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The Art of Dying is a book for those of you facing your own death. Perhaps you have received a scary diagnosis or found yourself in harm's way or become existentially more thoughtful.
It is written as a guide to the many problems that may arise -- physical, legal, emotional, and spiritual. In it, Dr. Trish takes care to offer a number of solutions to each problem, not just one. You make your own choice.
In the course of her talks with many of those facing death, Dr. Trish has also spoken with bereaving sons and daughters who wondered how to give this book to their beloved parents or spouses. She suggests presenting the ideas of one chapter, perhaps, focusing on specific concerns that their loved one might have, such as:
- Feelings of stigma as the body becomes more disfigured;
- Doubts about life accomplishments;
- Retaining identity;
- Maintaining control of the process;
- Or transcending the loss of everything they love.
The following is an abbreviated list of the contents of The Art of Dying, chapter by chapter.
1. Preparing for Death Can Transform Your Life
2. Cutting Death Down to Size
3. Are you Living or Dying? How PNI Affects Your Choice
4. What Does Your Illness Mean to You?
5. Should You Tell Others? How Can You Tell Younger Children?
6. Legal, Medical, and Financial Preparations: Psychospiritual Guidance
7. Coping Positively with Daily Life
8. Betrayed by the Body: Disability, Disfigurement, and Stigma
9. Twenty-Seven Rules for Dying the "Right Way"" One Rule for Dying Your Own Way
10. Power over Pain
11. How to Be in a Support Group: "The "Not-Expected-to-Live Club"
12. Riding the Emotional Roller-Coaster
13. Aid-in-Dying: Do You Want It?
14. Where Will you Die? Who Will Care for You?
15. Controlling the Uncontrollable
16. Retaining Your Identity
17. When You Don't Want to Forgive
18. Transcending the Loss of All You Love
19. It Doesn't Have to Be Yours (and It Never Was)
20. What's Left Undone
21. Creating Life Meaning from Despair
22. Our Great Value as Dying People: Teaching Others by How We Die.
23. Rituals and Myths for the End of Life
24. Belief in an Afterlife is a Choice.
25. Planning Your Eternal Future
26. Enhancing Your Spiritual Development
27. What Is It Like to Die?
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"Janet's losses of those dear to her -- her parents when they divorced and placed her in a foster home, her 8-year-old son to leukemia, her 15-year-old a suicide, her husband who fell in love with her sister, a double loss -- these have brought her to the brink of suicide, and she still experiences occasional fugue states. Her career and a richly rewarding love affair help her cope. But as we sit in her living room with the rain pattering on the roof, she hears her dead children moving about the house."
What can be the meaning of a life filled with loss and ending in death? This is the central problem of human existence. It makes no sense that we should be born, grow to beauty and skill, love and be loved, bring talent to fruition, only to be cut down in myriad ways. There must be a reason, if we could only find it. Either we are not cut down, that is, we do not really die, or we die for a purpose that, once understood, relieves us of a tragic sense. But will we ever know that purpose?
This book examines the histories of 44 women aged 25-67 and sets forth a new understanding of how we transcend loss to create life meaning, the types of loss, the importance of life dreams, and the life themes that they give rise to.
MORE PRAISE FOR TRANSCENDENCE OF LOSS OVER THE LIFE SPAN
"The life dream is....based on intrinsic love of the activity or goal." When people "veer off the path because of practical problems," the opposition of relatives or their own lack of faith, "such decisions of the head rather than the heart are the ones we most deeply regret."
—Carol Tavris, Vogue Magazine
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