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Facing Death

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0385483322
ISBN-10: 0385483325
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Christine Longaker's experience with death and care of the dying began in 1976 when her husband was diagnosed with acute leukemia at the age of 24. Since his death, she has devoted her life to ease the suffering of those facing death. In a clear and compassionate tone, she identifies the typical fears and struggles experienced by the dying and their families. The core of the book is presented in "Four Tasks of Living and Dying," using the Tibetan Buddhist perspective on death to provide a new framework of meaning that can be applied to every type of caregiving setting. These spiritual principles are universal, enabling readers to find resonance within their own religious traditions.

Longaker introduces a spiritual understanding of life and death and offers guidance in the face of impossible questions: How can I possibly comfort my friend with incurable cancer when I myself am terrified by death? How do I make peace with a dying parent, sibling or spouse? How do I speak to someone in great pain? Every one of us will face many deaths in our lifetimes, including those of loved ones, and eventually we will confront the challenge of our own passing.

Facing Death and Finding Hope will serve as the essential handbook for anyone facing death, helping a loved one, or working in the caregiving field. A book of great depth and grace, it is destined to become a classic in the literature on death and dying. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Christine Longaker's experience with death and care of the dying began in 1976 when her husband was diagnosed with acute leukemia at the age of twenty-four. Since his death, she has devoted her life to ease the suffering of those facing death. In "Facing Death and Finding Hope, she clearly and compassionately identifies the typical fears and struggles experienced by the dying and their families. The core of this book is presented in "Four Tasks of Living and Dying," using the Tibetan Buddhist perspective on death to provide a new framework of meaning. A book of great depth and grace, it is destined to become a classic in the literature on death and dying.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Main Street Books (May 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385483325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385483322
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My sister just died of cancer and spent her last 2 months in hospice care. This book served as my guidebook through the process, taught me how to let my sister go with peace and love and left me in a better state of mind afterwards. It seemed that each time I picked it up, I was at the exact chapter I needed at the time. The chapter where she writes from the viewpoint of the dying person is worth the cost of the book alone! It gave me so much insight into what my sister must be going through and helped to frame all of the rest of my time with her. Longaker's Tibetan Buddhist writing can be heavy going, but she makes her concepts applicable to many different faiths and uses many examples from these faiths throughout the book. The chapter on bereavement is also excellent, offering practical suggestsions based on her own experience (interesting that she uses that term, based on its genesis from the word "bereft," instead of "mourning"). For anyone who has to deal with someone who has faced a long-term disease which erodes the body, her touching poem "You Can Grow Less Beautiful" is so meaningful. In addition to helping readers to deal with the practical aspects of dealing with a loved one's death, she also focuses on how each of us can prepare every day for our own deaths (through meditation and letting go); it will probably take another reading for me to be able to focus on this area, but I look forward to doing so.
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Format: Paperback
This book both inspired me and annoyed me. Some of its contents brought tears to my eyes, partly due to realising that my input into a dear friend's final year was more valuable than I had believed at the time.

The best thing about this book is Christine Longaker's ability to tell her own and others' stories about the highs and lows of the journey toward death. It is very honest about the pitfalls of having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others when faced with mortality. The book is a useful guide for people of any cultural or religious background, despite the author's Buddhist beliefs.

The aspect of the book that frustrated me was the too-frequent repetition of some of the concepts set out in the book. This may be a reflection of the author's Buddhist background, as repetition is often used in Buddhist teachings to reinforce important points. This is only a minor gripe, as I too have Buddhist beliefs and have bought the book anyway, after having read a library copy.

Overall this is a compassionate and realistic overview of a spiritual approach to death and dying that is well worth the outlay. May we all have the determination to live well so that we can create the conditions to die well, which is so important both for us and for those who love us!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is insightful and instructive for those facing death and their caregivers. It provides a reflective and experienced perspective of a spiritually aware and professional caregiver of her own experience and those she has helped and learned from. Caring, kindness, insight from a secular non-religious and spiritual traditions (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism...) in addressing fear, grief, pain, and developing honest, loving, and caring communication. Understanding the depth and gravity of the end of life; (r)establishing connections, healing relationships, and letting go; loving and letting go; and appreciating the deep meaning and spirituality of life. I appreciate the insight, instructions, examples, kindness, and spirituality of this author.
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Format: Hardcover
The power of "confrontation" and the necessity for it as a keystone in the spiritual dimension of bereavement is especially warmly written of by Christine Longaker in this book, which is of stimulating to the general reader and also of great interest for the professional person.
Eugene McGloin/ North West Hospice Rep of Ireland.
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Format: Hardcover
Twenty years ago, Longaker lost her husband to an incurable disease at the age of 25. In the ensuing years she has become internationally known for her pioneering work in the hospice movement. Though she writes from a Buddhist perspective, the advice offered can be adapted to any spiritual tradition. Facing Death and Finding Hope is an excellent guide for hospice volunteers and professionals, yet is well suited for anyone who has questions about how to deal with a dying loved one -- or even how to face one's own death.
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Format: Paperback
Christine Longackers book was the first bbok on deatha nd dying I read when I was looking for help to better care for my patients. It was clear, that she spoke from personal experience and the way she offered her means comes from compassion and love for those who dealt with death on both sides of the bed.

I am deeply thankful to her
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everyone over the age of 65 should read it and those that are an elderly care giver that might be facing death.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very insightful and helpful book for all of us - whether we're preparing for our own death or preparing ourselves to support others on the journey (and we need to do our own work first).
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