The Inner Life of the Dying Person
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.