The Inner Life of the Dying Person

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Columbia University Press, Jun 3, 2014 - Social Science - 304 pages
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This unique book recounts the experience of facing one’s death solely from the dying person’s point of view rather than from the perspective of caregivers, survivors, or rescuers. Such unmediated access challenges assumptions about the emotional and spiritual dimensions of dying, showing readers that—along with suffering, loss, anger, sadness, and fear—we can also feel courage, love, hope, reminiscence, transcendence, transformation, and even happiness as we die.

A work that is at once psychological, sociological, and philosophical, this book brings together testimonies of those dying from terminal illness, old age, sudden injury or trauma, acts of war, and the consequences of natural disasters and terrorism. It also includes statements from individuals who are on death row, in death camps, or planning suicide. Each form of dying addressed highlights an important set of emotions and narratives that often eclipses stereotypical renderings of dying and reflects the numerous contexts in which this journey can occur outside of hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices. Chapters focus on common emotional themes linked to dying, expanding and challenging them through first-person accounts and analyses of relevant academic and clinical literature in psycho-oncology, palliative care, gerontology, military history, anthropology, sociology, cultural and religious studies, poetry, and fiction. The result is an all-encompassing investigation into an experience that will eventually include us all and is more surprising and profound than anyone can imagine.
 

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Contents

1 In the Beginning
1
2 SufferingEnduring the New Reality
15
3 Feara Threat Observed
35
4 CourageFacing the Overwhelming
55
5 ResistanceFacing the Choices
73
6 Sadness and AngerFacing Loss
93
7 Hope and LoveConnection
113
8 WaitingInbetweenness
131
9 Review and ReminiscenceRemembering
149
10 AlonenessDisconnection
169
11 TransformationChange Change Change
187
12 Some Final Reflections
211
Notes
221
Bibliography
235
Index
249
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About the author (2014)

Allan Kellehear is professor of community health at Middlesex University in London. His most recent books on dying and its care include A Social History of Dying and an edited volume of essays titled The Study of Dying: From Autonomy to Transformation.

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