Top positive review
94 people found this helpful
on January 26, 2009
I have scanned the market of books about caretakers and the dying process, and to me this is the finest book available on the subject.
It is cut-to-the-bone view of dying with many personal case stories.
The book is in my view not so well-structured. It is divided in sections, but these overlap, and it seems more like a long association about dying, care-taking and the death process. Sometimes the subject in focus is elaborated and sometimes there is a lot of condensed knowledge in a few sentences.
But it doesn't matter.
You are taken on a journey by this book. It contains so much knowledge (years of experience in the field), so much good advice for living more fully, and so many obvious ways to handle the dying process.
The book describes subjects only rarely found in other similar books - how to take care of the body after death (which can be tremendous healing for grievers I must say from personal experience) and the shadow side of caregiving.
I especially like the description of the dissolution of the elements just before death - indeed what it feels like physically to die - experienced from the inside!
It contains many touching stories, and simple, yet profound sentences of great wisdom - summations of experience from Joan's many hours and years on the bedside of dying fellow human beings.
I only read about 20-30 pages a day to have time to think about and absorb the knowledge in the book.
It is stressed again and again that there are no single good way to die. What the dying person experiences can be so very different from what family, friends, and caretakers experience from the outside.
Each chapter is followed by meditations, which can be used on your own or together with a dying person (well, aren't we all!)
And after completing the book - in the end you end up wishing Joan or somebody trained by her could be there for your own death. And that's kind of a compliment... ;-)