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on November 2, 2015
This book is excellent. My mother (a retired RN and hospice nurse) recommended it to me when a friend of mine was terminally ill. Written with love, compassion, and great depth by two hospice nurses, it explores the special ways dying loved ones communicate: what they are feeling, seeing, anticipating. The insight is so helpful for those who are being left behind.

I keep a copy on my bookshelf and another on my kindle; and I have bought dozens of copies over the years to give away.
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on May 7, 2017
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend who said it had greatly helped her as a caregiver during her father's terminal illness. I can see why: written by two hospice nurses with 20 years' experience helping terminally ill patients and their loved ones, it's an insightful and very practical work that takes much of the mystery out of the process of dying and offers advice that, if followed, can significantly improve communication between the dying and their caregivers and/or family members, to the emotional benefit of all concerned. With several seriously ill loved ones in my life right now, I plan to use my copy of this book as a reference and guide when the time comes.
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on September 9, 2016
I purchased and read this book in preparation of my fathers passing. What I learned turned out to be invaluable. I feel I was able to truly able to connect with my dad in the way and at the time he needed to be able to say goodbye.

If you're at the place where you're looking for insight and information on this subject, get this book.
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on March 15, 2017
Wonderful book for helping understand the many stages a patient goes through while suffering a terminal illness. It really was an interesting read and I found it quite inspiring. I highly recommend this book.
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on September 7, 2016
This helped me after the death of my father. Now my aunt is fighting cancer. This book not only helps loved ones left behind but I think it can help anyone feel more at ease (if that is possible) facing death. You get clarity that your loved one is always with you.
This book came as expected.
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on November 21, 2015
Fantastic book. My father-in-law was dying and this book truly woke me up to actively listen to what he was saying during the death process. At one point he asked me what his next assignment would be. At another point asked when his dad (deceased) was going to pick him up to go to the ballgame. We have to realize that these comments aren't just made because they don't know what is going on because they honestly do. They are in their own reality that we don't understand and won't until it's our time! I truly felt this opened my eyes to a small part of his experience. I was given a special gift by reading this book.
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on April 5, 2017
Excellent read for those who have loved ones nearing the end. Wish I had gotten to read this much earlier. Now I give it to family & friends. Makes it easier to understand some of the journey. Good to look up end of life signs also.
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on September 16, 2015
For anyone who is a caregiver to a parent or anyone else, this book is unbelievable. My husband and I took care of my mother and unfortunately no one told us about this book until after she passed away. Since we don't know when our loved ones will pass, you should read this as soon as possible so that you know the wonderful signs God gives us through a dying person. It is unbelievable what they can tell us while they are still alive. I highly recommend this book. The hospice nurses who wrote this are such wonderful, kind people! The wonderful nurses that helped take care of my mother were incredible. Thank you Hospice!
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on October 5, 2017
This is a great book for either a caregiver of someone in their last days or a health care worker. I gained much insight in how to abide with someone through their last days as well as how to care in general for someone with grave illness.
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on September 15, 2011
I can still hear my father's voice pleading with me, "Kim, pull the car around! I've gotta go!" His frustration was palpable as he kept saying this over and over to me. He was deliriously sick, and you could just feel his struggle. He was in the hospital, which is where he'd been spending a great deal of time, and I thought, of course, that he was desperately trying to break out of the hospital and get back home. Not that I could blame him, but he was so sick that the idea of leaving the hospital was simply unthinkable. I had no idea that he was really trying to tell me something entirely different. Then a couple of weeks later, my dad died. And it wasn't until a year later, while I was reading an amazing book called "Final Gifts", that I finally understood what he was so urgently trying to say - I'm dying, Kim.

"Final Gifts" is one of the most fascinating and important books I've ever read. It's about the journey of dying. This insightful book was written by two hospice nurses, Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley, who introduce us to the unique way people communicate their imminent deaths. Usually in symbolic language, the dying will tell us when their time is near, or some will ask for help to facilitate a peaceful journey. According to Callanan and Kelley, the most common way for the dying to explain the onset of death is to talk about taking a trip, like my dad did. They understand what's happening to them, but they express the next stage as a journey using a familiar mode of transport. The authors detail story after story of hospice patients who tell their families about their upcoming passages by saying, typically, they need to find their passports, or get in a ticket line, or find a map. Or like my dad, pull the car around. Expressions of movement and change characterize the stories throughout.

Callanan and Kelley discovered that their hospice patients had many similar experiences. A central phenomenon is what they call "nearing death awareness," which shouldn't be confused with a "near-death experience." They explain that nearing death awareness is when "the dying person remains inside the body, but at the same time becomes aware of a dimension that lies beyond. Rather than switching abruptly from one world to another, dying people apparently drift between the two." In "Final Gifts", the writers use anecdotes to illustrate the common patterns they witnessed among hospice patients. Each and every story is special and teaches us how to be there - really be there - for someone who's dying. It is our final gift. There is no greater offering than making those last days peacefully meaningful.

What makes "Final Gifts" so exceptional is that it guides us through a critical time. It helps us to be at our best to support someone we love during a time that is understood to be, and treated as, scary and uncertain. We can be the bridge from fear and anxiety to peace and calm. "Final Gifts" instructs on how to pick up the cues, and effectively participate, whether it's just listening or helping a dying man unravel an unresolved issue.

My dad didn't want to leave this world without telling me that he needed to go -- it was his time. If I had understood what he was trying to say, then it might've brought my dad untold peace and comfort. Instead, he finally said to me, "Kim, call the dispatcher. Tell him I'm gonna be late."

My dad hated being late.
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