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Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life Paperback – December 24, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

At some point in our lives, many of us will find ourselves sitting at the bedside of a dying loved one. Thanks to Megory Anderson's Sacred Dying, we now have one of the most important and eloquent books available on tending to the dying. Anderson offers readers rituals and interactions to soothe and support a dying person as he or she crosses over into death. Even in situations where there is a specific religious ritual at hand--such as summoning a priest for the last sacrament--there are still many hours (and even days) that can be used to make a dying person feel spiritually and physically comforted and prepared.

As the founder of the Sacred Dying Foundation in San Francisco, Anderson provides real-life examples and strong storytelling to cover all aspects of dying, including how to help someone let go of "unfinished business" and how to massage a dying person to help them let go of their body. Anderson lists the tools for rituals (such as holy water, incense, and markers and paper for writing final thoughts). She even devotes an entire chapter to music--a powerful tool in healing and transcendence. Anderson offers a lovely book that covers everything you need to know to help a dying person feel deeply cared for, whether you choose to read poems aloud from the final chapters or simply sit in silence, holding the hand of a loved one. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Anderson, a theologian who founded the Sacred Dying Foundation, has written a guide for people facing the death of a loved one. To that end, she relates stories of her work and discusses rituals that help the dying find peace and the survivors to go on with their lives. These rituals include prayer, creating sacred space, using music, listening, and dealing with the past. Quotations from Christian and Jewish sources as well as The Tibetan Book of the Dead illuminate the text. Not just a guide, this is also a useful reference work: the appendix contains prayers and poems about dying from a variety of traditions, and the bibliography, which is over 20 pages long, covers such categories as general works, care giving and hospice, rituals, and afterlife as well as the various religious traditions. Recommended especially for public libraries and patrons wanting resources for action and solace; other libraries and resource centers may purchase accordingly. Naomi E. Hafter, Broward Cty. P.L., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Rev and Expanded ed. edition (December 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569244340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569244340
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of the books I recommend as a "must read" for all human beings! I only wish I had found this book years ago when I was helping a loved one navigate her own death. I was so ill equipped, mentally and emotionally. I would have done things so differently-- this book has made me view the dying process (and the possibilities for making it incredibly special) in a whole new way. Megory Anderson is the modern day Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. I now give this book to friends on a regular basis.
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Format: Hardcover
Sacred Dying offers that hard to find balance: compassionate advice on a very emotional topic written in a clear, clean and easy to understand style. The stories of patients and families are very moving and uplifting. There are lots of practical guidelines for those of all faiths to make the end of life experience what it should be - beautiful!
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By A Customer on March 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Megory Anderson has provided us with a beautiful, thoughtful book that will be a comfort to many people. It is accessible without being simplified, and intelligent without being pretentious.
I highly recommend Sacred Dying to anyone who is in need of it.
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Format: Hardcover
As one exposed to multitudes of books since the age of 5 or 6, I am now much less impressed with content or style than with the impact of a text on human persons and human lives. Having labored with Megory on the final edit of this book, I found that it held a very human size and scope in my imagination, and for some reason, I resisted writing a review until I had an opportunity to watch it 'work.' Recommending it to friends who were dealing with painful end-of-life transitions, and seeing the power it wielded for those grieving, I can now speak to its ability to do the 'work' for which it was created.
"Sacred Dying"is not a book to help you 'figure-it-out,' or gain the kind of facile comfort that comes with glib metaphors or promises of other-worldly realms. It is a testament of stories, and ways of being and doing in the presence of those near the end of life. It will make you smile; it will make you cry; but above all, it will make you know that in your love for the dying, you can help create the sacred space that is all about life and human connection.
Thomas Moore, in his introduction, remarks,"This is one book to keep at hand, because you can be sure that one day you will need it." I can only add that on the day you need it, you can rest assured that it will do its work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, excellent book. Can't say enough good about it. Describes rituals Megory Anderson has created in the most unlikely of places. Brought tears to my eyes in places. You may not follow exactly the rituals that Megory Anderson creates, but it will give you permission to create your own, valid for your family and culture, and not imposed. It is possible to humanize and make sacred a death in a hospital, nursing home, or even intensive care-- even when the dying person has a roommate. Opened my eyes to new possibilities. part of the movement to reclaim death as a sacred rite of passage, not just a hospital-dominated a technological flail.
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Format: Hardcover
In Western societies today, the amazing feats of technology have led to a view of death as a medical failure, rather than an absolute spiritual transition. Ms. Anderson helps us to see how we can make this transition into the unknown in a spiritualized and sacred way, no matter what our belief system may be.
Ms. Anderson has done amazing work in her life and in this book. Her passionate style and use of personal anecdotes, creates a wonderful synthesis of exposition and storytelling.
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By A Customer on December 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Megory seeks to bring meaning to the end of life. She encourages the reader to make dying a sacred event. One way she creates this sacredness is with rituals. Megory includes in her book a wide range of Scripture, Sacred Texts, and Poetry to aid in creating this sacredness of space and participants. This is a good resource to have on the shelf when we have the opportunity to help others embrace the end of life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be the most helpful of Megory Anderson's books. It is a accesible and based on Ms. Anderson's experience. I found it inspirational and practical, my favorite combination. It is a great primer and also I think those with experience would also find it helpful.
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