D. is an award-winning leader in the field of hospice and palliative medicine. He is a past president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Dunn, Hank M.D.
Fenwick, Peter and Elizabeth
Halifax, Joan, Ph.D.
Haraldsson, Erlendur, Ph.D.
James, John and Friedman, Russell
The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses by John W. James and Russell Friedman, 208 pages (1989 – 2017)
James and Friedman are Founders of The Grief Recovery Institute.
The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death by Annie Kagan, 191 pages (2013)
Billy’s ongoing after-death communications take his sister on an unprecedented journey in the wonder of life after death.
Konigsberg, Ruth Davis
Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, M.D.
On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D., 286 pages (1969)
Dr. Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, was a pioneer in near-death studies. This is a landmark book in which she discusses her theory of the five stages of grief, also known as the “Kubler-Ross model.”
MacGregor, Betsy M.D.
Noel, Brook, Ph.D.
Osis, Karlis and Haraldsson, Erlendur Ph.D.
Quill, Timothy M.D.
Schlitz, Marilyn Ph.D.
Willis-Brandon, Carla, Ph.D.
Heavenly Hugs: Comfort, Support, and Hope from the Afterlife by Carla Wills-Brandon, Ph.D., 248 pages (2013)
Dr. Wills-Brandon has published 13 books including a Publisher’s Weekly bestseller. She has collected nearly 2,000 cases of departing visions and visitations from deceased relatives and friends.