When Life Meets Death: Stories of Death and Dying, Truth and Courage

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Haworth Press, 1998 - Family & Relationships - 146 pages
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When Life Meets Death is a book of stories from people who have faced the ordinary, yet overwhelming, experience of the death of a loved one. Some are the stories of the author's own loss and others are based on his professional experience as a chaplain. This book 'tells the story’from the perspective of those who are immersed in the experience. Some of these stories are as common as the expected death of an elderly and ailing parent, while others are as traumatic as the loss of a loved one in the Oklahoma City bombing disaster. They are not objective truths about death so much as they are tales about the meaning and the mystery of people who must face the death of someone they love.

There are a number of ways to tell the truth about life, but no way is more powerful than the use of story. There are some human experiences that are too deep for words--only the majesty of a story can point to their meaning. The moment of death is such a time. The stories in When Life Meets Death are categorized into four sections that represent different times along the continuum of the experience of death. These include:
  • On the Way--the time prior to death when, perhaps for the first time, the truth of this final reality is evident and the sacredness of life is made clear
  • At the Moment--the transition from life to eternity is a time of good-byes--tells the tale of what it is like to say this final good-bye
  • When Death is Traumatic--traumatic death is horrible for the one who dies, and it leaves the survivors with conflicting feelings of grief, anger, and futility
  • When It's Over--the process of finding a “new normal” after death and eight steps of the grieving process

    There is, of course, always an explanation for death. We can verify that death occurred, how it came about, and when it happened. We need these kinds of truths. But death is never only a scientific reality. It marks the end of how one life was intricately woven into the lives of many others. This kind of truth is recorded in the stories we tell about the one who died. When Life Meets Death will disarm you so that truth and wisdom can find natural ways to enter your heart and soul. It heals even as it calls forth sorrow.

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