Deathbed visions and coincidences are often classified as supernatural phenomena and the stuff of bad late-night television. But do such classifications do a disservice to the experiences of the dying and the bereaved? Through lengthy oral histories of eerie telepathic and paranormal phenomena, this book attempts to strip away the stigma from analyzing the inexplicable yet commonly reportedodd incidences that accompany deaththe ""feeling of unease,"" the visit from the dying. The authors argue that these reported experiences must be studied, even if they deviate from conventional understanding of the ""real"" or ""normal."" What if our minds were wired in a way that has not yet been documented by science? What if hospice workers were more open to the experiences of the dying? Although the Fenwicks' exuberance frequently feels naïve, the scores of testimoniesas well as Peter Fenwick's renown as a neuropsychiatrist do lend their queries credibility. Ultimately, the authors demonstrate that it may be immaterial if these stories are scientifically plausible since merely documenting these incidences can heighten our understanding of the mind during death and enhance our ability to comfort the dying and their families. --Publishers Weekly, May 2008
Is there an art
? And if there is, what can we do to achieve a good death? We have few special rituals to prepare for death, or to mark it, and we often fail to help the dying
prepare for death. "The Art
" contains accounts by the dying
, and those who have been with the dying
in their final hours, which help us to understand that death is a process. The experiences suggest that we are looked after throughout the transition from life to death, and taken on a journey into love and light by loved ones who come back to take us. Other accounts are from people who have been emotionally close to someone and who, unaware that the person they love is dying
, experience a sudden strong sense of their presence or an intimation of their death. Rational, scientific explanations for these experiences are hard to find, and it is almost impossible, in the face of them, to sustain the current scientific view that our consciousness is entirely brain-based, and that it is extinguished at the moment our brain ceases to function. The world is more highly interconnected and more complex than the simple mechanical model we have followed for so long.
The evidence suggests we are more than brain function, and that something - soul or spirit or consciousness - will continue in some form or another for a while at least. We can ensure a "good death" for ourselves and help those we love achieve it too. "The Art
" demonstrates that we can face death with a peaceful and untroubled mind; that death is not a lonely or a fearful journey, but an intensely hopeful one.