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Dialogues on Death and Dying: What the Words of the Dying Can Teach Us about Fear, Hope and Living

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Continuing the work from On Death and Dying, Kubler-Ross encourages communication with the terminally ill to help those left to gain an understanding of the anxieties, fears, and hopes of the dying.

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Continuing the work from On Death and Dying, Kubler-Ross encourages communication with the terminally ill to help those left to gain an understanding of the anxieties, fears, and hopes of the dying.

30 review for Dialogues on Death and Dying: What the Words of the Dying Can Teach Us about Fear, Hope and Living

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    This book is a sample of three seminars about life, death and the transition between both delivered by Dr. Kübler-Ross, an eminence in Near-death studies and a pioneer in researching the five stages of grief. Ross’ work mingles spirituality with rigorous science and has helped hundreds of dying people of all ages, particularly children, and their families to make peace with death and to accept it as a door to another sort of existence. According to Dr. Ross’ observations, right after death, the b This book is a sample of three seminars about life, death and the transition between both delivered by Dr. Kübler-Ross, an eminence in Near-death studies and a pioneer in researching the five stages of grief. Ross’ work mingles spirituality with rigorous science and has helped hundreds of dying people of all ages, particularly children, and their families to make peace with death and to accept it as a door to another sort of existence. According to Dr. Ross’ observations, right after death, the body becomes an empty chrysalis and some sort of spiritual energy that was retained in life is set free; using Dr.Ross' simile, like a worm which has undergone a transformation and become a butterfly that all of a sudden has wings to fly. This ethereal entity knows all, loves all and lives on eternally. I am not courageous enough to declare myself an atheist, I feel more comfortable with the term agnostic, but I am not certainly religious in the classical sense of the word, so I approached this book with caution and even a certain degree of skepticism. Nevertheless, if you manage to suspend judgment and put your little ego aside along with all the fears and flimsy arguments that you repeat to yourself like a mantra to explain the inexplicable, you might find Dr. Kübler-Ross’ experiences worthy of reading, and who knows, even as an alternative possibility to consider. Regardless of your intellectual reaction to Ross’ theories, I think this woman’s biggest feat is the kind of love she professed, the selfless involvement with the moribund patients that she treated for more than twenty-five years and the all-abiding humanity that exudes from her words. Even if I might not be ready to fully believe that there is life after death, I can apply many of Dr. Kübler-Ross’ reflections to make the most of my earthly life by loving it, loving the people who share it with me and by making the most of my short time here with a positive attitude, regardless of the challenges ahead. So Kudos, and thank you, Mrs. Kübler-Ross.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    To begin this review, an important quote about the way we train doctors to interact with patients: "What happens in a society that puts more emphasis on IQ and class-standing than on simple matters of tact, sensitivity, perceptiveness, and good taste in the management of the suffering? In a professional society where the young medical student is admired for his research and laboratory work during the first years of medical school while he is at a loss of words when a patient asks him a simple que To begin this review, an important quote about the way we train doctors to interact with patients: "What happens in a society that puts more emphasis on IQ and class-standing than on simple matters of tact, sensitivity, perceptiveness, and good taste in the management of the suffering? In a professional society where the young medical student is admired for his research and laboratory work during the first years of medical school while he is at a loss of words when a patient asks him a simple question? If we could combine the teaching of the new scientific and technical achievements with equal emphasis on the interpersonal human relationships we could indeed make progress, but not if the new knowledge is conveyed to the student at the price of less and less interpersonal contact. A wonderful book about what the dying can teach us about how and why to live. Kubler-Ross takes us through her model of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance - and explains the functions and complexities of each stage. She also discusses the history of death and how society's views of it have changed, as well as the ways in which we interact with the dying. A quote I found helpful about understanding anger: "A patient who is respected and understood, who is given attention and a little time, will soon lower his voice and reduce his angry demands. He will know that he is a valuable human being, cared for, allowed to function at the highest possible level as long as he can. He will be listened to without the need for a temper tantrum, he will be visited without ringing the bell every so often because dropping in on him is not a necessary duty but a pleasure." My main takeaway from reading On Death and Dying: talk about death. These conversations carry huge challenges and loads of emotional difficulty. But they have the potential to create an openness and understanding that will free both the dying and those closest to them. Kubler-Ross shares many interviews in this book and exposes us to how hard death is. By doing so, she allows us to start the process of accepting the trials and tribulations that come with passing on, so we can live the best we can. Recommended to anyone interested in death and dying, either because of a personal experience or for a miscellaneous reason. I will end this review with a final quote that resonated with me: "Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever. To be a therapist to a dying patient makes us aware of the uniqueness of each individual in this vast sea of humanity. It makes us aware of our finiteness, our limited lifespan. Few of us live beyond our three score and ten years and yet in that brief time most of us create and live a unique biography and weave ourselves into the fabric of human history."

  3. 5 out of 5

    UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

    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. 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 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. 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. 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    I took a class called "Death and Dying" in 1993 or 1994 and this was our textbook. The class and the book changed my entire viewpoint on death, grief, letting go...everything. It was, hands-down, the best, most useful, most enlightening class I took in my undergrad career. I kept all my literature books, my Chaucer compendium, and my Shakespeare plays and I kept this book. Moreover, I kept all the notes from this class because I knew I would need them someday. I need them all now and I can't find I took a class called "Death and Dying" in 1993 or 1994 and this was our textbook. The class and the book changed my entire viewpoint on death, grief, letting go...everything. It was, hands-down, the best, most useful, most enlightening class I took in my undergrad career. I kept all my literature books, my Chaucer compendium, and my Shakespeare plays and I kept this book. Moreover, I kept all the notes from this class because I knew I would need them someday. I need them all now and I can't find the book or the folder full of notes. They are in my house, somewhere safe, somewhere where I should be able to find them because I would have put them in a findable place...but I don't know where that findable place is and it is driving me crazy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    Having recently lost my husband, I felt compelled to re-read this classic study by Dr. Kubler-Ross who I had the privilege of meeting and dining with several years ago. This groundbreaking work describes the now well known stages of grief: denial and isolationism, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance. She explains the reasons behind each of these emotions and how to deal with them as best as one can. She uses personal interviews with the grief stricken, some of which are heartbreaking. Having recently lost my husband, I felt compelled to re-read this classic study by Dr. Kubler-Ross who I had the privilege of meeting and dining with several years ago. This groundbreaking work describes the now well known stages of grief: denial and isolationism, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance. She explains the reasons behind each of these emotions and how to deal with them as best as one can. She uses personal interviews with the grief stricken, some of which are heartbreaking. It is the rare person who does not experience these emotions albeit somewhat briefly and not necessarily in the order in which they are listed. I highly recommend this book to all readers, even if they have not had a recent death of friend or family. It is fascinating and spiritually uplifting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    anaïs

    It took me a while to get through this one for obvious reasons. I kind of got through most of the sections as I was going through them, although I am still in the middle of this process and reading of the whole process is beginning to help. Grief is not a straight line but rather a series of knots that I find myself having to untie again and again; I am moving through it and I have no idea where I'm going but I'm going there.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Someone else's review reminded me of this one. I read it as part of my research for a role in the play Shadowbox. Sooo interesting... not to mention highly accessible and useful for psyche babble. Kubler-Ross contends that every person adjusting to the idea of death goes through five stages (though they may bounce back and forth, skip ahead, etc., everyone hits all five at some point). They are: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Acceptance. I read this book probably over 10 years ago, and I Someone else's review reminded me of this one. I read it as part of my research for a role in the play Shadowbox. Sooo interesting... not to mention highly accessible and useful for psyche babble. Kubler-Ross contends that every person adjusting to the idea of death goes through five stages (though they may bounce back and forth, skip ahead, etc., everyone hits all five at some point). They are: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Acceptance. I read this book probably over 10 years ago, and I still think of it. The most interesting part of all? From my observation over those years, I believe that we all go through these five stages in adjusting to ANYTHING that sucks, not just death (which is obviously the most extreme example of suckiness). Now I feel all morbid. Gotta go watch cartoons with my kids and eat ice cream...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I recently lost my husband after he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. I was surprised that I haven't fallen apart...at least not yet. I decided to read this well-known book to understand the grieving process. I was surprised to read about anticipatory grief which, I now realize, is what I have been going through for the last 10 months and in particular in the last 5+ months since the diagnosis was confirmed. I understand that I may not go through all 5 stages ~ denial, anger, bargaining, de I recently lost my husband after he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. I was surprised that I haven't fallen apart...at least not yet. I decided to read this well-known book to understand the grieving process. I was surprised to read about anticipatory grief which, I now realize, is what I have been going through for the last 10 months and in particular in the last 5+ months since the diagnosis was confirmed. I understand that I may not go through all 5 stages ~ denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance in order or at all. I do now understand that some of my feelings are the "norm" and so, I can move on in my own time frame. I would recommend this book to anyone who is currently going through this significant event and life-changing situation ~ whether you are the one who has the illness or the one who is living and caring and loving the patient. As the Hospice nurse told me, the caretaker has to take care of themselves too. This book will assist you in doing that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hadrian

    A study of how people react towards death. The commonly known 'five-stages' model is outlined here, and many case studies and examples and described in depth. Morbid and necessary reading, to understand the psychology of our own grief and extinction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    I read this sooooooooooooooo many years ago --- I wonder if I should read it again. I use to own it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Yassin Omar يس

    I am more than grateful for you Dr. Kubler-Ross! Though it was not easy at all, but your life quest on death and dying really helped me in very sensitive situations I have been dealing with! Thank you! "...and the stars seemed like the burning tears of that ignorant darkness." #Tagore

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I don't know. I read it to understand my own grieving. I suppose the introduction of the five stages of grief is pretty monumental and I have to give it credit for that. It's written very much as a psychologist's thesis, so it isn't always compelling. If clinical, though, it's still anything but insensitive. The writing is without flourish but the message, the research, the observations are all enlightening. I never understood where anger fit into my current and past experiences of grief, but it I don't know. I read it to understand my own grieving. I suppose the introduction of the five stages of grief is pretty monumental and I have to give it credit for that. It's written very much as a psychologist's thesis, so it isn't always compelling. If clinical, though, it's still anything but insensitive. The writing is without flourish but the message, the research, the observations are all enlightening. I never understood where anger fit into my current and past experiences of grief, but its expression as envy made a lot of sense. The book is more about the person dying than the person losing someone. I haven't had many experiences where I feared for my life. But I have to respect that Kubler-Ross was so concerned with the care of those who don't have long to live. Her most interesting points beyond the five stages come in the beginning when she criticizes the mechanical prolonging of life when it is performed at the expense of the patient's comfort. Also, her questions of why we can't incorporate death into our daily lives are pretty challenging and very, very wise. We would be so much better off seeing death if we didn't let our fear of it dehumanize the dying.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Krupka

    As you can see from the title, I took this book from Ari's shelf - I had never heard of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, but it seems like anyone in the medical/psychological professions have - she created the 5 stages of reaction to trauma. Anyway, this was a great read - it started stronger than it ended- she starts with laying out her philosophy on how death should be encountered by physicians and most of the rest of the book is interviews with patients. Worthwhile read if you're interested in this top As you can see from the title, I took this book from Ari's shelf - I had never heard of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, but it seems like anyone in the medical/psychological professions have - she created the 5 stages of reaction to trauma. Anyway, this was a great read - it started stronger than it ended- she starts with laying out her philosophy on how death should be encountered by physicians and most of the rest of the book is interviews with patients. Worthwhile read if you're interested in this topic; ie end of life, the culture of taboo and defensiveness when it comes to death and mortality, discussing death with people, children etc., doctor-patient relationship as highly significant (just as much as doctor's actual knowledge) The first two chapters are wonderful with some thoughtful observations about society and human nature's encounter with mortality - one that I liked (p16) "When we look back in time and study old cultures and people, we are impressed that death has always been distasteful to man and probably always will be. From a psychiatrist's point of view this is very understandable and can perhaps best be explained by our basic knowledge that, in our unconscious, death is never possible in regard to ourselves. It is inconceivable for our unconscious to imagine an actual ending of our own life here on earth, and if this life of ours has to end, the ending is always attributed to a malicious intervention from the outside by someone else. In simple terms, in our unconscious mind, we can only be killed; it is inconceivable to die of a natural cause or of old age. Therefore, death in itself is associated with a bad act, a frightening happening, something that in itself calls for retribution and punishment." Kubler Ross does a great job in this book reshaping an approach to death that is a more open, healthier, softer, calmer experience for those dealing with it. Especially for the doctor-patient relationship. I think this is a must read for any one who deals with death and illness.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    This book and the research behind it clearly were revolutionary and in some ways have not yet had sufficient impact on the practice of medicine. The topic is extremely important, and many concepts put forward here have become heuristics of medical education about how to talk to dying patients (e.g., use simple, straight forward language including the word death; sit down; find a quiet spot to tell people bad news; make sure all the important people are present). So, why did I say it was ok rather This book and the research behind it clearly were revolutionary and in some ways have not yet had sufficient impact on the practice of medicine. The topic is extremely important, and many concepts put forward here have become heuristics of medical education about how to talk to dying patients (e.g., use simple, straight forward language including the word death; sit down; find a quiet spot to tell people bad news; make sure all the important people are present). So, why did I say it was ok rather than great despite its obvious importance? First, perhaps it was overhyped and I had inappropriate expectations. Second, since I knew most of it, it had less impact for me. Third, I was horribly turned off by the historical frame for the work she provides in the first 20 pages. It is ridiculous to purport, and especially without significant citations from people who experienced it, that death during the Middle Ages was a more idyllic, peaceful experience with the potential to be home and surrounded be loving family than death in the 20th century was. Those in the Middle Ages died in wars, at the hands of masters, of infectious disease, through torture or childbirth, in unexpected, horrible, and often painful ways. If it wasn't plague, it was gangrene, etc. Fourth, the stages of dying (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) with hope scattered in, seem bald, inflexible, and to hinge a lot on one's attributing many subconscious urges to people. Sometimes, we're just more straight-forward. And, what about grief? People should grieve things that are lost. Forcing people to be in certain heuristic classes when they should just be able to be where they are emotionally seems nearly as bad as not letting them be where they are emotionally.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    It has become cliché to say we live in a society that denies death. From her experiences with dying patients, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross sheds insight into how we face, or not face, death. She details the famous Five Stages --denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance--through case studies of patients. These Five Stages, for better or worse, have become the model from which academics and lay people understand the process of dying. But more than the model, the book forces us to ga It has become cliché to say we live in a society that denies death. From her experiences with dying patients, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross sheds insight into how we face, or not face, death. She details the famous Five Stages --denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance--through case studies of patients. These Five Stages, for better or worse, have become the model from which academics and lay people understand the process of dying. But more than the model, the book forces us to gaze death in the eyes and confront our fears. Only then can we integrate death into life and realize that death is part of our life and indeed a vital part. If we deny it or even just neglect it, our lives become incomplete. We don’t have to obsess over death just as we don’t just focus on our health to the neglect of other parts of lives. When death becomes an integral part of our beings, our lives become more dynamic. Great insight into the psychology toward our ultimate end. On Death and Dying is not only for those facing death and their close ones, but for everyone, to prepare our journey to the end, and thus to gain strength in living our lives and in caring for those around us.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karishma

    This book came at a time in my life when I had the real opportunity to talk with the sick and the dying in my posting in a pain and palliative care unit. I was uncertain how to approach these patients and had no idea what to say. A kind friend lent me the book and I'm truly grateful. The author speaks carefully and eloquently of the importance of listening to the patients and just giving them your time and not hurrying past them. It also brought into focus my own mortality. I think of death in le This book came at a time in my life when I had the real opportunity to talk with the sick and the dying in my posting in a pain and palliative care unit. I was uncertain how to approach these patients and had no idea what to say. A kind friend lent me the book and I'm truly grateful. The author speaks carefully and eloquently of the importance of listening to the patients and just giving them your time and not hurrying past them. It also brought into focus my own mortality. I think of death in less frightening terms now and I think it has helped me become a better clinician more than some of the textbooks I've read. I'm forever changed and eternally grateful. Do read this book - because you're a human being and not because you're a doctor or a patient but because it is important to not fear death or the dying.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alek Cristea

    On Death and Dying was one of the hardest books I have ever read. The subject matter was, obviously, in part the reason for this. But there was more than just the topic that made this a difficult book. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote this book at the end of the sixties, almost some fifty years ago and there is much about the world that has changed, and some of what she describes can become difficult to apply to the world we know now. Some level of personal experiences and beliefs that seemed to go a On Death and Dying was one of the hardest books I have ever read. The subject matter was, obviously, in part the reason for this. But there was more than just the topic that made this a difficult book. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote this book at the end of the sixties, almost some fifty years ago and there is much about the world that has changed, and some of what she describes can become difficult to apply to the world we know now. Some level of personal experiences and beliefs that seemed to go against some aspects of the book and the people within its pages also made some aspects of the reading difficult. Hospitals (at least in the places that are part of the ‘first world’) do not entirely resemble what Kübler-Ross speaks of. They may not be perfect, may be over populated and overly busy, but some of the aspects of them has changed greatly, namely the way the family members of the patients are handled, and also the way that patients themselves are treated and what is available to them to help them not be so alone. Of course, a lot of this changed thanks to the work of people like Kübler-Ross and although the change made it hard to look at her work as being entirely usable in today’s hospitals, it was in itself an enlightening way to see what exactly had changed throughout the years. That aside, the fifty years since this book was written, show in a myriad of way throughout the pages. Someone I talked to this about joked that ‘People don’t die the same anymore’, but I do think there is a difference in how a lot of the aspects of dying are approached in today’s society, and not all of them are changes that occurred because of research done on this topic. Some, simply happened because the world, our society, changed and evolved. One of the most often evoked worry of the dying in the book is that their spouse is having to take on responsibilities that were not theirs before: for men they worry about their wives looking after the financial and business side of things; for women they worry of leaving their husbands to have to do everything around the household and look after the children. Gender roles were still strongly enforced and respected when Kübler-Ross wrote this book. Nowadays they are slowly—but surely—being forgotten. Women work, men raise children and for the most part no one bats an eyelid at it all. As such it could be quite difficult, and extremely jarring to fully understand the worry of these patients who felt like they were putting on their husbands too much or not feeling confident that their wives could handle the business they were leaving behind. I think that, as someone who sees themselves as a feminist and stands against gendered stereotypes, these parts were particularly hard to get through. It made me angry because, surely, surely it shouldn’t have been that way. I had to remind me when this book was written several times to get through these particularly bits. Similarly, the heavy emphasis on religion, Christianity I should say, was troubling to me. It was this tacit understanding that bar a few exceptions (there is mention of a Jew at one point), this was the religion that everyone shared, that was accepted as the norm and, in a way expected. Again, this is something that from my personal experience has changed and I cannot imagine that researchers would so easily involve members of the clergy in their research as Kübler-Ross did back then. Finally, the last outdated, rage-inducing part of this book was the use of the word ‘negro’ that felt so out of place and so wrong in the context that it made me extremely uncomfortable and judging how hard as a world we have to fight against racism if it might be a plan to edit such words out of texts that are supposed to be open-minded. Now all these things aside, On Death and Dying made for a truly interesting read, not least of all because it reveals the origins of what we take now for granted as the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Nowadays these are applied to any grief, but when Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed and first talked about them, she was not talking about the grief of the living, of those that stay behind, she was talking of the grief of those that are dying and know that they are going to lose everyone and everything that they grew close and worked towards in their lifetime. In this the book holds several revelations. First of all, when studying grief, I had always struggled with the stage of bargaining, and more importantly with when it came in the process. When looking at the grief I had experienced, bargaining suddenly didn’t come after anger, or at least not in the way textbooks had presented it to me. And also it seemed to apply only to cases where the grieving person had known that the deceased had been dying and could not be applied so easily to sudden and violent deaths. Seeing it as a part of the stages that the dying goes through made tremendously more sense. But more than anything, On Death and Dying made me look at dying in a way that would have been impossible without experiencing it myself or working on the wards where these people spent their last hours, days, months or years. I did not find it as scary as I thought, or as difficult. Instead it made me understand some things attached to my own grief attached to the friend I had to watch die recently. I understood more about what she went through (and how she struggled) and I truly wish that I had read this book earlier. I think, simply, Kübler-Ross asks us to be more human, to look at people and see them as a person no matter their state or their pain. And it should sound an easy enough thing to do but we are famously bad as a race to see things from a point of view that is not our own and in that, her work is tremendously important. I don’t know if I could handle working with the dying as she did, for I found their stories in turn heart breaking and frustrating, but I have learnt a great deal for learning this book. Not least of all that hope is something we should be able to carry with us until the very end. I had never considered that the dying too grieve, for it is something so little talked about. But now all I can think is, of course they do. It seems now like such obvious a thing that I can but be grateful as this book for how it opened my eyes. I cannot imagine anyone who works with terminally ill patients who should not read this book. They made find it difficult in places, as I did, for our world has changed, but the lesson that it carries, the wisdom within its pages has no need to change, because no amount of time passed will ever make it entirely irrelevant.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    On Death and Dying is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' discourse on the psychological stages of grief before and after death. Ross headed a study in the 1960s where she and a team of students, doctors, and clergy interviewed patients who were suffering from various maladies with low to fair prognosis. Some of these patients knew they were in the end stages of life, others did not. Some interviewed were family members of the patients. Ross covered the various stages of death and grief and the effects on pa On Death and Dying is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' discourse on the psychological stages of grief before and after death. Ross headed a study in the 1960s where she and a team of students, doctors, and clergy interviewed patients who were suffering from various maladies with low to fair prognosis. Some of these patients knew they were in the end stages of life, others did not. Some interviewed were family members of the patients. Ross covered the various stages of death and grief and the effects on patients, family, and attending medical staff. Some were able to handle news of their prognosis better than others. Some were reluctant to talk, but all opened up once the questions began and felt better to have their stories told, their fear vocalized, and their hearts opened. It became evident that all wanted and needed to talk, even if it was just to open themselves to the inevitable. This is a classic book written in the 60s but many of the lessons still ring true today. Everyone handles death and grief a little different but most go through the basic stages of denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Having recently lost my father and having lost my mother many years before, I realize that each died in much the same way and I now know that when it was time they were ready and were peaceful.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Neil Mudde

    One of those comfortable books,that I re-read as my partner of 39 years lay dying from bone cancer in the magnificent Princess Margaret Cancer Palliative care unit,in Toronto, were he was treated with great love, care and compassion, in spite of very little of what we like to call "Quality of life" he was cared with much love. I was able to spend 24 hours a day with him, a bed was provided for overnight stays, Robert passed away while I was with him. much of the care given there, originated with One of those comfortable books,that I re-read as my partner of 39 years lay dying from bone cancer in the magnificent Princess Margaret Cancer Palliative care unit,in Toronto, were he was treated with great love, care and compassion, in spite of very little of what we like to call "Quality of life" he was cared with much love. I was able to spend 24 hours a day with him, a bed was provided for overnight stays, Robert passed away while I was with him. much of the care given there, originated with this great book. Sorry if I digress, but it has been a rough ride these past few weeks, Robert is at peace and pain-free. hence my re-reading of Kubler-Ross's book, it provides comfort, information and understanding about a subject we hear far to little about, this book should be taught in junior schools, let's get real, everyone of us will die one of these days, it deals with the patient and common sense ideas for care-givers, I have recently borrowed some books on bereavement and grief,that simply do not have the information, their content tends to be scientific "blather" I still give Dr. Kubler-Ross a #10 for her book, which is easy to read, its contents easy to understand,based on her personal "hands on" research. whether you agree with it or not. I highly recommend this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Imane

    This book has helped me better understand the feelings and emotions of the dying. Having lost my father to cancer not long ago, I have often found it difficult to cope and also developed a fear of death and illness. On Death and Dying might be one of those books that you might want to re-read several times just to not be oblivious and forgetful of our inevitable fate-death. “Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that This book has helped me better understand the feelings and emotions of the dying. Having lost my father to cancer not long ago, I have often found it difficult to cope and also developed a fear of death and illness. On Death and Dying might be one of those books that you might want to re-read several times just to not be oblivious and forgetful of our inevitable fate-death. “Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I read this book 30 years ago. It was recommended I read it -- and for the life of me can't remember who recommended it -- but I'm glad whoever and wherever they are, they did. It was a difficult time for me then because I was losing a parent. Dying from disease can be an ordeal, more so for the dying, of course, but also for those of us left behind who care. Today the five stages of grief are widely known, but it was from this book I first learned of those stages. In my opinion, to have compass I read this book 30 years ago. It was recommended I read it -- and for the life of me can't remember who recommended it -- but I'm glad whoever and wherever they are, they did. It was a difficult time for me then because I was losing a parent. Dying from disease can be an ordeal, more so for the dying, of course, but also for those of us left behind who care. Today the five stages of grief are widely known, but it was from this book I first learned of those stages. In my opinion, to have compassion for the dying, and also for those who have lost someone they care about to death, is one of the highest expressions of humanity. The wisdom in this book now considered a classic on death and dying widened my perspective and understanding what we all must go through, eventually.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Edwina " I LoveBooks" "Deb"

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ON DEATH AND DYING!! I read On Death and Dying way back in 1986 when my father was dying with Lung Cancer. I just recently re read it becasue of a shocking accidental death in my family. This book helped me today as much as it did 28yrs ago. If you are going through the grief process or if you are supporting someone who is dying, This book is a must have an will greatly help you!! It written with the average person in mind. The narrative comes across for even young teens. I hig I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ON DEATH AND DYING!! I read On Death and Dying way back in 1986 when my father was dying with Lung Cancer. I just recently re read it becasue of a shocking accidental death in my family. This book helped me today as much as it did 28yrs ago. If you are going through the grief process or if you are supporting someone who is dying, This book is a must have an will greatly help you!! It written with the average person in mind. The narrative comes across for even young teens. I highly recommend On Death and Dying.

  23. 5 out of 5

    No Nameboy

    Just 20 pages to the book, and I already give this masterpiece 5 stars... A must-read book for everybody.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    So far I have attempted to write and post a review of On Death and Dying not once but two times. Both attempts were wiped out into the Goodreads ether immediately. Apparently this topic has bad mojo. But, three is a charm and I am stubborn. Here goes attempt number 3. This year I have confronted the dismal reality that I am about to encounter profound loss in my life. I now have both parents with aggressive and challenging cancer diagnoses and it has been a brutal year filled with intense hospita So far I have attempted to write and post a review of On Death and Dying not once but two times. Both attempts were wiped out into the Goodreads ether immediately. Apparently this topic has bad mojo. But, three is a charm and I am stubborn. Here goes attempt number 3. This year I have confronted the dismal reality that I am about to encounter profound loss in my life. I now have both parents with aggressive and challenging cancer diagnoses and it has been a brutal year filled with intense hospitalizations, constant rounds of chemo and radiation therapy and countless doctor appointments. In my role as a support person and caregiver I have become exhausted emotionally and physically and overwhelmed with the seriousness of my task: namely to help my parents as much as possible and to hold myself together in order to lessen their burdens rather than to merely add more stress. Typical for my culture, I have spent almost no time contemplating end of life issues up until the point where this was forced upon us by unhappy circumstance. So I have decided to read up on death and dying. And it felt like the best place to start was with this 'classic' work from Kubler-Ross. Although Dr. Ross was conducting the interviews and gathering the research for this book during the year I was born (almost 50 years ago) -- it remains a cornerstone in the canon of material about our culture and death. Certainly our contemporary hospice movement, 24 hour visitation policies, home health care options and the more 'people centered' approach to treatment have their roots in the work Kubler-Ross did with terminally ill patients in the 1960s and 70s. Reading the interviews in this book was a very sad experience because most of the patients seemed to be lonely and isolated from their families due to rigid hospital rules and clinical attendants who did not seem to take their patients' emotional needs into consideration. The doctors were often portrayed as cold medical figureheads who developed no rapport with patients or family members. Many of the nurses were described as 'annoyed' by their patients and patients often came to the conclusion that the nursing staff avoided their rooms as much as possible. During this time, death and dying had been removed from the home setting and into the hospital setting. It was an antiseptic approach based on 'curing' and the terminally ill were almost seen as failures or disappointments because the latest and greatest medical advancements could not save them. Many of the individuals Kubler- Ross interviewed seemed rather desperate for somebody to take their needs into consideration...or at least to ask them what their needs were; what they were feeling; what they wished for the hospital staff and their families to know about what they were experiencing. Through her research, Kubler-Ross identified the 5 stages of grief/death which most of us are aware of today: 1. denial/isolation 2. anger 3. bargaining 4. depression 5. acceptance Lately I have become aware of some newer research which calls these 5 stages into question. And I do plan to read these other titles. However, my own experiences this past year allow me to believe that there is some validity to these stages. I certainly began with denial and isolation. Denial was expressed in my latching on to the notion that the 'best doctors' could cure the cancers. As long as we ran all over Cleveland talking to specialists, this could be beaten despite the odds. Isolation quickly followed as our lives became consumed with medical treatments, surgeries, recovery periods and many extra care giving duties on top of the normal responsibilities of life. I had neither the time nor inclination to socialize with others and grew more and more withdrawn as the situation continued to swallow up every minute of our lives. {and I am addressing these stages as a care giver and loved one; I believe they also apply to those who are close to someone nearing death} Anger certainly played a role. Fortunately, this stage has been relatively brief in my case. Almost every family I know has been attacked by cancer so it is hard to feel singled out. Yet my emotions are usually rubbed raw and I am quicker on the emotional trigger. Many things that people say during this stage in life tend to irritate me or bring out some hostility in my response. Constant stress, sadness and fatigue does little for one's charm. Bargaining? This happens every time a difficult new procedure, treatment, or protocol is attempted. Certainly, I tell myself, if we all ban together, show good attitude and persevere through this next terrible thing...we will be 'rewarded' with a remission. And if we are? I will 'never complain again'. I have just come off an entire year of bargaining and am only now coming to the gradual acceptance that we have no takers in this cosmic bargain. Thus depression...where I seem to be stuck now. I can, perhaps, glimpse 'acceptance' coming somewhere further down the road. But I am not there yet. So, despite what I may read in other books and articles on death and loss, I am fairly certain that my impulse will be to mark our progress through this ordeal by the 5 stages. It is a process and you cannot speed it up or slow it down at will. These stages appear to take their own time. I believe that On Death and Dying is the right place to begin for anyone who is coming to terms with death and loss -- despite their stage in life or their stage in 'the process'. Use it as a baseline on which so much of our current approach to end of life issues is built.

  25. 5 out of 5

    B. Jean

    I read this book, and wished, oh I wished, that I had read it when my mother was dying. I can see all the points that I would change so clearly, the advice I would have taken. And I feel bitter that no one was there to tell me how to take care of her when I was alone in that house with her for weeks. I can think of all the meaningful discussions we might have had, and the comfort I could have given her. It's frustrating and heartbreaking more than words. I honestly believe that all medical staff I read this book, and wished, oh I wished, that I had read it when my mother was dying. I can see all the points that I would change so clearly, the advice I would have taken. And I feel bitter that no one was there to tell me how to take care of her when I was alone in that house with her for weeks. I can think of all the meaningful discussions we might have had, and the comfort I could have given her. It's frustrating and heartbreaking more than words. I honestly believe that all medical staff should read this book as well. When my mom was dying, we met all sorts of doctors: the doctors that gave no hope and the doctors that were positive. We met all sorts of nurses, and I agree, the kindness that we were shown meant everything. Everything. I also felt, while walking home last night, that after reading this book I was less afraid of my own eventual death. That it is completely natural. And this is a big step for me, because after seeing my mother die, I have been plagued with anxiety and panic attacks. I feel very peaceful now in comparison to what I have felt. I am thankful that this book helped spur the creation of hospice care. I can't imagine what my mother's death would have been like without it. I do think that this book is a little outdated in terms of certain terminology and gender roles, but the basis of it is good. It makes sense, and it's important. This book was very, very important.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Hickman Walker

    This is amazing. I had no idea so many people found death such a difficult topic to talk about. I don't know if it's to do with being an archaeologist (or, rather, a former archaeologist) and studying what dead people have left behind, including the evidence available in their bones, and the exhumation of graves and burial grounds that many archaeologists wind up doing as contract work which makes me so comfortable talking about death. It might also be the Asperger's, or maybe a combination of t This is amazing. I had no idea so many people found death such a difficult topic to talk about. I don't know if it's to do with being an archaeologist (or, rather, a former archaeologist) and studying what dead people have left behind, including the evidence available in their bones, and the exhumation of graves and burial grounds that many archaeologists wind up doing as contract work which makes me so comfortable talking about death. It might also be the Asperger's, or maybe a combination of the two. I frequently wonder what my 88-year-old grandmother will die of, but struggled to understand why this wasn't something the rest of the family was interested in speculating about. To me, death is a natural, normal part of life. It's something that happens to everyone and there's no reason to act like it's something out-of-the-ordinary. For that reason I found this book helpful because it made it clear to me that this is something that the vast majority of people struggle with, regardless of whether they're the person dying, or a relative or caregiver. This is an incredible, amazing book and everyone should read it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mahjong_kid

    I've been meaning to read this book for several years now. While I understand its importance in the literature of patient care and am glad that I finally read it, I couldn't help feeling that there was so much that could have been expanded upon. For example, the interviews that she included were interesting, but sometimes a little hard to follow because they were literal transcripts of her conversations with patients and didn't convey very well the emotion of the patients (and her talk of this p I've been meaning to read this book for several years now. While I understand its importance in the literature of patient care and am glad that I finally read it, I couldn't help feeling that there was so much that could have been expanded upon. For example, the interviews that she included were interesting, but sometimes a little hard to follow because they were literal transcripts of her conversations with patients and didn't convey very well the emotion of the patients (and her talk of this patient's anger and that patient's attitude of denial seemed dissociated from the conversation I'd just read). Also, I know that she was striving to write dispassionately and analytically, but this arms-length approach seemed at odds with what her book was all about: taking a warmer, human approach to dying patients.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julio Bonilla

    Since in our unconscious mind we are all immortal, it is almost inconceivable for us to acknowledge that we too have to face death. Personally, the closest I’ve come to dying was being comatose at 4 1/2 in Peru for 3 weeks. Of course, after the fall, comes the best part! 👻 This book is from 1969. 🤓

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sierra Cook

    This book had a lot of exciting research done by Kübler-Ross within her life, and how within her culture they handled death in a way that was unnatural to the western world, how she created this class by accident. It became so popular because everyone wanted to understand the emotions, and the thoughts of a dying patient, and how she broke each stage and conversation to us, to give us a perspective of that person's emotions. This book was very touching and very emotional but also gave insight wi This book had a lot of exciting research done by Kübler-Ross within her life, and how within her culture they handled death in a way that was unnatural to the western world, how she created this class by accident. It became so popular because everyone wanted to understand the emotions, and the thoughts of a dying patient, and how she broke each stage and conversation to us, to give us a perspective of that person's emotions. This book was very touching and very emotional but also gave insight within a world that most people do try to avoid. I highly recommend reading this if one is curious or dealing with grief.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pamela J.

    Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s seminal work, On Death & Dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families (1969) seemed like a good place to start, so I started there. You have probably heard the simplified version of Kübler-Ross’s stage theory: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may have heard it (mis)applied to those who grieve instead of those who are dealing with terminal illness (which was not the stage stuff’s original purpose, though K Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s seminal work, On Death & Dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families (1969) seemed like a good place to start, so I started there. You have probably heard the simplified version of Kübler-Ross’s stage theory: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may have heard it (mis)applied to those who grieve instead of those who are dealing with terminal illness (which was not the stage stuff’s original purpose, though Kübler-Ross later worked on grief). You may have heard criticisms that the Kübler-Ross stages are too prescriptive, leaving little room for patients and mourners to uncritically accept their own experiences. I had heard all these things, and arrived at the book with some baggage. So, I was a little surprised to find the stages offered so cautiously here. Kübler-Ross writes straightforwardly and without any of the airs of a grand theorist or aspiring paradigm-shifter. Instead, Kübler-Ross briefly describes her dissatisfaction with the existing state of death studies. She boldly undertakes a simple project of finding dying patients and speaking to them, on their terms (this was logistically difficult and unpopular with the patients’ doctors). And she largely just records the interviews plus a bit of summary, without significantly theory-laden editorializing. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised: no abundance of clear writing has ever saved an important primary source from being misunderstood by would-be critics. Perhaps even enumerating the stages towards death creates too much pressure towards conformity of experience. But even if hearing about the stages has this tendency, it also has redeeming value: offering people in trying circumstances a quick way to make sense of one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. The stages are an entrance to understanding, not an ending. This book, almost 50 years old, shows its age in places. Nurses at the time apparently tended to ignore terminally ill or actively dying patients. It was more common for doctors to adopt a paternalistic role, withholding details about conditions and treatments. My experience is limited to one hospital, but here in 2018 I’ve actually found the nurses aggressively cheery. It sometimes makes me want to scream “can’t you see how sick this person is??” Perhaps this is some kind of institutional overcompensation. As for the paternalism, well now (for better or worse) we live in an age of the individual. Patient autonomy reigns supreme (at least in theory…). And in the pop psychology of today, emotional experiences are often assumed to be necessarily as unique as their bearers. Sure, at some times, people really do like feeling special. But, in the face of death and loss, there might be more to say for drawing our attention toward human universals. No one can die or grieve for you, but the types of feelings you’re likely to feel are old and well-known to humankind. Read this book if: you like a classics/historical approach to learning new topics you don’t know where else to start Don’t read this book if: you are an extremely special snowflake who finds generalities off-putting you are not interested in transcripts of patients rambling a bit

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