Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On Death and Dying by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

One of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century, On Death and Dying grew out of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's famous interdisciplinary seminar on death, life, and transition. In this remarkable book, Dr. Kübler-Ross first explored the now-famous five stages of death: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through sample interviews and conversations, she gives the reader a better understanding of how imminent death affects the patient, the professionals who serve that patient, and the patient's family, bringing hope to all who are involved.


On Death and Dying isn't the kind of book I normally read, much less review, but it's such an important, powerful work that I feel it needs to be shared in hopes that others will benefit from the insights and wisdom found within.

I re-read this book from time to time simply because it helps me put 'the circle of life' into perspective, and having recently had to put Honey, our 11.5 year old dog to sleep, I pulled this out again and read the parts that deal with the process and necessity and importance of allowing ourselves to grieve.

This is a well written, compassionate but honest collection of interviews with dying patients and their families, the purpose of this study/book being to help both deal with the emotions and the many phases of death they will face. Denial. Anger. Depression.... It was a difficult read sometimes because I couldn't help but become attached to the patients and ache for what they were going through.

And as hard as it might be to believe, this book is also an excellent help when going through a relationship breakup, whether by choice or not. As my dear friend, Beverly, always told me, "You have to go through it to get through it. I miss you, Brat!

I highly recommend this book to anyone with elderly or ailing friends or family members, or to anyone who works in healthcare. It's written with respect and integrity, giving hope to the living and honoring the dying by helping assure them of a peaceful, dignified passing.