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Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying Paperback – February 3, 1997
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From Kirkus Reviews
Impressive insights into the experience of dying, offered by two hospice nurses with a gift for listening. The ``final gifts'' of the title are the comfort and enlightenment offered by the dying to those attending them, and in return, the peace and reassurance offered to the dying by those who hear their needs. Callanan and Kelley describe a phenomenon they term ``Nearing Death Awareness''--which resembles somewhat the near-death experience sometimes reported by individuals revived after being clinically dead. Nearing Death Awareness, however, develops slowly, and the dying person seemingly drifts for a time between two worlds. Attempts by the dying to communicate about this awareness, often expressed in symbolic language or gestures, may be misunderstood by those around them, who dismiss the expressions as mere ``confusion.'' According to the authors, dying messages fall into two categories: descriptions of what they are experiencing (such as the places they see, the presence of others no longer alive, or their knowledge of when death will occur) and requests for what the dying need for a peaceful death (a reconciliation, for instance, or the removal of some barrier to departure). To illustrate, Callanan and Kelley include numerous examples of Nearing Death Awareness from their years of caring for the dying. And they offer practical advice not only to involved family members but also to professional caregivers on how to recognize, understand, and respond to a dying person's messages. No lugubriousness or false cheerfulness here, but acute observations and astute advice on a difficult topic. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A treasure–clear, authentic, responsible, and profoundly moving.” —Sandol Stoddard, author of The Hospice Movement
“Beautifully written, illuminating and reassuring…Final Gifts is truly a gift to us all.” —Judy Tatelbaum, author of The Courage to Grieve
“These richly told stories enable us to respond to the dying in new and authentic ways.” —Ira R. Byock, M.D., author of Dying Well: The Prospect for Growth at the End of Life
“Impressive insights into the experience of dying, offered by two hospice nurses with a gift for listening…They offer practical advice not only to involved family members but also to professional caregivers on how to recognize, understand, and respond to a dying person’s messages.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A hopeful, helpful work…provides a gentle way to think about the unthinkable.”—Publishers Weekly
“A treasure…‘must’ reading for anyone working with the dying, or living with a dying person or life-threatening illness, or thinking about the process.”—Vital Signs
“Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley have garnered a wisdom and sensitivity, and cultivated a keen observation that only the dying could teach.”—Sunrise
“Insightful. Final Gifts is a significant contribution. Experienced hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley shed important light on human experience at the end of life. I highly recommend this helpful book to all who care for the dying.”—Dr. Balfour Mount, Professor of Palliative Medicine, McGill University
“Irrespective of belief system, age or diagnosis of the dying person, Final Gifts conveys the awe and profundity of the moments surrounding death that we all feel.” —Madalon Amenta, R.N., M.D., Public Health Editor of The Hospice Journal
Top customer reviews
I ordered the book and the first pages I opened up to related to how someone who is dying might really know in their soul 'when' that is going to occur (Nearing Death Awareness) and in small ways prepare their loved ones. Individual's stories are brief, but well written and thought provoking. I found myself thinking back to what I'd read over and over again during the next few days.
My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer over a year ago, and subsequently the doctors found she had a separate cancerous tumor (non-metastatic) on her pancreas. She has two aortic anyuersms and doctors really aren't sure why she is still with us, but continue to give her palliative care in the form of chemotherapy and pain meds to extend her life. At the same time, we try to prepare for her departure.
As a caregiver this book is helping me to understand a bit more about what my mother is going through and remind me to be present in all my interactions with her, as even the mundane ones my be Final Gifts. I'm grateful my friend recommended this book to me and I would recommend it to others who are helping a friend or family member who is dying.
Even if you somehow never have to deal first hand with the issues raised in this book, it is well worth the read. Beautifully moving, it provides real life experiences of dying and death, and the implications they provide on what comes next. These nurses are a real inspiration, and gives a completely different view on hospice care.
It helped tremendously when two years after I lost my mother, my Dad was dying of PSP, bed ridden, uncommunicative and not eating. It took away the normal panic of the situation and allowed me to see was was natural and perfectly normal in difficult circumstances, thus allowing me to be a better care giver. Thanks so much ladies.