The Art of Dying
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"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 reported—odd incidences that accompany death—the “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 testimonies—as 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
About the Author
Dr Peter Fenwick is an internationally renowned neuropsychiatrist and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is
Elizabeth Fenwick has written a number of books on health and family issues. She has produced books on pregnancy and child care, worked as an agony aunt advising on sexual problems on radio and in Company magazine and has been involved in sex education in two London schools. She also worked for three years as a counsellor for Childline.
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 0826499236
- ISBN-13 : 978-0826499233
- Paperback : 256 pages
- Publisher : Continuum (August 26, 2008)
- Dimensions : 7.08 x 0.58 x 7.86 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #212,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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What I liked the most about the book is the message to keep our mind open, to study and research the phenomena of death bed visions and coincidences and to prepare for death in the meaningful way. I also thought that the authors explanation on what it means to die a good death was a very strong and inspiring one. I even wrote on the blank pages provided what it means to me to die a good death. Also, I agree with the authors that the subject of death should not be a taboo.
Unfortunately, I experienced a great loss in my life that ultimately changed my attitude towards death. Death doesn't scare me, life does.
That being said, I did like the book a lot and I highly recommend it.
Dr. Peter Fenwick is an internationally renowned British neuro-psychiatrist and a leading authority on the near-death experience, while Elizabeth Fenwick has authored a number of health-related books. "All the experiences we have been told of point to death being part of a structured and supportive process," they write in the concluding chapter. "They also suggest that a greater understanding of what happens when we die would lead to a removal of our fear of death and open up the possibility of a new beginning, the start of a new journey..."
The Fenwicks' book is by no means the first on the subject of deathbed visions. Sir William Barrett's 1926 book "Death-Bed Visions" has become a classic in the field, while "At the Hour of Death" by K. Osis and E. Haraldsson, first published in 1977, added significantly to Barrett's book. More recently, Dr. Carla Wills-Brandon has added "One Last Hug Before I Go" to the short list of references on the subject. But, as with so many other areas not subject to strict scientific measurement and validation, much of old material has been forgotten, ignored, or resisted and there is a need to periodically resurrect the subject and explore more current cases.
Often, at the moment of death, the Fenwicks found, the dying patient is observed looking at a particular corner of room and commenting that a deceased love one is there. The dying person may stretch out his or her hand as if greeting the person and may even talk to deceased person. "Suddenly my Gran sat up in bed and smiled," one interviewee told the Fenwicks. "She said, `I'm going now and here's Dad and George come to meet me.' She then died still with this big smile on her face. My mother never forgot it."
In exploring deathbed visions and visitations, the Fenwicks examine coincidences, mental states, hallucinations, near-death experiences, and consciousness. In the end, they conclude that the evidence points to humans being "more than brain function, more than just a speck in creation, and that something, whether we regard it as soul or consciousness, will continue in some form or another, making its journey to `Elsewhere'."
Peter Fenwick is going to be a very important name in the field of dying.
Top reviews from other countries
It's well worth viewing the author's YouTube interview - I found that more inspiring.