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    $8.39
    1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man,
    $10.87
    2. Wherever You Go, There You Are
    $8.00
    3. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations
    $11.56
    4. Final Gifts: Understanding the
    $16.31
    5. Making Rounds with Oscar: The
    $8.93
    6. When Bad Things Happen to Good
    $9.59
    7. A Grief Observed
    $13.57
    8. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing
    $9.57
    9. CLEO: The Cat Who Mended a Family
    $12.91
    10. The Tibetan Book of Living and
    $12.21
    11. Waking the Tiger : Healing Trauma
    $7.95
    12. How to Survive the Loss of a Love
    $13.57
    13. Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms:
    $9.60
    14. Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's
    $8.87
    15. On Grief and Grieving: Finding
    $10.87
    16. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye:
    $17.16
    17. With Love and Laughter, John Ritter
    $10.85
    18. Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers
    $10.36
    19. Cold Noses At The Pearly Gates
    $11.48
    20. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf:

    1. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
    by Mitch Albom
    Paperback (2002-10-08)
    list price: $13.99 -- our price: $8.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 076790592X
    Publisher: Broadway
    Sales Rank: 1295
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    It’s been ten years since Mitch Albom first shared the wisdom of Morrie Schwartz with the world.Now–twelve million copies later–in a new afterword, Mitch Albom reflects again on the meaning of Morrie’s life lessons and the gentle, irrevocable impact of their Tuesday sessions all those years ago. . .

    _____

    Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague.Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

    For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

    Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder.Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

    Mitch Albom had that second chance.He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life.Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college.Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

    Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Certainly makes one think.
    This book is a best seller and continues to stay on the best seller list because in my opinion most people down deep understand the truth of Morrie's basic philosophy that people living exclusively in a materialistic world generally do so to replace what they feel is missing from their lives even though they may not be consciously aware, at the moment, of what precisely is "missing." What is missing ? I found part of this answer in a general sense in this book. I found even more precise and concrete answers in the book An Encounter With A Prophet. I highly recommend both of these books to anyone seeking to find out why they seem to continue to feel something is missing from life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Is The Most Powerful Book I've Ever Read
    This book has had more impact on my life than anything else I've ever read, by far. It's a reminder to appreciate the simple, little things in life. It's a reminder that when you're dead, the things you've accumulated and the things you've done will disappear. What will remain is the ways that you've affected or touched other people.

    This is a simple book with simple messages.

    Live fully and in the moment. Treat others with respect, kindness, love, and dignity. Seek joy.

    However, these messages are easily lost given the constantly increasing pressures we all face. This book is a guide to a way that you can live your life where you'll be able to look back at the end and feel peace and contentment.

    I've given copies of this book to many people that I know. I encourage you to read this book and do so with an open mind and heart.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming tale of human relationships
    Three novels have moved me to tears this year--East of the Mountains, The Triumph & Glory, and this wonderful book, Tuesdays with Morrie. It is about facing life's difficulties with honesty and courage, friendship, and farewell. Ten stars and a grateful thank you to the author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No money promised , just answers
    Within this story about the special connection between a spiritual mentor and his pupil, the old man imparts his wisdom his pupil regarding many troubling questions about human existence. This book along with the book An Encounter with a Prophet both present spiritual, not religious, answers to anyone open to truth.

    These two books unlike many of the popular "spiritual books" that tell you how get your millions, speak of real meanings and values. I highly recommend both books.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pure Inspiration
    The summer after my high school graduation I was wondering why I felt as though something was missing. My view of life had become that of Mitch's, fast paced. In my rush to go on my senior trip and off to college I had forgotten the true meaning of family and friendship. Before leaving for school a dear friend gave me this book. As I began reading, I could not stop. Tuesdays With Morrie portrays the true meaning of life in such clarity that made me want to reach out to people (family and friends) of whom I had not been as close to as I would have liked. This book taught me to open my heart to people I hold dear and to consider dear my 'enemies' as well. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, you truly only need to love and to allow yourself to be loved. When ever I feel as though I'm losing touch with the importance of my life, I begin to read this book. Immediately after putting the book down I alway want to call my parents. They are the people closest to me and they are also the people who have made me and will continue to make me who I am yet to become (like Morrie and his father, mother, and step-mother). I do however find it a shame that Morrie did infact die, yet he made his death our inspiration. The lessons taught in this book are beautiful and I hope his book continues to guide me in my trying times. Allow it to guide you through your life, and pass on the book to a loved one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Relating to daeth with ALS
    Unfortunately, I read this book 2 years ago--less than a year after my Mom died of ALS. When I read it, all I saw was the dreaded disease and someone coping with death. It helped me alot, but I'd like to read it again to get the other message that it celebrates LIFE! What a great story. If I could, I would buy 100 copies and give them out to anyone who was frowning, grouchy, or simply needed a lift! A great present for ANY occasion or no occasion at all!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Inspiring Story
    This is an incredible story of a young man trying to find meaning in this fast-paced world which does not allow for time to think about what is really important. Mich Albom actually came to my temple to speak and I was so inspired by his story of his old college professor, Morrie, that I ran to buy the book. Once I began reading, I found that I couldn't put the book down! I have been searching for the meaning in my life for a long time and this book truly helped me to get my priorities straight. All in all, it is well written. Mich Albom brings Morrie's personality and wisdom to life. I came out of reading the book feeling that I really knew Morrie and I was at his side listening to him. Please do not hesitate to buy this wonderful book. It incorporates a true, beautiful story and life's most important lessons.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW... Yesterday I Wept.
    For those of you who think the importance of life is to get more, have more, be more, STOP. Sit a while take time to read the book, no don't just read it, absorb every lesson that is held within these pages. I never knew how much time I wasted on the trivial things until I sat down and read this. I was so inspired by Morrie, who even up to his death kept on giving, quenching Mitchs' thirst for knowledge, showing him the direction to go in. A direction that would lead him to a truly happy and fulfilled life. The book is so easy to read, the chapters are short, they get straight to the point and a lesson can be gained from each and every one of them. Morrie Schwartz was an articulate man, who knew just what to say at the right time - like a wise uncle. He had his share of grief, and throughout his life learned from everything he went through. Since reading this book I have bought a copy for every one of my family members and a few close friends (the bookshop thought I had gone crazy!). We all waste too much time on the things that aren't important, and never seem to have the time for things that are. Well, read the book, learn the lessons, and your life will never be the same again..... It will be truly enriched. ... Read more


    2. Wherever You Go, There You Are (ROUGH CUT)
    by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    Paperback
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $10.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1401307787
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 2031
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The time-honored national bestseller, updated with a new afterword, celebrating 10 years of influencing the way we live.

    When Wherever You Go, There You Are was first published in 1994, no one could have predicted that the book would launch itself onto bestseller lists nationwide and sell over 750,000 copies to date. Ten years later, the book continues to change lives. In honor of the book's 10th anniversary, Hyperion is proud to be releasing the book with a new afterword by the author, and to share this wonderful book with an even larger audience. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than pleasantly surprised, September 19, 1999
    A family member bought this book. I found it sitting on a shelf, glanced at the cover and involuntarily thought to myself "uh oh, granola time," and came within a heartbeat of dismissing the book out of hand. Luckily, I did not. Instead, I read the introduction, and then found myself -- almost in a state of disbelief -- reading on and on. I was amazed to find that the book is not just one more new age book muttering away about a world none of us really lives in. To the contrary, the book is written by someone with a profound understanding of everyday reality, who is astonishingly good at sharing that understanding. This is simply a beautiful little book, beautifully written. I would be curious to know if others are reacting to this book the way I am: I feel compelled to rave about it. I read the book for the first time weeks ago, yet tonight in the grocery store I found myself slowing down, marvelling at the sight of my daughter gaily picking out tomatoes, and consciously basking in the moment. And I'm a middle-aged Republican, not particularly predisposed to spiritual impulses! The author of this book has something timeless and important to impart, and he does so with unusual intelligence and grace. I really like this book -- indeed, I hope I'm forgiven for suspecting that it is a work of genius. I also hope that the author happens to read this review, because he should know how much his work is appreciated!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sitting in the crossroads of here and now., April 14, 2001
    I have revisited this meditation guide many times since first reading it nearly five years ago. Kabat-Zinn is not a yogi, sage or Zen master. Rather, he is a meditation teacher and the director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He also teaches Massachusetts prison inmates how to meditate. He approaches meditation in a non-spiritual way. "Meditation can be a profound path for developing oneself, for refining one's perceptions, one's views, one's consciousness," he writes. "But, to my mind, the vocabulary of spirituality creates more practical problems than it solves" (p. 264). In this easy-to-read book, Kabat-Zinn shows us how to cultivate mindfulness in our lives.

    The "practice, practice, practice" of meditation enables us to find our "soul path, a path with heart" (p. xvi), and to "chart a course toward greater sanity and wisdom in our lives" (p. xx). Through meditation, Walden Pond can be found in our breath (p. 24). Meditation, Kabat-Zinn tells us, "is a Way of being, a Way of living, a Way of listening, a Way of walking along the path of life and being in harmony with things as they are" (p. 88). "Dwelling inwardly for extended periods, we come to know something of the poverty of always looking outside ourselves for happiness, understanding, and wisdom" (p. 96).

    Besides learning how to surf the waves of life through mindfulness training, in this book you will also find words to live by on non-doing, patience, letting go, non-judging, voluntary simplicity, the delusion of positive thinking, ahimsa (non-harming), anger and parenting. Whether you are new to the meditation cushion or a longtime practitioner, if you are looking for a simple, how-to book on meditation, "this is it."

    G. Merritt

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you are interested in meditation, or, if you want to find, June 8, 2001
    a way to slow the pace of your busy world, Jon Kabat-Zinn can express the "out of body" concepts of meditation in a way that no one else can.

    You get to choose: "Wherever you go...." is a book that can be explored over and over, that can start you on a path to a new habit to find within yourself what you need to survive today's busy world; that can help you find a new habit to renew the life you lead. Or, utilize its message just as a brief "chapter read" to jump start the positive if you are not looking for a lifelong habit.

    It is very difficult to express, in words, the inner activities that result in becoming comfortable in your own skin. Kabat-Zinn writes thoughtfully and honestly about how he has accomplished this, and what things might work for you. There are many treasures in this book. For me, his ability to describe the rewards one gets from practiced patience, and to impress upon the reader the simplicity of the "body scan" and how it can lead to the habit of lying down meditation are two examples of things that readers can take away at any given time from his book.

    Many self-help readers today are looking for the "quick fix" or some small coping practice they can employ to keep their days positive. In some ways, in addition to helping you understand why meditation works and why it can change your life, Kabat-Zinn writes a poetic and illuminating version of the "one minute help" chapters that the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" series provided to these readers in the busy working world.

    When you couple his vision and ideas with the lovely verse that liberally sprinkles his book (Kabir, Thoreau and Whitman are favorites) you have a quiet and inspirational message that can do more to help you understand and eliminate your stress than can all the meditation, control and organizational techniques advocated in today's America could ever do.

    Read "Wherever you go, there you are" and learn how mindfulness can change the course of your daily life for the better. It works.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful meditation techniques, November 6, 2000
    These techniques proved of much more value to me after reading Conversations with God and An Encounter With A Prophet. Having removed all of my unconscious fears of the spiritual world I could go into a much deeper, peaceful and meaningul meditative state.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In The Timeless Here and Now, July 10, 2005
    My best friend tends to take life slowly and accept it on its own terms...and that facet of his personality has always driven me crazy! :-) The words "slow" and "languid" could never be applied to my lifestyle. I have always hurried through life at such a frantic pace...regretting yesterday and dreaming of tomorrow, yet never truly living in the moment. A year ago I happened upon this book, and it has made an enormous impact on my life. This literary jewel took me to a place I'd never visited before: the realm of 'moment mindfulness.' As the author so eloquently writes,

    The lack of mindfulness "...scavenges to fill time, conspires with my mind to keep me unconscious, lulled in a fog of numbness to a certain extent. It has me unavailable to others, missing the play of the light on the table, the smells in the room, the energies of the moment. Stillness, insight, and wisdom arise only when we can settle into being complete in this moment, without having to seek or hold on to or reject anything."

    Learning how to immerse myself in this moment, and this moment alone, has been incredibly difficult. Yet the serenity, peace and soul satisfaction experienced therein are priceless. The "Non-Judging" chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Realizing my propensity to constantly evaluate my experiences and hold them up against expectations and standards that I create, often out of fear, has been tremendously liberating. I largely thank this book, and my best friend, for that lesson learned. :-)

    I enthusiastically recommend this book to everyone. I find it especially useful to my clients who struggle with childhood abuse issues. Therapy clients who suffer from bi-polar, COPD or Borderline Personality disorders could also be helped significantly from learning the meditation techniques in this book.

    We exist as we are, on this plane, in this realm, at this moment in the timeless here and now. And that is enough....more than enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational for Others interested in Meditations ... but you have to be ready to read about the topic first though, September 27, 2005
    This is a book you have to be ready to read in order to get the benefit out of it. You will either think it is just scribbles of others' notes. Or you will think that it is a masterpiece. I bought this book sitting on my shelf a year ago. Why? Because at that point of my life I could not stop my racing thoughts (the need to do something all the time) enough to experience what the author - Jon Kabat-Zinn, tries to communicate. Some how, life turned around a little (probably when I started reading Eckart Tolle's books). My thought pattern starts slowing down and I start living in the present moment with consciousness of thoughts. A year later, I pick up this book again and start reading. Suddenly, it is truly a bundle of joy. It is a book I would like to read when I am at the coffee shop or even just to enjoy a great Saturday afternoon. I feel that this book is truly a rare jewel you find on Earth. The author picks up the most delicate moment where human beings can meditate. He gives me great inspiration/ways to slow down thoughts/thinking.

    But again, meditations, staying in the present moment isn't something we need to read a lot about. We can read on the world's greatest books and still not able to find peace and joy in life. Just like what the author had said in one chapter. One can jump from one teacher to another looking for salvation from the outside. However, it is working on the inner self, focusing on the inner thoughts and patterns that rise one's mindful/peaceful thinking to the next level (yet rising just means further centering and grounding).

    From experience, it is about letting the human ego die every day and letting go of fear and judgement. Letting go of the seemingly unbearable pain and attachment. It is truly about having full awareness of thoughts and beliefs and process those things on a piece of paper/therapist. Then, sooner or later, one will find a taste of what mindfulness truly mean. You might still endure physical pain because of illness. But the pain gets easier every day when we are aware of our mind and body.

    This is a book to experience. Speed-reading will not help you to taste what the author is trying to offer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truer than true, December 6, 1999
    While reading the book I felt that Jon Kabat-Zinn knew me personally and that he was speaking of me and to me. I practice this and Yoga now, and to speak frankly this has saved my life. My life is much calmer as am I. I still deal with things in my mind...BUT, I am dealing with things now that have haunted me for over 40 years. This book explains life and what is important. I wish I could give everyone this book and that they could read and understand themselves. This is better education than the masters I hold. I wish that this was taught in school. It has truely changed my life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Concentrated Wisdom - A Definite Keeper, January 24, 2002
    This has long been a best seller and justifiably so. Kabat-Zinn works clinically with people who are stressed and his earlier book, Full Catastrophe Living, was written for people who are almost pathologically stressed, to bring them the beneficial effects of meditation. The present book is written for average people on the street, who may not need so urgently the therapeutic effects of meditation, but in the belief that we can all of us use a healthy dose of it. It is written with no religious strings attached, and even avoiding the word "spiritual," and yet it has the ability to open up the spiritual realm for us, no matter what we wish to call it. It is an introduction for the beginner and a source of good advice for the practitioner of meditation. It's written in bite-sized chapters, in clear, easy and very readable prose. It is a delight to read. The book's three parts explore the why and how of meditation and its many applications in daily life. Many chapters conclude with suggestions for reflection or meditation. It is concentrated wisdom that deserves much rereading and a permanent place on your library shelf.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great complement to Kabat-Zinn's first book., September 14, 2000
    In Jon Kabat-Zinn's first book, Full Catastrophe Living, he details the relationship between stress and health and outlines his program for reclaiming your life. True to his style of revealing the extraordinary aspects of the otherwise ordinary, this book shows the reader how to enrich many day-to-day activities through mindful living.

    I particularly enjoyed the format. The book first introduces the reader to the concept of mindfulness and then it provides short chapters about how mindfulness can be applied to various aspects of life. Making the chapters short and focused on a particular facet allows the reader to quickly read and apply the techniques in a step-wise fashion, incrementally applying mindfulness to different aspects of life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Meditation, April 17, 2005
    I've been looking for information on meditating for quite some time and thankfully I finally found this book. I can't believe it took me as long as it did since this book is a classic.

    The book is broken up into three parts. The first part explains what mediation is, and what it isn't. The second part describes how to go about meditating. Finally the third part describe what you can expect to get out of meditation, and what you can't.

    This is one of the most insightful books I've read on just about any subject. If you are just looking into mediation or have been doing it for years, I'd highly recommend this book ... Read more


    3. Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief
    by Martha W. Hickman
    Paperback
    list price: $10.00 -- our price: $8.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0380773384
    Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 3905
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, here are strength and thoughtful words to inspire and comfort. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Tiny shafts of light in the darkness..., August 13, 2003
    "Healing After Loss" was given to me after the sudden and unexpected death of our 14 year old son in March. The loss is so terrible and unimagined. We have struggled to go through each day without our only child, our wonderful son.
    The friend who gave me the book had lost both her parents and her maternal grandparents within a 10 year span. She actually brought over her own dog-eared copy saying that I needed it now and she didn't have time to get a new one. Since then I have ordered my own as well as copies for my parents, Aunts and Uncles and friends.
    This book has incredibly insight, hope, understanding and some new ideas delivered in small doses (the tiny shafts of light in the darkness). Since concentration levels are so affected during grieving, the one page entries are easy to read or skip, if you need a one that will more fit your moment. With grief, at least for me, it seems like my mood and outlook can change so much within a couple days - this book fills many needs.
    Although my husband hasn't read it like I have, I will now and again give him a page to read that is particularly insightful for us at that moment and it can, however briefly, help him as well.
    At first I read what ever I turned to when I opened it, then I read all the dates that were significant to me, now I am reading it like a daily diary. Last week I was talking to my friend, she has a copy, and although she listened she didn't feel she had an answer for me. Later, she called back giving me a page in the book to read - it was so completely accurate for that moment and feeling - I felt a bit of strength after reading the page.
    I cannot say enough about the author and her grace, strength and ability to comfort. She wrote another very small book called "I Will Not Leave You Desolate" that I would recommend as well.
    If you are purchasing this for yourself, I am so sorry for your loss - I know something of the dark, sad and surreal world that appears without the one you loved. I hope this book can be of some comfort to you as it was for me. Of course this is only one tiny shaft of light in the darkness, but I am grateful for each one. If you are getting it for a friend or family member, bless you and your efforts to be there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a Godsend since I lost my husband two years ago, May 4, 1999
    I was dealing with the devastation and loss of my husband after a fight with the evil cancer. I did not want to live. My whole life changed and I would have done anything to have him back. But, I kept living and I couldn't get him back no matter what. This book has had a profound affect in helping me deal with and get through this painful phase called grieving. The writings of 365 different people and days describes so effectively the feelings and reality of what grief is. I still read it daily. So many of the comparisons hit home. I have bought it for two friends who have recently lost loved ones. I highly recommend it to any grieving person who needs to understand the emotional and painful process they are going through. You aren't alone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Working Through Grief Daily, April 9, 2005
    Is anyone ever ready to lose a love one -- no matter the age or devastation of illness? I know I was not. My husband was and still is a most important person in my life. I felt totally disconnected when he died and still struggle with it daily. If not for this wonderful book of daily meditations, there are days when getting out of bed would have been more than I could do. 6 months after Jack's death, I am now able to occasionally notice the lovely blue sky, hear the birds signing, and feel the sun on my face. My grief therapy is only effective in the slow healing of this grievous wound in my soul with the daily reminders in this compilation by Hickman and being encouraged to recall the wonderfulness of Jack, my husband, my best friend, my life love.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm not alone when I'm with Healing After Loss, October 25, 2003
    My husband of only 19 yrs. died 10 days after a work-related accident. We had no children and the house is so unbelieveably empty. People don't know what to say so they say nothing and leave me grieving alone. Someone gave me her copy of Healing After Loss saying she needed it back when I was thru with it. I had it only a few days when I knew I had to have my own copy. Ms. Hickman is able to identify my feelings and console me thru her words. Her short, but to-the-point, reflections of pain and unbearable loss recognize and validate what I am experiencing and incorporate, without any pressure to 'get over it' quickly, a gentle support like an arm around my shoulders holding me together until I can support myself. Anyone searching for 'the right words' to say to a grief stricken friend or relative should not hesitate to get this small book of special wisdom for their use and that of the bereaved.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comforting, September 19, 2004
    This is a wonderful little book with a thought for each day. It is small enough to keep by the bedside. I found comfort in it, reading a passage each night.

    It makes a nice gift for someone who has suffered a loss. It does not need to be given right away however, as I think people need time to recover from the shock of a loss before considering getting through the grieving process.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great book for anyone in that first year or even beyond!, December 16, 2005
    When I got this book, it had been about 6 months since my husband Joel passed away from cancer. We were only married about 3 years, so the loss is quite devestating.

    I personally have found this book to be wonderful. The first reason is because it is so easy to read. You read a very short page a day! Surely anyone can make time for that.
    Yes, there IS spirituality in this book, but so far, I have not found anything that is militant or overly Christian like other books I have dealt with on the subject of death. I must disagree with a previous reviewer on its overly "Christian" contact. I will warn you, if you are an atheist, you may not want this book. If you follow any path, be it Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, I think you will like this book.
    I also feel it is pretty good at dealing with a very wide range of bereavement, from those who have lost a child, a spouse, a parent, or friend.
    I often find myself highlighting passages in it. I really do like it and I think that every funeral home, hospice, and hospital should carry this to help those who are going home for the first time to a new life without their loved one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a MUST for anyone who has lost a loved one, August 13, 2005
    After using my own copy for 6 months, I purchased multiples to have on hand to give as gifts to others when they suffer a tragic loss. I don't see how anyone can survive the devastation of losing a loved one without having this little book of wisdom at your fingertips to help you get through each day. A big book is overwhelming when you are unable to concentrate on anything for long, but this is broken down into manageable size pieces to read on a daily basis. What helps the most is seeing words in print that exactly describe your feelings and emotions, it makes you aware you are not alone and others are going through the same process. I lost my husband of 41 years suddenly with no warning and no goodbyes, and it still doesn't seem real that he can be gone while I am still here. The most comforting words are the ones that assure us our loved ones are still with us in spirit, we just have to open our minds and hearts to the possibility and it makes everything easier to bear. Two quotes "I will relax into the memory and spiritual presence of my loved one, and feel at peace." "I will open my heart in trust that, in ways I do not now understand, my loved one will continue to be present in my life." And it lets you know it's a long process, and it's okay to take your time to work through it. And it lets you know how healing it is to keep talking about the person you have lost. I keep a yellow highlighter with mine and mark the passages that really speak to me, and I go back and read them over and over. To start with I could only highlight the words of pain and grief, eventually I think I will be able to include the words of hope in the passages for finding reasons to go on - the sun will shine, the flowers will bloom and I will be able to enjoy them again. Words can't convey the debt of gratitude I owe Mrs. Hickman for the comfort and peace I am receiving from her book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!, December 11, 2002
    When I lost my father suddenly a year and five months ago I lost my best friend. Shortly after my Dad's passing, I was walking through Boarders and Books looking for some solace. With my hands full of other "guides" that I never got into, I stumbled upon this book. I have read a passage daily for the last seventeen months and will continue to for some time to come. This book offers an uplifting look at loss. It has helped me to deal with the most difficult of days with grace and hope. Over the last year, I have literally ordered around 25 copies to give to friends who have also lost loved ones. It is poignant and positive. I had never heard of Martha Whitmore Hickman before, but she has truly touched my life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My greatest help for facing grief, July 20, 2001
    In April, 1997 my 37 year old son died from a heart attack. A friend gave this book to me and I consider it the best aid I had for dealing with the profound grief. Friends and family are wonderful but it took this little book to actually force me to do some work and move on. June 11,2001, My dear husband died of a very sudden, no warning heart attack. I have just begun the daily meditations again. I already am feeling the process changing from denial, to one of accepance and I almost feel like I will live again. I want so much to be able to thank the author personally but perhaps this little note will help.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a Godsend, November 3, 2000
    My father passed away recently - and very suddenly at age 54. Our family is very close, and this loss has been devastating for us. The one thing, besides each other, that has been holding us together is this book. My sister, mother, and I take turns reading the passages aloud - sometimes a few times a day - and it seems as though the words are speaking to exactly what we are feeling. I would highly recommend this book for anyone going through the loss of a loved one. Thank you, Martha, for compiling these words for us. ... Read more


    4. Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
    by Maggie Callanan, Patricia Kelley
    Paperback
    list price: $17.00 -- our price: $11.56
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0553378767
    Publisher: Bantam
    Sales Rank: 4014
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Five years after its first publication, with more than 150,000 copies in print, Final Gifts has become a classic. In this moving and compassionate book, hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years experience tending the terminally ill.

    Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts--of wisdom, faith, and love--that the dying leave for the living to share.

    Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, Final Gifts shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comforting, if you don't know what to do..., June 27, 2000
    ....read this book!

    Over the past few years, when faced with the information that someone I'd known was dying, I did - nothing. Retreating, I was terrified of my own mortality and of what I might do if I were around someone who was dying. Would I say the wrong thing or nothing at all? Would I cry, or do something to inadvertently hurt them? What is dying like? This book is great as a comforting instruction manual on what happens, what to do, and what not to do.

    It begins with information about what happens to the body when it is in the process of dying, then moves into experiences the authors have had in dealing with people who are dying, or whose loved ones are dying. They have helpful information throughout the book for those, like me, who were unsure about what to say or do.

    They include individual stories about messages people send when they are approaching death and how not to miss them; seeing people who have already died and what that may mean; symbolic dreams and how to let the dreamer find the meaning; choosing a time to die (not by suicide); waiting for a person to arrive or an event to happen.

    Family and friends often ignore this precious information. It seems illogical, far out, too much like stories about abduction by aliens. We brush them off as hallucinations, caused by denial or possibly drug-induced.

    When I first heard volunteers, nurses and others who work in hospice tell stories of people who have similar Nearing Death Experiences (not to be confused with "Near Death Experiences"), I was dubious. However, in my readings and hospice volunteer work, I find that these stories are universal, timeless and not as new age-y as I'd thought. We've been ignoring these wonderfully soothing stories of how people die, because for years we've moved birthing and dying out of the family and into hospitals. We are beginning to move them back.

    If you've lost a loved one, are dealing with someone who is dying (yourself or someone else), if you avoid visiting friends who are dying or if you're struggling with your own awareness that someday you will die, please read this book. It will put your mind at ease.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life., May 31, 1999
    My father was diagnosed 4 years ago with colon cancer. He endured several operations, many chemotherapy treatments and although he fought to live, he was told in December 98 he had 90 days to live. My aunt bought this book for my mother in December. All 5 children have read it and participated in my fathers death (he passed away on April 23, 1999). This book saved us so much pain and helped the grieving process more than I can say. My dad's final journey was exactly like so many of the trips described in this wonderful book. We helped him pack the car and go home. We miss him terribly but I now believe there is a place much greater than this. (I didn't start reading the book until the afternoon my father was dying and I couldn't believe the things I was seeing before my eyes).

    I feel I learned about a "big secret" that mysterious thing called death. I will never be afraid to go once my time comes. Buy a copy for everyone you know is dealing with a terminal illness. This is not just a book for cancer patients or elderly people.

    These two woman (and the hospice program) deserve a medal. Thank you for soothing our broken hearts. Bless you all!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read BEFORE death is imminent... change lives and deaths, January 5, 2004
    "Final Gifts" was suggested to me after I spoke to an old friend who called to talk to me after being told he had a week to live. There were many gems within which helped me to communicate well with him and his wife (another close friend) in his final week of life.

    I am very grateful I was able to read this as my friend was dying instead of after he was gone. I strongly suggest people begin reading this book as soon as they know death is possible: before it is imminent.

    We need to demystify the dying process and stop being afraid of it. This book does a great service in that direction.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ - BEFORE OR AS IT HAPPENS, December 13, 1999
    My mother died of ovarian cancer at age 62 in June '98 after 8 long years of fighting. One of the hospice nurses recommended this book before she went into hospice care. I read it, my sister read it and my mother's husband read it before my mom died. Words cannot express the comfort, knowledge and insight it gave us. My sister and I were with mom everynight at the hospice for about 1-1/2 months. We hung onto her every word. Don't ever let anyone tell you that what the dying are saying is nonsence and gibberish. She said some really amazing things that, thanks to the enlightenment of the book, we completely understood. It was uncanny. Every family member should read this book if possible BEFORE the end comes. It helped us more than words can say. Also, I must say hospice care is the way to go, it is SO much better than a hospital. My aunt and Grandmother died in hospitals, of cancer. If we had only known then what we know now.......

    God bless all of you who are struggling with this issue. I wish you strength.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Empowering and comforting, May 27, 2002
    Final Gifts is the best and most practical book I've ever read.

    What I appreciate most about the book is that it is empowering and comforting to both the loved ones of the dying and the dying themselves. In fact, I own 3 copies of Final Gifts and I loan them out to friends, family and acquaintances when I hear they have a loved one who is dying. To a person, they have returned the book to me and said it dramatically changed their lives and their perspective on how to approach their loved one and his/her death.

    The book is about the gifts that the loved one has to pass on to the survivors (and vice versa), even when it may seem the dying person is incoherent or drugged beyond understanding (this is often when he/she needs to communicate most). In a nutshell, Final Gifts encourages caretakers and visitors to pay attention to the communications of the dying, to learn the communication methods of the dying (they often use symbols to communicate--the authors explain how to decipher these), and to acknowledge that the dying need those around him/her to be honest about the situation and encourage openness in their communication.

    The book is also very comforting in its description of numerous case studies observed by the two authors. They explain what the dying experience (it's actually very positive) and how to let go.

    EVERYONE should read this book. EVERYONE--regardless of educational level (it's a fast and easy read), personal or professional background.

    When you don't know how to help someone whose loved one is dying, give them this book. I promise, it will help them and comfort them beyond measure.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent and Beautifully Written Book, July 5, 2001
    I took a college class on Death and Dying a few years back and this was one of the books we were required to read. I can honestly say that it really changed my view of dying in a positive way. It was not the easiest book I've ever read (I still remember reading it on my lunch break and crying right in the middle of a very busy Wendy's restaurant), but definitely one of the most useful. I can't tell you how many people I have loaned this to - people who have just experienced death, and those who are caring for a loved one who is near death. In fact, I bought a copy of this book and donated it to my church in hopes that others will find comfort in reading it. The people I have loaned it to who had already lost a loved one said they wished they would have read it sooner so they could have better understood the stages their loved one went through before passing away. Needless to say, my original copy from college is pretty dog-eared, so I'm going to buy another for myself and one to have around when a friend needs it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Must Read, December 4, 2002
    A friend of my mother sent us this book while we were spending the final weeks of my father's life taking care of him at home. We had hospice services but they came nowhere near touching on our emotional needs as caregivers. Mom was a nurse and intellectually knew what to expect physically through the dying process. This book helped both of us tremendously. Anyone going through caring and slowly losing someone with a terminal illness needs to read this book. It helps give you the courage to say what needs to be said. You'll still have grief but hopefully, less regrets and more understanding. Dad went through every phase of death, like textbook, as I had read in the book. He died on a Wednesday and we knew the weekend before it would be his last weekend with us. Giving final gifts is the last opportunity to give the best of your love to someone while you still can. This is a book to keep extra copies of to give to someone who needs it when you don't know exactly what to say.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A Tad Sugar -Coated?, September 27, 2007
    I hate to be a wet blanket because so many people have drawn so much strength from this book. I found it to be extremely helpful in learning to listen to the symbolic language of dying people--a perspective that, in itself, is worth the read. It troubles me, however, that almost all of the deaths were reported as peaceful, even joyous, that almost all family members were healthy and fulfilled. Most of the dying people were young, smart, and/or extremely articulate.

    I would have appreciated an account that included the not-so-pretty experiences of death--the ambiguous, ambivalent, hard, messy parts.
    Including those pieces would have made the book more helpful.

    The interventions of the authors were somehow just too neat and tidy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars PLEASE buy this book if you know someone who is dying, June 14, 2001
    There are some who say that the utterings of a dying person are the "morphine" talking- and this book helps you to see that is not at all the case. I just lost my mom to cancer and the insight and suggestions given in this book helped me to gain enormous peace as a result of the conversations I had with my mom in the days before she died. As someone who is terminally ill gets close to the time they will die, they say things that seem to make no sense. Had I not read this book, I would have let go of opportunities to learn from my mom in the days before she left us. The book essentially guides you in how to take the comments made by the patient and go with them- to get the patient to tell you more. As a result of this book I was able to learn that my mom- who all her life had been terrified of dying- had seen God and knew she was going to be all right. The book also tells you what to expect in terms of what occurs in the patient as they near death: both physically, psychologically, and spiritually. If you have someone in your life who is dying- buy this book. It helped me to talk with my mom through her utterings and see that she was at peace as she approached her own death. I can't say enough good things about this book- it is well worth the money. Even though your loved one is gone, when you have communicated with the dying, you gain a peace about where they have gone that can't be matched- as a direct result of working with what they said and what they experienced and saw as they approached death.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Release, December 14, 1999
    I was lucky: a friend, a hospice volunteer, gave me a copy of this book during the last six months of my father's life. (He passed away in December 1996, while in hospice care, of complications of lymphoma and pancreatic cancer.) I read the book in a day or two, and immediately passed it on to my mother, brother, uncle. We were all with him at the end and we were able to let him go with understanding and dignity. It was again helpful three months later when my 98 year old grandmother passed away. This book has been so helpful that I now keep copies on hand for friends facing the same struggle. I even gave copies to my ministers in hopes that they will gain from it personally as well as pass it to others facing the loss of loved ones. Read it before you need it, and then read it again. ... Read more


    5. Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
    by David Dosa
    Hardcover
    list price: $23.99 -- our price: $16.31
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1401323235
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 3271
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    A remarkable cat. A special gift. A life-changing journey.

    They thought he was just a cat.

    When Oscar arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island he was a cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy. Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It wasn't long before Oscar had created something of a stir.

    Apparently, this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he knows instinctively when the end of life is near.

    Oscar is a welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are living with Alzheimer's. But he never spends much time with them--until they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar strides purposely into a patient's room, curls up on the bed, and begins his vigil. Oscar provides comfort and companionship when people need him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it's time to say good-bye.

    Oscar's gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy away from.

    Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor who learned how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of humor and pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen from the outside, a world we often misunderstand.

    Praise for Making Rounds With Oscar

    "I love this book -- Oscar has much to teach us about empathy and courage. I couldn't put it down."
    -Sarah Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

    "At its heart, Dosa's search is more about how people cope with death than Oscar's purported ability to predict it."
    -The Associated Press

    "Beautifully written, heartwarming [...] Told with profound insight and great respect for all involved, this is more than just a cat story (although it will appeal to fans of Vicki Myron's Dewey)."
    -Library Journal

    "You'll be moved."
    -People

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars A very special cat, January 28, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Oscar is one of several cats who live at Steere House nursing home. All of these cats provide companionship and love for the residents, but only Oscar has the special talent of being able to sense when people are nearing the end of their lives. The nurses were the first ones to figure it out as they noticed how frequently he showed up just at the right time.

    No one knows how he does it, but when he detects that someone is near dying, he takes up residence on their bed and usually stays until the funeral director comes to collect the body. During this time, he also offers comfort to the family who are there to be with their loved one during this transition. When there's no one to sit with the patient, Oscar maintains a solitary vigil. No one dies alone on Oscar's watch.

    People who love their pets probably won't question Oscar's abilities, but one of the doctors who works there was a bit of a skeptic. This book is the result of his interviews with family members and staff who shared their experiences with him. Over and over they told Dr. Doza how much the gift of Oscar's presence had meant to them during a very difficult time. Most people who have cats know the comfort they can bring when they curl up next to you in bed and share their warmth. It's as if Oscar's being there normalizes the events and removes some of the fears.

    All of the patients on Oscar's floor are in the final stages of dementia, usually due to Alzheimer's. Experience and research have shown that two things are often able to break through the haze that envelops them - music and animals. In the process of telling Oscar's story, Dr. Doza also gives us insight into this very scary disease. If raising a child is about watching them learn skills, living with an Alzheimer's patient is the opposite - they are slowly unlearning them. Each loss is a form of good-bye. While this book doesn't make the disease any less scary, it does offer comfort and hope for those affected by it.

    We may never know just how it works - how Oscars knows just the right time to show up. Maybe all we really need to know is just that he does.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Even better than you think!, February 1, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    OK so here is this book with this cool cat on the cover, and you think there is something neat about the whole concept. Maybe you have already heard there is this cat that knows when people are going to die. Well, it's way more than that. This book, written by a doctor who is not actually a cat person, is more of a tribute to those creatures, human as well as feline, who allow advanced dementia patients to die with dignity.

    I imagine that Steere House will not be lacking for residents after this moving depiction. Needless to say, it is heart-wrenching for any family member to place his/her loved one in a nursing home, probably more so when the loved one has dementia. What a gift to know that Steere House exists, where the staff is compassionate, even loving, and treats their residents like family. Where a cat moved in while the building was still under construction, and the management took it as a sign that animals were meant to live there along with the patients. Personally, I find dementia to be a pretty scary topic and generally try not to think about it. The author is a geriatrician who makes it real, even if still mysterious. He interviews family members who speak courageously and honestly about losing their loved ones, and how it helped to have Oscar there at the end.

    I learned that hospice is not just for the very end of life, and it is about much more than medical care.

    I learned that people who refuse to eat at the natural end of their lives are not starving themselves.

    I learned that there is a lot we don't know about dementia, but we are learning more all the time.

    Dr. Sosa writes in a very easy, straightforward style. His patients and their families are very lucky people.

    I can't recommend this book highly enough. It made me laugh and, yes, cry, but mostly it just made me feel better in general. Losing a loved one to dementia is about the most horrible experience one can contemplate, but afer reading this book I feel like I could cope. And Oscar is a pretty amazing cat too.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Misleading Title, February 4, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    I loved geriatrician David Dosa's 2007 essay in the New England Journal of Medicine -- about Oscar the cat, who by then had seemingly predicted, within hours, the impending deaths of dozens of residents on the dementia unit of a Rhode Island nursing home. He'd been dubbed the "grim reap-purr" and I was thrilled to see MAKING THE ROUNDS WITH OSCAR: THE EXTRAORDINARY GIFT OF AN ORDINARY CAT and, from that title, eager to read what promised to be an expansion of the essay. So first, to be clear: this book is not much about the cat.

    In fact, there might be a mere cumulative total of 20 pages about Oscar. Rather, the book is one part memoir of the doctor and his geriatric practice; one part profile of the dementia unit's charge nurse; and eight parts profiles of the residents and their families, with a dollop about the end-of-life comfort provided to them by Oscar. Nor does Dosa explore (beyond a couple sentences) the source of Oscar's instinct -- the theories and research about the physiology of dying and animals' amazing sense abilities.

    That said, I'm going to take a sharp turn and say that I liked the book it actually *is*, and that it's an important book for the elderly and (especially) their caregivers to read. Dosa is frank about the fear, denial, frustration and guilt inherent in caregiving generally, and specifically in losing a loved one in "the long goodbye" of dementia. He touches on the inadequacies of doctors and the healthcare system and the importance of realistic end-of-life directives. And there are takeaways: that simple diversion is more effective than trying to reign someone in from their altered reality; that it's important to interact according to who the person is now (in dementia) rather than who they were; and that it's most important to simply "be there" rather than necessarily interacting at all. Recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dying Slowing With Dementia......., January 30, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    The cover of this book has a beautiful photo of Oscar, who is a resident kitty at Steere House nursing home. Oscar has the same gifts as most animals: an understanding of two different dimensions and life unfolding in each one of them. There is no death. But he serves to guide the spirit to the other side with dignity and compassion.

    Now, if you think this book is really about Oscar and his abilities, you'd be wrong. It's really a way for the author to make us aware of the chronic diseases called Alzheimer's, Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). Even more so, it's an understanding that people do not recover from these diseases and should be able to pass into spirit with grace. The behavior of the caretakers; children, spouses, siblings, etc., has been brought under a microscope throughout the book. We see their helplessness, fear and unacceptance to let go. They're wrong to argue for more tests and treatments. They're lost in a sea of chaotic emotion.

    I'm a big believer in end-of-life choices and releasing souls with honor. Anyone who is in or will soon be in a position of caretaker, will absorb great wisdom from this author's words and advice. I praise him for bringing this crucial issue to the forefront and for running this motif throughout the book.

    If it weren't for Oscar, this book would not have been written. We owe our gratitude to the enlightened one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars PURRFECT in Every Way, February 2, 2010
    On July 27, 2007 Oscar the amazing cat who seemed to be able to predict the imminent death of patients at Steere House Nursing and Rehab Center in Providence, Rhode Island made the AP news . Oscar was a stray cat that began to wander the construction site of the current facility, and one day, shortly after the dedication ceremony, he decided to take a tour of the completed facility....."At first the staff tried to shoo the animal away, to no avail, each day the cat returned undaunted, through the lobby's sliding glass doors. His attitude was one of entitlement." He was finally allowed to stay and named Oscar after the building's benefactor.

    Oscar was not the only animal that resided at the nursing home. Steere House was unlike other nursing homes in the area. At Steere House, several cats, rabbits and birds resided there, and the residents seemed to enjoy having them there as well. Oscar had not been a very sociable cat during his first year at the nursing and rehab center. He was not one to cuddle up to staff residents or family members. However, one day they found him laying on the bed, purring next to Mrs. Davis, a dementia patient. Dr.Dosa, who was not fond of cats, went to pet Oscar and he hit his hand with his paw refusing to budge from the bed. The doctor examined Mrs Davis, and then left the facility, and about one hour latter the nurse called Dr. Dosa to let him know that Mrs. Davis had passed away. The doctor could not believe what he was hearing; he just left his patent.

    Mary, the charge nurse, told Dr. Dosa that this behavior and pattern of Oscars, was not new. In fact it had happened 5-6 times before. The patients were examined, no staff members sensed anything was wrong, and then Oscar would enter the room and sit vigil on the bed of the resident. After a few hours all of these patients peacefully passed away. Suddenly doctors and staff took notice, as to who Oscar choose to visit, and it wasn't long before Oscar had created quite a stir. This ordinary cat instinctively seemed to know when the end of life was near.

    MY THOUGHTS - I LOVED this book, and not just because I love cats -- it's full of beautiful quotes about cats, and the story just made me feel good all over. Dr. Dosa has written a book that compassionately addresses end of life issues. The stories he shares about residents and their families who must deal with such painful issues such as Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia, and terminal illness, are tender and heartfelt. The book cites amazing examples of unexpected deaths, as well as miracles in other residents who had been expected to die. There is valuable information about hospice, and the book even touches on that expression "the sweet smell of death", and how perhaps Oscar, may have been able to smell elevated level of chemical compounds which are believed to be released as cells die off." If you like to read tender stories about amazing animals, or need a touching, compassionate read about life, death and dying, this book will not disappoint you. Dewey the Small - Town Library Cat may have touched the world in 2008, but more over Dewey, Oscar is the cat everyone will be talking about in 2010. READ THIS BOOK it's AWESOME! (5/5 stars)

    4-0 out of 5 stars More about the last days of dementia than Oscar the Cat, February 5, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    Making the Rounds with Oscar is a thoughtful memoir-type book about what the end of the road is like for patients with dementia in a nursing home. The author makes a point of stating his book is NOT an actual memoir, that names are changed and certain families are composites. Dr Dosa's first person perspective is not uniformly adhered to. The timeline is a little muddled.

    None of these small matters detract from the apparent storyline - Making the Rounds with Oscar certainly reads like a memoir, and a decent one too. The reader slowly falls in love with the extended family at Steere House; a family that includes patients, staff, the patients' stricken (and desperately deluded) family members - and, of course - the resident cats of the end-stage dementia third floor of Steere House.

    Oscar, the cat who is nominally the star of the book, makes his rare, mysterious, but well timed appearances at the very end of a patient's life.

    I wanted more cat story. More about Oscar and Maya and even the first floor cats. The book sells itself as a story about an ordinary cat with an extraordinary gift for zeroing in on the moment of human death.

    Was this to market the 223-page book towards animal lovers, cat fanciers and paranormal-junkies?

    In reality the book is more about the final stages for Alzheimer's patients: how doctors, nurses and families make choices in handling this incurable disease when the last possible surgical options offer no real hope. Dr Dosa deals daily with heartbroken husbands and irrationally rationalizing children.

    The doctor and his nurses grapple with the philosophical implications of caring for a patient whose body stills hangs on, long after the personality flew far, far away.

    This is deep and interesting stuff, and well worth reading for families finding themselves faced with dementia in a loved one. Some pearls of wisdom in learning to cope are scattered in peoples' stories (learning to playact, surrounding the loved one with sensory input that just reaches past the failed memory barrier, celebrating the small victories without getting carried away about a cure that will never come). I will absolutely buy a copy of this book for any friend with a parent diagnosed with dementia.

    Which leads me to my four stars, instead of a possible five. I was expecting a book mostly about this cat and his antics in a nursing home. Nowhere in the publicity for the book, or in the blub, is the single-minded focus on Alzheimer's even mentioned.

    The official book marketing buzz centers squarely on the enigmatic cat who slithers in from the sidelines to claim a vigil over his ailing, failing patients. Oscar is one of those cats who won't seek attention from strangers, choosing to stay curled up against the dying. Though a series of family interviews performed by Dr Dosa, we see this tabby is uncannily accurate about who is actually dying on the third floor. Oscar treats his charges in the best way he knows - never allowing someone to die alone. His rounds are considered more accurate than the prognostications of both nurses and doctors in Steere House.

    Dr Dosa does his best Scully as he interviews the bereaved about Oscar's vigils over the dying. In the end, he wants to believe. That the book spends 85% of the pages on dementia and 15% on Oscar is perhaps to be expected. Dr Dosa could not exactly interview the cat.

    What we are left with is a book about dealing with dementia, in a unique framework of a nursing home with a special feline who provides comfort to those passing on. Kudos for the book, in what help and understanding it can bring to grieving families, and for showcasing the kindness and compassion of one very alert cat.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lessons for All Caregivers of Parents and Other Loved Ones, February 3, 2010
    I won't repeat the summaries or insights given by previous good reviewers. I just want to add what this book did for me. This book helped me to better understand, appreciate, and have patience with those aspects of my elderly mother's character and behavior that have been most persistently frustrating to me.

    About 3 years ago, my husband and I brought my 87 year old frail mother into our family to live with us for the rest of her life, and she fell and broke her neck, necessitating major surgery, shortly after she came to us. The recovery and life together since has been more rewarding but also more frustrating and taxing than we ever could have imagined. Although she does not have any form of senility, and in fact remains one of the smartest people I've ever known, she is often very frustratingly reckless and uncooperative in her health and wellness care, and that takes a huge toll on those who love her, especially me and my siblings. At times I have found myself more consumed with worry and frustration than love and enjoyment. At times I've felt like the mother who lives with me is not the mother who raised me -- especially when she says or does things that she always taught us not to do.

    Making Rounds with Oscar has taught me to enjoy the mother I have today without forsaking the mother I thought I had yesterday. It has taught me to respect her for who she is, even when she endangers or neglects herself despite my husband's and my "due diligence." It has taught me to experience "the moment" for what it is without regret for the past or fear for the future.

    In fact, I think any adult child who has any worthwhile relationship with his/her parent should memorize the list of considerations at the end of the book. I'm thankful Dr. Dosa reminded me that part of "honoring" my mother is to honor her today as well as yesterday.

    One of the most practical insights this book gave me was the reassurance that care giving for the elderly takes an enormous toll on the care giver, and that is not selfish but even beneficial for me to seek relief help even as my mother insists she does not need it and cannot afford it. I need it and therefore she needs it. Thankfully, her depression-era estimation of being unable to afford it and the realities of the support my father left her are not the same.

    Whether your elderly loved one has dementia or not, whether you care about pets or not, whether you believe Oscar can sense impending death and acts in compassion or not, anyone who loves someone nearing the end of his/her life can benefit from this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this book down., February 21, 2010
    I received this book in the mail on Friday, and by Sunday evening had finished it with tears in my eyes. Not only am I an animal lover, but I have worked with dementia patients in the past. I had the opportunity to see firsthand how going through something like this affects not only the patients, but the families as well. I certainly would hope that a loving presence like Oscar will be there for my loved ones or myself if that were to happen to anyone of us. I would highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A definite read - especially for those who have family with dementia, February 1, 2010

    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What's this?)
    What an adorable book! Dr. Dosa does a marvelous job in taking us through the world of dementia, how it affects the patients, as well as the family. But the cat, Oscar, is the star of the show. How he instinctively knows when a patient is going to pass away is almost uncanny. I have had cats that know when you're sick and will come and sit with you until you're better, but I can't say I've ever known one that knew when someone was about to die. It is a comforting tale of a very special cat, one that brings comfort to all he meets. The nursing home described in the book, Steere House, in Rhode Island, sounds like a wonderful place for folks to spend out their last few years. They have cats, rabbits and birds throughout the home, which provides comfort for the residents.

    One the things I particularly appreciated about the book was the detailed look at the effects of Alzheimer's from a physcian's point-of-view, as well as early-onset arthritis. When you are in the situation, you don't always get this "in-depth" explanation from your physician, which is exactly what you need. It's also very refreshing to hear the medical viewpoint on end-of-life decisions - whether a family member should be on full code, or just left alone to pass away quietly. Just wish I would have had this book a few years ago for a family member. It seems as if we know so little about dementia until we're actually thrust there through experience. I'm very glad to have read this book - it will definitely delight you and make you cry at the same time. Great, great book, I enjoyed it very much. Highly recommend!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heart Warming, February 22, 2010
    This book is about so much more than the extraordinary powers of Oscar the cat. It is about the compassionate Dr. Dosa and his caring staff at Steere House. It also gives a strong voice to Dementia and the damage and confusion it causes the elderly and their loved ones. I liked Dr. Dosa's approach in interviewing family members of deceased patients in an attempt to get a better understanding of Oscar's work. Dr. Dosa has to be one of the most down to earth and selfless doctors in this country. Although he can find no medical explanation for Oscar's abilities, he still recognizes that this beautiful creature provides a very necessary service to the Steere House patients and their families. To die alone has to be one of the harshest realities. To watch a loved one die is absolute agony. I just hope Oscar's fame encourages more geriatric medical facilities to add animals to their wards in some capacity. I can only hope that an animal as sensitive and caring as Oscar is around when it is my time to go.

    Oscar is truly an amazing cat. This wonderful creature makes sure no one dies alone or grieves alone on his watch. In return, he earns the eternal gratitude of the families...not to mention some well earned affection. Some of the patients' family members were alone when their loved ones were dying and having Oscar there gave them great comfort. Some patients had no family left and would have died alone if not for Oscar's presence.

    This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. If you have ever lost a loved one to Alzheimers or Dementia, this book will give you insight on their suffering. If you have ever felt the unconditional love of a pet, you will come to love Oscar. If you feel that all doctors lack compassion, Dr. Dosa will prove you wrong. Please read this book, it may restore your faith in miracles. ... Read more


    6. When Bad Things Happen to Good People
    by Harold S. Kushner
    Paperback
    list price: $11.95 -- our price: $8.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1400034728
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 5207
    Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and that he would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God?Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes.Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.
    Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions of readers and its author has become a nationally known spiritual leader.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully-written perspective on God, life and suffering, July 7, 2000
    In a time when so many people are striving for an explanation of why their lives turn out a certain way, or why things (good or bad) happen to them, the expressions "it's all part of God's plan," "everything happens for the best," or "it just wasn't meant to be," and so on, have became a little tiresome. In "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," Rabbi Harold S. Kushner offers a refreshing point of view that differs from those who think everything occurs on earth because God wants it that way, and at the same time provides a surprising comfort in the fact that events actually can, and do, take place for no reason at all.

    I read the original version of this book in the early 80's (several times since), and what struck me was that Rabbi Kushner was able to reconcile a common Judeo-Christian view of God and causality with a perspective of life that holds a place for randomness and happenstance. Yes! Things happen in life that God has nothing to do with, and there is a way to find peace in accepting this. For those who enjoy contemplating and discussing the purpose of life, faith, and good & bad, you MUST read this book . . . then set aside some more time for thought and conversation.

    If you've ever experienced the untimely loss of a loved one, or been through any traumatizing life experience, get this book. It is personal, thought-provoking, well-written, and very easy to understand. I am certain you will find comfort.

    If you're just simply interested in learing about God and the meaning of things in your life from a wonderful man and a great writer, get this book. Without intending to write a best-seller (read his Preface), Rabbi Kushner was able to put into words what I had been trying to figure out (despite loads of "help" from others) concerning God, how we should relate to Him, and what to do about all the things that happen to us during our lives.

    This book is important; I give it my highest recommendation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars INSPIRING!!! EYE-OPENING!!! INSIGHTFUL!!!, August 17, 1999
    I just finished reading this book by Rabbi Kushner. It was an easy book to read and understand. I recently experienced the loss of my beloved brother. He was 36 years old and a murder victim. I am a practicing Catholic and I never questioned God. However, I found myself wondering why this had to happen to us. My brother was just an innocent bystander. A victim of being at that wrong place at the wrong time. Rabbi Kushner's book opened my eyes. His book offered me comfort and let me understand my faith a little better.

    I highly recommend this book to all who question God. If you find yourself asking, "How could there be a God when bad things happen to good people?" get this book ASAP!! Rabbi Kushner offers a logical and intelligent answer to this question. He makes sense. If you think you are not a religious person this book will change that.

    I am passing this book onto my mother. I know this will bring her comfort.

    Thank you Rabbi Kushner for this wonderful insightful book. It has helped me with my grieving!

    GOD BLESS YOU!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic of profound knowledge..., December 26, 2002
    When I faced incredible loss a few years ago, I was amazed at the insensitive words my so-called friends offered in their "compassion", words that cut me right to the bone of my soul. It seemed that my grief was a burden for many. I painfully watched many of my closest friends distance themselves from me and even resent me for the tragedy and emotion that I had no control over. I questioned my feelings, my thoughts, and even my faith.

    This book is a comfort for all people who have been forced to swallow such stupid sentiments in their times of grief and loss. It is an exploration of how we comfort each other in such terrifying times, and the dumb mistakes we make. Most of these sentiments wax on about God, why He created a world in which such pain exists: Is this all part of a greater good, a higher order? Is God testing you, expanding your soul for your own good? Has He taken your loved ones to a better place? This book gets right to the heart of the matter, that people in fact say such things as disguised justification for their own lack of understanding. They say things in defense of God to keep their world in order and the senseless tragedy in your life out of theirs. For example, someone might tell you, "God gave this grief to you as a test, because He loved you so very much, and knew you would become a better person for it," (to which the author replies, "If only I had been a weaker person, my daughter would still be alive.")

    And yet, author Harold Kushner weaves this with a deep exploration of God and how He helps us and loves us. This is no cheap excuse for shallow religion. The knowledge Kushner shares has obviously been earned through incredible personal pain. You will never feel like some therapist is philosophizing about some subject they know nothing about - this is the Real Deal. Kushner makes no apologies or defense for his anger and pain, and fearlessly questions the ways we comfort each other, and God Himself. Having lost my own faith for a time, I found every word in this book deeply satisfying, the logic pure. Strong recommendation for anyone with deep pain in their life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Still amazingly relevant!, September 11, 2006
    Heard the taped version of WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO
    GOOD PEOPLE by Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi . . . although
    written some 25 years ago, it is still amazingly relevant . . . and, in
    fact, it was reissued in 2001 with a new preface by the author.

    Kushner originally wrote the book when faced with his own
    child's fatal illness . . . it deals with death and, also, with
    other situations where evil enters our life . . . though it gives
    no easy answers, WHEN BAD THINGS got me thinking about
    with this one particular bit of advice . . . he urges people not to
    ask why all the time, but instead ask this question: What can
    I do now?

    What Kushner has to say applies to people of all religious
    faiths . . . I urge you to get a copy of this short book . . . like
    me, you'll want to go through it more than once.

    There were many worthwhile tidbits; among them:
    * God never gives you more than you can bear.

    * We can't make sense of God's thoughts by saying it is God's will.

    * Things of nature don't make exceptions for good people.

    * We suffer because we misuse our power to choose.

    * God intervenes when in a tragedy, he takes ordinary people
    and has them behave in an extraordinary way.

    * If you know somebody who has been hurt, reach out to him
    or her.

    * People don't want theology, they want reassurance.

    * When we most need it, God gives us more strength.

    * You have no control of the past. You have a lot of control over
    the future.

    And, lastly, this one:
    God has given us the tools to live meaningfully in an unfair and
    unpredictable world.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful In Times Of Trouble, October 11, 2005
    I had heard about this book and had looked at it, but I didn't read it until 2003 when I was disagnosed with cancer. This book really helped me deal with the diagnosis and treatment. I've been recommending this book ever since then. I gave a copy to a friend of mine whose husband died of cancer and now I am sending it to my niece & her husband, who has cancer.

    This book has a good philosophy. Sometimes things happen for no reason. God is not sitting in heaven sending us bad things. God loves us and cares about us when bad things happen.

    Rabbi Kushner says that when bad things happen, we'll ask, "God, why did you let this happen to me?" when a better response is to say, "God, help me with this".

    This book helps the reader to remember that when we are dealing with any type of loss, e.g., loss of a loved one, loss of health, loss of home, God loves us and will help us deal with our loss.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An honest, probing Reconstructionist examination., December 18, 2003
    Rabbi Harold Kushner takes a hard look at difficult issues in "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." Written out of his own personal grief and struggle with spirituality, this book is an important and groundbreaking reassessment of what it means to believe in a god and how to reconcile that belief to the cold fact that horrible things happen in this world on a daily basis. This is the fundamental tension of religion, and Kushner approaches it from an original and profound perspective.

    Kushner is a Reconstructionist Jew and a former student of Reconstructionism's founder, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. Reconstructionist Judaism examines spirituality from a metaphorical perspective, seeing God as the impulse in us that brings out our best traits and leads to live honestly and ethically. It does not see God as an all-powerful father figure in the sky, interfering in people's lives and letting things like the Holocaust happen for a "reason." It is, in other words, a religious worldview that takes a more mature, probing approach to divinity than the standard "God controls everything and we cannot understand His ways" religious line. There are numerous precedents for the Reconstructionist view in Jewish history.

    Thus the negative reviews here from fundamentalist Christians, who believe every word of the Bible literally (though they can't be bothered to actually read it) and are unable to consider the thought of a more abstract god because their entire intellectual and spiritual house of cards would collapse. This sort of "God-is-my-protective-daddy" view inevitably forces people of this mindset into a state of denial, obfuscation, and pretzel logic when they try to explain or defend their faith--even to themselves.

    "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" is an enormously powerful book which offers a vital glimpse into a more humane and compassionate view of God. I recommend it to everybody.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this book both times!, December 5, 2006
    I bought this book once upon a time when I was still married and my then husband's best friend was living with us. The best friend was suffering through a divorce. I purchased this book for him, to help ease his pain.

    I ended up reading it before actually giving it to the friend. My husband made fun of me for reading a 'present'.

    I went out and purchased it myself after going through my own divorce.

    I've has such issues with my faith, because I find so many to be blindly stuck in their ways afraid to ask questions, only saying that mantra,"God has his reasons." To this I always want to tell them what they are full of...

    This book is not afraid to ask the questions that matter and while it doesn't give you black and white answers, it just basically lets you know that 'stuff' happens! It's a very good book, no matter what your religion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible! Loss is NOT your fault!, February 4, 2001
    For anyone who has suffered loss of any kind, ever doubted your faith, ever wondered why God didn't stop the pain, WATCH THIS VIDEO. Without a doubt the best message on how to deal with loss, grief and recovery. More powerful than reading the book. Dr. Kushner is down to earth, easy to understand and even more important, has experienced a tragic loss in his own life that led to his realization of the mistakes that are made by friends and family (and himself as a rabbi) trying to help with the grief process. Whether you are experiencing loss of any kind, or want to help someone who is, this is the perfect video.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant in its simplicity, August 9, 1999
    Elegant in its simplicity, this book will provide comfort and a sense of hope in the face of loss. Rabbi Kushner works through examples from personal experiences, including the illness and death of his son, to help develop an understanding of how we can live with the fact that bad things happen to good people. This book helped widden my understanding of prayer, relationship to community, and how God and religion can play a crucial role in the healing process. The author helped me to understand how I can pray so that the good in me lives on, even in the face of inevitable loss that is a part of life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read when searching for God after a loss., March 20, 2004
    After the recent loss of my infant daughter, I was searching for answers and trying hard to stay connected to God and continue to believe in Him. Being faced with the death of an otherwise perfectly healthy baby it was very difficult to believe that

    1. God is a good, loving God.
    2. God is a just/fair God.
    3. God controls everything.

    How could God be fair and good when he would take the life of an innocent child? Why, if God controls everything, and is good, would he not spare this precious life? Why, if God is fair, would he "punish" this little girl with months of pain and suffering before her ultimate death?

    For anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, particularly a child, this is a powerful book. Rabbit Kushner has addressed these painful questions with clarity and love for God. He uses the bible to back up his analysis and tells his story in a manner that everyone can understand. He also speaks to the horrible things that so many people, who think they are helping, say to those who have lost a loved one.

    What matters is not so much if one agrees with Rabbi Kushner's analysis, it matters that he puts forth a way to stay close to God while working through your grief. At this time, I choose to agree with Rabbi Kushner's analysis. For all those who wish to tell me it is incorrect, I know they do not have my best interest at heart. Staying close and connected to God and not turning from him must be my goal. If I cannot at this time reconcile what I thought to be true with my reality, and it causes me to turn away from God or question God, nothing else matters. Anything that can help me continue love and give praise to God while I continue to work through my grief is valuable.

    I commend Rabbi Kushner and consider this book a must read for anyone who has suffered a loss. ... Read more


    7. A Grief Observed
    by C. S. Lewis
    Paperback
    list price: $11.99 -- our price: $9.59
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    Isbn: 0060652381
    Publisher: HarperOne
    Sales Rank: 3380
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In this classic trial of faith, C. S. Lewis probes the fundamental issues of life and death, and summons those who grieve to honest mourning and hope in the midst of loss. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Difficult, but somehow comforting for those in grief, May 12, 2001
    Lewis' book (journal, really) captures the feeling of those in grief, there is no doubt about that. June 16, 2000 my wife left this life, 8 weeks to the day after our first child was born. In the midst of our struggle, there were several books that my family and I found comfort in, and this book was one of them.

    I rated this book 4 stars because it's difficult. It's not difficult to read, it doesn't contain long arguments or technical language. The content is hard for those in the throws of grief. And yet it is somehow comforting to know that you're not alone, the feelings that you feel aren't the signs of insanity. I remember several times thinking I was going insane, that I'd finally lost it...only to read those exact thoughts from Lewis' journal.

    Lewis' experience with grief was different from mine, too. I suppose everyone's is different in some way. Lewis is angry with God, and he struggles with his faith. He explains that it wasn't that he was in danger of losing his belief in God, but that he "was in danger of coming to believe such terrible things about him." You may identify with Lewis' words, and I truly believe you'll find comfort in this book.

    If I may, I would like to recommend another book for those who suffer and those in ministry to the suffering, as well. Nicholas Wolterstorff's LAMENT FOR A SON captures the intimate details of grief, and in many ways I identified more with Wolterstorff than I did with Lewis.

    For those who've lost, this book is a difficult and yet rewarding right of passage. You travel down the narrow path, on hallowed ground. You make a journey that those who haven't made cannot speak of, and you can find comfort in the experience of those who travel with you.

    For those in ministry, this book is an excellent insight into the pain of those to whom you minister. Lewis attempts to coldly analyze his grief, and in the end he cannot. He simply expresses his grief without even attempting to gloss over it. The information you can glean from this book for your ministry is immeasurable.

    God bless you as you travel down this long and painful road. Remember, as Lewis did, the hope that will sustain you: God who raises the dead. The journey is difficult, but in the end we will see and hold them again. God be with you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite CS Lewis book..., July 19, 2000
    After having read several of Lewis' books, I read "A Grief Observed" which quickly became my favorite. It is his journal - and almost too personal - where you bear witness to Lewis' progress as he sloughs his way through the deep mire of sorrow and grief.

    In the first pages of the book, he tells of going to God, seeking relief from the agony he feels in his heart over the fresh loss of his beloved wife, Helen Joy, only to find - the door slammed and the sound of the door being bolted and doubled bolted from the inside.

    He rails against God and his faith is stirred to its core.

    In the end, he finds his way back to God, but it is not an easy journey or a primrose path.

    For all of Lewis' intellectual reasonings and scholarly attainments, I find "A Grief Observed" to be his best work because it comes from the very heart of a man seeking to find the answers to life's hardest questions. It is not a philosophical insight or an intellectual wrangling, but a spirit-filled work that lays bare the heart of a man who loved his wife completely.

    This is an important book. Read it. You'll be changed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An honest book that doesn't try to simplify grief, August 18, 2000
    This work chronicles Lewis' struggle to come to terms with the death of his wife. Because it comes from his private journals, it may not seem as "polished" as some of his other writings. Personally, I appreciate the way it reveals the innerworkings of a very emotional and private man.

    In contrast to many works, this book doesn't try to simplify grief, justify it, or dance around the issue with pat observations or cheery reminders. Instead, it dares to question those very tactics. Lewis allows himself to feel a broad range of emotions, including doubt and great despair. I love this quality in Lewis: he is one of the few Chrisitian writers who is brutally honest about his fears and anger. His writings allow that God is big enough to handle our toughest questions.

    This little book is full of images and ideas that will stay with you long after you've finished it. Lewis takes feelings that you can't quite pinpoint and eloquently puts them into words. As I read the book, I kept thinking to myself "Yes, THAT'S what I feel too!" Misery does love company, and Lewis is excellent company.

    As usual, Lewis is full of astute observations and points to ponder, but don't expect a bunch of clean and pretty answers. At the end, his grief is still very much a work in progress, which is definitely how it has been in my life....a journey.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book of faith, December 15, 2006
    For a Cambridge professor, C.S. Lewis writes in simple, clear English free of flourish or pretension, and "A Grief Observed" is all the more powerful because of its style. It's a straight-forward account of his struggle with faith in the face of tragedy, and one of the best "self-help" guides available for those dealing with the questions that arise when dealing with the ultimate grief.

    "A Grief Observed" is about Lewis' crisis of faith following the death of his wife, poet Joy Davidman, whom he wed in the final decade of his life, well aware she was dying of cancer. Their romance and the tragedy that befell them was later dramatized in the play "Shadowlands," and the subsequent film starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

    It's easy to see why Lewis, a famous Christian apologist who also wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Screwtape Letters," first published "A Grief Observed" under the pseudonym of N.W. Clark. The brutally honest reactions to tragedy and its effect on his definition of God would have shocked his faithful readers and might have tarnished his reputation. We are taught to love God and accept that He loves us. To question that thesis, or to express anger at God or to doubt his character, might be construed as blasphemy.

    Lewis writes that grief feels much like fear at times. "Meanwhile, where is God?" he asks. God is present, or seems to be, when all is well. "But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away."

    Lewis does not doubt God's existence, but wonders if the Supreme Being is not what He has claimed to be.

    "The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'"

    These are not the kind of thoughts that many Christians would ever dare express which is why they are often of little help to those seeking reassurance or balm for their wounds. Too many self-described "Christians" are cliquish and cantankerous, professing a belief in the interest of feeling superior to those on the outside of their faith: "I'm saved, you're not. Na, na, na, na, na."

    There is no such boasting from Lewis. Tragedy taught him that faith in God requires hard work, and if C.S. Lewis can struggle with belief, certainly we can, too. A remarkable, comforting book.

    Brian W. Fairbanks

    4-0 out of 5 stars Accessible Lewis, November 9, 2006
    I have found much of Lewis' work to be difficult to wade through - style, content, depth. Always worth the wade, it can still be tedious. "A Grief Observed," a slender volume, is both direct and compelling. Easily read in a couple of hours, it reveals a more human (doubting) perspective of his own journey. Personally, I can identify with the struggle more than the triumph these days.
    This book works through the stuggle of coming to grips with grief over the death of his wife - railing at God, feeling the misunderstanding of friends and disorientation of life and faith.
    It reveals truth that we all move through in resolution of our grief. Not moving too quickly through the process, and ending with yet some doubt I found it genuine, real and felt.
    I used this with a group and enjoyed the discussion as we discussed a chapter a week. Great Introduction and Foreword, as well. Worthy of discussion, too!
    The resource of "Shadowlands" (sreen movie) or "Through the Shadowlands" (BBC film-for-television) are helpful in contextualizing this book. I showed them after we had read the book and was delighted with the insight it gave persons not familiar with Lewis' life and work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comforting AND Challenging, February 20, 2001
    Five months ago, I lost a dear friend and in that time, many have felt compelled to recommend books to me on grief. It is this one, however, that has helped my wounded heart the most. I consider C.S. Lewis one of the greatest minds and authors ever - and to hear his honesty and questioning of God in the face of great tragedy made me realize that all I was feeling was "okay" in a sense. And so I continue through the pain, comforted by the writings of this man, and learning from him as well. I would recommend this book to anyone going through the mourning process. And even if you are not, it is good to read to help identify with those who are.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Should be at the Ready for Everyone, December 27, 2006
    My first introduction to CS Lewis was his famous Chronicals way back when I was in forth grade. I never bothered to read him again until my husband saw me struggling with comparing myself to other women in our church or to my mother-- God help me, she is a brilliant lady-- and seeing my insecurities rise to levels unknown before (I was pregnant.) He brought me the Screwtape Letters and this man whose life had seemed so far from mine reached to my heart and he spoke with elequence yet reached to my level. We shared them with our children and it's a running joke in our family to say, "Screwtape's been messing with your mind again. . ."

    A Grief Observed was one of my husband's gifts to me recently after my dad died. I was having nightmares of his death then becoming saddened in the daylight hours when I realised that I couldn't remember what he looked like. I have been trained in Hospice and counseled people through grief, yet was in shock when it happened to me. When my husband gave me this book, I opened it to a page where CS was talking about how he couldn't remember what his wife looked like, that pictures were meaningless-- once again, he was where I was, on my level with me. In spite of me being Russian Orthodox and CS being western in his thought, his writingis influenced by his search for knowing God, not by any particular church and I appreciate that and can relate to him very well.

    I have perused this book many times. When someone dies in our society, there is no prescribed time for mourning for immediate family members. I found that my mother was the one to be comforted more than anything--- as his widow, she deserves that-- but in spite of being an adult child, I still hurt and cry at different times and the hurt surprises me for when it hits. In spite of CS writing about his wife, this is a great companion for "lesser mourners" as well as the main person affected. This book is a great comfort to anyone who experiences a loss of someone they love.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Help in Time of Grief, December 6, 2006
    This is another amazing book by Lewis, and another that I have read multiple times. I have had to read it for at least three university courses over the last 18 years. This book is unlike anything else that Lewis ever wrote. It is raw, visceral and at times disturbing, unlike most of his other work that is very precise, specific, well argued and clearly laid out.

    Recently I heard this story: `Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis's stepson recently released a book about Lewis called Jack's Life. It includes a DVD interview, where Gresham states that Lewis did not intend to publish A Grief Observed; it was a personal notebook. When it was published it was under the pseudonym NW Clark and by a publisher Lewis had never published with. Gresham also said that Lewis received numerous copies of the book as gifts from friends who thought it would help.' That speaks to the power in Lewis's writing; even his friends thought the book would be helpful for him as he journeyed through his grief.

    Lewis states in his book The Four Loves: "We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him, throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it." That view is drastically changed when he writes Grief. In A Grief Observed we have a very different approach. Lewis presents a very visceral response to the loss of his wife. An example of this is that Lewis states at the beginning of the book: "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing." This book shows us more of Lewis's own heart and life than almost anything else he wrote.

    It is a great book for those dealing with loss - either for yourself or for someone you know and love. It is often used in grief counseling, and one of the courses I read it for was on the spirituality of death and dying. This book is a gem in the cannon of Lewis literature. It will not disappoint.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book by an excellent author, December 2, 2003
    Everyone has either experienced a tragic loss of life in the family. Perhaps a death in the extended family, or through a friend who might have lost a loved one. For Christians, grief is an especially tough time, taking them through cycles of questions about whether or not God really does love us when such brutally painful events take hold of us.

    When author Clive Staples Lewis lost his wife to cancer in the 1960's, he was no different than any of us, finding himself asking the same questions about God's goodness and love that a lot of us have. Since Lewis had already lived a full life, his loss was deepened by the lack of promises of future happiness a younger person might find some small comfort in. Yet in the wee hours when his grief and anguish were the most poignant, Lewis - an author all the way - took to filling blank pads of paper in his house with the thoughts and feelings that his bereavement brought.

    Even though I have not personally experienced anything near the kind of grief that this book deals with, I still found this book to be an amazing read. The deepest grief I've ever experienced was the loss of a family pet, yet from that small sampling I can just barely grasp what Lewis went through. Indeed any person not accustomed to grief can begin to understand it by reading the beautiful language that fills the pages of this book.

    It is a short book, ringing in with only four chapters, and 76 pages. Yet all of them are filled with the balm of Lewis's reflections and introspection, and all of them are able to help a grieving person, if for nothing else than to know that they're not alone.

    For any person who might be undergoing a period of sorrow, I highly recommend this book. It is not a lot of heavy reading, thus possibly making it easier on someone who is already in such pain. The wonderfully poetic, graceful language gives body and soul to the multitude of emotions that wash through a grieving person, especially in dark hours. These emotions, I'm sure, are experienced by everyone, but with the comments and insight of one of Christendom's favorite authors, it makes this work a priceless treasure.

    If you, or someone you know is going through a difficult time of loss and heartache, buy this book for them. It is a must-read for anyone in pain.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In his grief, C. S. Lewis finds a more deeply rooted faith., June 9, 1998
    Lewis shows enormous honesty and courage as he writes in this little book, a journal expressing his grief, about his faltering faith in God after the loss of his cherished wife. Despite his lifelong career as a writer of the truth of Christian faith, in this journal he expresses doubt about the very existence of a God who would wickedly deprive him of the greatest gift of his life, his wife. But as the months pass after her death, and Lewis further examines himself, he begins to appreciate the degree of personal selfishness wrapped up in his grief, and in his raging at God. As a result, towards the end of the journal he reestablishes his faith in a much more deeply rooted way. For me, this little book was a cautionary tale. It illustrated how easy it is to have a faith that is not a faith, but rather a mere deception, a contruct made of intellectual effort. When the forces that hold up the construct are taken away, such as what happened to Lewis with the loss of his wife, the intellectual faith will vanish. It is only then that real faith can take root. For faith, to be real, can depend upon nothing but the faith itself: a faith in Jesus. God does us an eternal favor when he takes from us those things we would cling to that are other than Himself. ... Read more


    8. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road
    by Neil Peart
    Paperback
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1550225480
    Publisher: Ecw Press
    Sales Rank: 4844
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. This memoir tells of the sense of loss and directionlessness that led him on a 55,000-mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again. He had needed to get away, but had not really needed a destination. His travel adventures chronicle his personal odyssey and include stories of reuniting with friends and family, grieving, thinking, and reminiscing as he rode until he encountered the miracle that allowed him to find peace. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars A meaningful step in my own recovery, January 22, 2003
    I find it interesting and sad how many people read this book looking for a story and insight about RUSH. I personally was deeply saddened after the Test for Echo tour to have heard about Neil's tragic losses, then just recently in December of 2002, a week before Christmas, I lost my 32 year old wife to cancer, and immediately have been thrust into a fraternity that nobody should have to join.

    A friend was kind enough to give me the book as a gift, and what a profound gift it was. As a lifelong fan of RUSH, Neil, and being a drummer myself, I took that book everywhere with me...it almost became my security. On planes, in my car, etc...until I finally forced myself to read the book closely.

    I feel much closer to Neil and certainly identify with his emotions, his feelings of anger, frustration, self-loathing, his "little baby soul" and everything else. Sure, the book delves too deep into certain things that may come across as "WHO CARES" to the reader, but that's the way grief is. You try to fill as much time with WHO CARES so you don't just sit around and cry and be miserable. I know, because I'm there RIGHT NOW.

    At this point, I'm almost feeling an additional loss from having finished the book. I agree that there was unfinished business in this book, but I can't help but feel happy for the guy for getting to the point of moving on. That was bittersweet reading for me and quite hard.

    Thanks Neil, for sharing your moving story, and making this reader feel and understand your pain, and through that process, anticipate and justify the feelings that I currently am going through. Well done.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The story of a man determined to save his own life., August 4, 2002
    In the interest of full disclosure, I admit to being a long-time Rush fan, which by extension makes me a long-time fan of Neil Peart, the author of this work and drummer and lyricist for Rush. I had been aware of the tragedies that he and his family had experienced, and knew that it was the reason behind the several-year gap between albums (Test for Echo released in 1996. Rush's next album, Vapor Trails, would not release until 2002.). However, I didn't know the story of what brought Neil back to Rush, and thus Rush back to the world until I picked up this book at a concert in July of 2002.

    When Neil Peart lost his daughter to a traffic accident in the fall of 1997, and his wife to cancer (though, really, he knew it was a broken heart that took his wife), he was an empty man, a man with no reason to live, and little desire to do so. To save himself from the loneliness and the emptiness of a life alone, Peart took to the roads on his motorcycle on a journey that would cover Canada, much of the western United States, and parts of Central America. As he wrote:

    "My little baby soul was not a happy infant, of course, with much to complain about, but as every parent learns, a restless baby often calms down if you take it for a ride. I had learned my squalling spirit could be soothed the same way, by motion, and so I had decided to set off on this journey into the unknown. Take my little baby soul for a ride."

    This book is a compelling combination of travelogue, literary journal, sarcastic wit, and honest soul- searching. It provides a number of insights to a complex and intriguing man, one who would be interesting even without his fame. His humor, his pain, his reflections, his irritation, his impatience, his fear... All of it presented for the world to see, and to learn from.

    I recommend this book not only to Rush fans, but to anyone interested in seeing how someone survives the losses Peart experienced and emerges a whole person on the other side.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A decent but unfinished book, October 1, 2002
    I recently picked up a copy of this book at a Rush concert. Partly, I was curious to see how well Neil could do as an author. Partly there was a karma connection: I lost my brother to cancer about ten years ago, and had gotten through it with the help of Rush's music, so I wanted to know how such a painful loss affected the man who wrote the lyrics to "Bravado".

    Not surprisingly, Peart's writing on the page-to-page level is witty, literate, and frank. As a travelogue, Ghost Rider is fairly interesting, peppered with details about the various locales he visits and the people who put them on the map, and pithy observations about the local culture. I'm sure he'd do well as a writer at a travel magazine (but being in a successful rock band probably pays better).

    As an account of an emotional journey, though, Ghost Rider feels like a journal that was transfered into book form without benefit of a good editing job. It seems like I spent as much time reading about what Neil ate for dinner, what repairs he made to his bike, what (briefly described) old friend he met, etc., than about the process of coming to grips with grief. Understandable that he preferred dealing with day-to-day details to take his mind off the hurt while on the road, but as a final narrative, it gets a bit tedious to the reader who doesn't have much emotional connection to these things, at least not as they're told. Though he clearly misses his wife and daughter, he doesn't say much about them, which makes it hard to empathize with his breakdowns along the way. Flashes into the struggle of the soul are there, but they often get deflected into self-conscious banter which likewise gets a little old. For example, reading about a middle-aged rock drummer chasing after squirrels with a water gun has potential to be comical in an existential way, but Neil manages to deflate the moment by trying to make it sound WITTY. Also, his occasional jabs at fat people, trailer trash, and oblivious Americans left a bad taste -- taking cheap shots at easy targets is not moving writing. He was mostly above that in song lyrics. All of us get lost in the darkness, he said at one point, so he should know better than to write as if he were the only one ever so badly hurt.

    Rush fans looking for a more personal connection to their favorite band will probably be disappointed (for one thing, Rush is mentioned mainly only incidentally). You certainly get some insight into the workings of the man's mind and the origins of various song lyrics (which preface each chapter), but the delivery of the book is so workmanlike, it's hard to feel a lot of emotional weight from his experience (though it's obviously there). Ghost Rider really could have a been a fascinating, instead of merely interesting read, if only Neil had taken the time to trim down the breadth and expand on the depth. I'd imagine he wrapped up the book in a hurry to work on the latest Rush CD, Vapor Trails, which, on the whole, is a lot more moving (listen to the SONG Ghost Rider).

    Overall, I admire that Mr. Peart drove himself to write this, and I think he's got a good book or two in him (or a slew of articles), if he focuses better on reaching out to the reader, but for now he shouldn't quit the day job! (Please, no!) So, anyone thinking about buying Ghost Rider should carefully read the reviews here and make up his or her own mind.

    2-0 out of 5 stars What an odd book., January 12, 2004
    While I feel badly for Neil's tragic losses, the `woe is me' tone of this book gets weary quick. This is compounded by Neil's diffident and disdainful attitude toward just about everything and everybody he encounters. I had to keep reminding myself that the author had lost his daughter and common-law wife within months of each other otherwise I couldn't feel much empathy for him.

    The writing style reminds of someone who loves the mechanics of writing but has difficulty with the soul of writing. Reading this book was an empty experience. I didn't feel like I shared or learned much of anything when I finished. When Neil does touch on an emotional issue, he tends to sum it up with "then I cried" and leave the reader to figure out the rest.

    Curiously, Neil claims "you give good, you get good" yet he spends much of his time fraternizing with his pen pal drug-dealer, regarding most people he meets with disgust and generally acting like a self-indulgent jerk. Maybe his karma isn't as pure as he imagines.

    Still, it could have been a decent read with some editorial help. A better introduction to Jackie and Selena, less love letters to Brutus and for god's sake, knock down the emotional walls before you sit down to write. Otherwise, why bother?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Decent travelogue, yet tedious and lacking in empathy, January 18, 2003
    GHOST RIDER is written by Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for the legendary hard rock music trio Rush. In 1997-98, Peart suffered a double tragedy when his daughter and wife died within ten months of each other. Left suddenly alone, Peart hit the road for fourteen months to escape his grief, and his travels are chronicled here.

    Anyone wishing for profound emotional empathy for Peart will not find many nuggets here. The majority of this book is just a travelogue by a man who is seeking to put his tragedies on the road behind him ... and nothing more.

    I was very disappointed in the first half of the book, initially because it took less than ten pages for Peart to reduce the lives of his wife and daughter to what is essentially a prologue. Then, when Peart hits the road, his thoughts and efforts are enveloped by his travels, which he shares in prodigious detail. He documents page after page of flora and fauna, road and riding conditions, sights and situations, meals, books and accommodations, only to include perhaps a single, glib sentence on his mental state, such as, "...suddenly I was in tears. One step forward, one step back." I became increasingly frustrated and annoyed because he cared more about describing his travels than communicating his grief, and I felt he never justified this discrepancy.

    If this had been written purely as a travelogue, I may have rated this higher, and it might be enjoyable to follow along his path with a road atlas and be satisfied with the journey. Peart puts in a lot of miles and goes to interesting places that typical travel books never go. But even this work is harmed by his wide antisocial streak, his ungracious celebrity, and a tangible disdain for Americans.

    By the halfway point, I had already had enough of Peart's weighty travel journal and the dearth of emotional honesty, and I had to force myself to finish the book. I had reached a much greater understanding of Peart's affection for his jailed friend Brutus than for his own family, and I found that to be the book's saddest reality of all. I really wanted to care about his plight, but he wasn't giving me an excuse to. He was coming across quite unsympathetically, and that's an enormous feat considering the gravity of the subject matter.

    Fortunately, the book's second half was an improvement, but by then I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible. Ironically, his journey and healing improve noticeably whenever he's NOT on the road. In the cabin by the lake, he must confront the memories of his wife and daughter honestly and directly, and he is actually more willing to share these situations with the reader. It is in these moments that Neil Peart finally comes across with humanity, and we see him surrounded by his former life, as the widower, and as the father who had to bury his child.

    But these moments are all too fleeting. His insecurities put him on the road twice more in the second half, mostly shared through his neverending letters to Brutus. I skimmed paragraphs, places became indistinct, and I just grew weary of traveling with him. I was tired of his letter writing style, his forced levity, and the callousness with which he regards Gabrielle (whom he dated briefly) as "that woman," without rhyme or reason. GHOST RIDER is three quarters travel journal and maybe one quarter emotional insight, but it fails to find a synergy of the physical (the journey) and the spiritual (the healing).

    In the end, Peart's travels come to a screeching halt with his hastily-written equivalent of "...and I lived happily ever after." As he completed his journey, any happiness I might have had for him was tempered by the relief I felt, knowing that my reading journey was finally at an end.

    GHOST RIDER was my first exposure to Mr. Peart's books, but unless he writes a Rush biography, it will also be my last. Two and a half stars.

    3-0 out of 5 stars How a narcissist millionaire deals with loss, November 10, 2002
    Neil Peart suffered a tremendous loss, a double-whammy of daughter (car accident) and wife (cancer) in the space of a year. Being an amazingly fortunate, well-to-do fellow, he retreated to his house by the lake for a bit before deciding, in the depths of his despair, to climb aboard his... BMW motorcycle and spend handsome sums of time and money tooling around Canada, the United States and Mexico trying to let time do its healing. Mr. Peart doesn't seem to grasp at any point that his resources allow him many more options than almost anyone alive, although a friend points out in a letter to him that suffering that kind of loss and being poor would be a real bummer. Instead of being a nomadic self-therapist, he would take a week's unpaid bereavement leave and then trudge back to work on Monday morning. That's how the fat, uncultured Americans Neil despises have to deal with their own personal losses. Or maybe how they're going to buy a one hundred dollar Rush ticket to see their favorite band in concert when they can't pay the rent, car payment and power bill all in the same month.

    I also am surprised at Mr. Peart's mental relationship with his fans. At one point in the book, he sits at a bar, drinking a scotch that the money of his fans put into his hand, hoping not to be recognized by one of them. No mention at all is made of the outpouring of sympathy that Rush fans expressed for Neil's twin losses. If he heard about it at all, he must have felt that it was insignificant, dismissing the voluminous, one-sided correspondence from them with barely a thought. There seems to be no glimmer in him of the changes wrought in the world due to the career he has abandoned during the time period covered by this book. Mr Peart has changed lives for the better and had a profound influence on the toughts and lives of many a person, but instead of pride, he only wishes to hide from it. This cannot be chalked up to his grief, as it seems to be an attitude carried over from his happier days. Puzzling.

    While I enjoyed reading about the travels themselves, often referring to an atlas to trace the route of the self-proclaimed Ghost Rider, I found myself unable to empathize continuously with the man doing the riding. On one page I would identify with his observations or dry humor utterly, then on the next be baffled by this headstrong, self-absorbed fellow.

    Rush, while an outstanding band, have never been the type to "give back" to their fans, and after reading this book, one can gain insight into at least 1/3 of that attitude. Yet, why was this book written in the first place, if not for anonymous people to share in the experience? Is the author interested only in sending out a message in a bottle? A baffling conundrum that ultimately is more interesting than the book itself.

    Having said all that, I was unprepared for the emotional reaction I had to the last few pages. I cried tears of joy that this bitter, fragile creature had allowed himself to rejoin the mainstream of human experience as symbolized by his relationship with his new wife, Carrie. I wish this complex, frustrating man the best, although he wouldn't care even if he knew I said that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hopefully, You'll Never Meet Your Heroes, March 2, 2007
    For years I had been wanting to read 'Ghost Rider', I recalled from the news reports back in '98 how Neil suffered the worst in human tragedies and I was curious to see how he dealt with them. When he decided to share his thoughts I was very intrigued. Certainly there are tragedies everyday, some worse than his, but this was Neil Peart, one of the greatest drummers of all time. I had to know how he felt.
    Well after 400+ pages I am sure of one thing: Neil is the quintissential oxymoron. First off, he seems to really not like you or me, despite the fact that our purchases of his records, cassettes, CD's, videos and concert tickets over a 30-year period has bought his BMW RS1100GS and allowed him the 'freedom' to deal with his crisis in a manner of his choosing. Yet he wants to share his thoughts with us almost as if he is so insecure he needs our approval. He claims to disdain anyone overweight or sloven but tells us of his joy in not shaving or cutting his hair occasionally in his transgressions.
    Undoubtedly, by way of his passion for Art and Literature, he comes across as being smarter than you and me but the way he says it implies that he is really not sure..."See I'm really smart don't you think?" He wants to be a private person yet he writes a book that peers deep into his soul and then shares it with the rest of us 'common men.' He preaches about all the faults of man yet he conveys these mostly through his letters to his drug smuggling riding buddy who sits in jail for several years.
    Basically, I'll bet that he was definitely this screwed up before these terrible tragedies befell him. It just goes to show you that it is best to never your meet your heroes because the reality will always disappoint the fantasy. Now having said that I would definitely recommend this book because I think the travelling and soul searching are of incredible interest to just about everyone.
    However, as I continue to enjoy Rush as they complete their fourth decade of existence I hope Neil's path and my path never intersect. The disappontment would be too great for both of us.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Only for the dedicated, July 3, 2004
    As a fan of Rush and Neil Peart for 20+ years, I was hoping this book would reveal more about Neil's human side and the tragedies he faced and overcame. It did, but not the way I expected. I was about 100 pages in when I realized the book is written for Neil himself, not for the reader. The author often seems not to know or care that a reader exists and wants to understand and empathize with his journey. He logs hundreds of pages of detail of his aimless wanderings, often interspersed with his own feelings of grief, but the few real insights are fragmented without any real coherence. In fact, some of them are probably unintentional; he seems as unaware of his own disdain towards most other people he meets, as he is of the reader himself. This becomes painfully obvious in the "Letters to Brutus" section, pages upon pages of correspondence that, while surely significant to Neil and his close friends, are mostly fragmented and irrelevant to anyone else. After 450 pages of material, through which we desperately want Neil to overcome his pain, the story of his recovery is tacked on in literally a single sentence, followed by 6 pages of epilogue.

    My sense is that this book was written not for the reader, but for Neil to bring closure to his own grieving process, which is understandable given the terrible tragedies that the author experienced. The reader should approach it in that context, understanding that the process of grief necessarily makes a person very focused on the self to the exclusion of almost all else.

    I'd recommend the book only to dedicated fans of Neil's work, with the caveat that this particular work is really written for Neil himself. All the band members have consistently said they feel they owe their followers their best possible performance in exchange for the CD price or ticket charge; for the $20 price of this book, this is the first work I've seen by any of them that falls far short of that standard.

    3-0 out of 5 stars I must have had the wrong expectations, December 27, 2003
    Knowing that Neil Peart is insightful and so good with the written word, I was expecting a lot of tidbits and profound insights into life and how he was dealing with the tragic deaths of his daughter and wife.

    For many parts of this book, I did get that but quite frankly, the letters to Brutus and others - I could have done without. They were just babbling about what he did today and didn't bring much insight. Having been out of North America for ten years, I did appreciate the description of what it's like to live and travel in Canada again -

    I felt that the ending was a little abrupt - while he had alluded to getting back to himself, he didn't really go into that process. His introduction to Carrie was only in the last few pages from "hey I'm dating this woman" to "hey we're getting married in California" - wot?!

    I guess I may have had the wrong expectations for this book which is of no fault of the author. I was expecting to learn more about the thinking of an obviously brilliant lyricist and drummer...what I got was more random thoughts and a stream of consciousness

    1-0 out of 5 stars IF YOU LOVE RUSH DON'T READ THIS BOOK, March 20, 2004
    Neil does such a good job of insulting anyone and everyone who grew up loving Rush that it makes you wonder if he should have just stayed in the tractor repair business. I still love rush, Neil is still my biggest drum influence, and I'll go see 'em every chance I get. However, I really would have been better off not reading this book. If your like me though, you'll read it anyway. ... Read more


    9. CLEO: The Cat Who Mended a Family
    by Helen Brown
    Paperback
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $9.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 080653303X
    Publisher: Citadel Press
    Sales Rank: 7035
    Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    "We're just going to." Helen Brown had no intention of adopting a pet when she brought her sons, Sam and Rob, to visit a friend's new kittens. But the runt of the litter was irresistible, with her overlarge ears and dainty chin.

    When Cleo was delivered weeks later, she had no way of knowing that her new family had just been hit by a tragedy. Helen was sure she couldn't keep her-until she saw something she thought had vanished from the earth forever: her son's smile The reckless, rambunctious kitten stayed.

    Through happiness and heartbreak, changes and new beginnings, Cleo turned out to be the unlikely glue the affectionately held Helen's family together. Rich in wisdom, wit, heart, and healing, here is the story of a cat with an extraordinary gift for knowing just where she was needed the most.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not just one for cat lovers, September 5, 2010
    I loved this book. The author, Helen Brown, is so honest, and her story is both heart-rending and warmly funny. It's about personal tragedy but it's also very inspirational. The author really knows cats, and Cleo comes alive in the pages. This book is actually about grief, and I'd recommend it to anyone who has lost a loved one. But the best thing about it is you'll be laughing as much as crying -- the author has a fantastic, dry sense of humour so it's never melodramatic or gushy. Five stars from me. Just hope she writes a sequel. I want to know what happened next!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet Honesty, December 14, 2010

    "Cleo" (The Cat who Mended a Family) is a frank and honest tale by Helen Brown. She lost her young son, but somehow managed to claw through her grief with the help of a small black cat's connection to his loving spirit. The story is told straightforward and details how "Cleo" was selected by Sam, her young son. Cleo was the runt of the litter and was to be given to Sam when she was old enough to be on her own. No one knew a tragic event was coming, and when Cleo arrived Helen realized that Sam would have wanted her to stay. Little Cleo is comforting, a clown and companion through heartaches, happy times and moments of achievement. She is a bright cat with oodles of energy for her small build.

    Although the story focuses on Helen (who lives in Australia), Cleo is always around as a comforting and funny soul. She is small and has shiny black fur and gives her opinions on Helen's friends and potential suitors after divorce. The story is a bittersweet tale of a woman's life and her decision to keep a cat connected to her son, Sam. Cleo has a long life (24 years) and the book reveals Helen and Cleo's connection.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly touching, September 8, 2010
    This is not the type of book I ordinarily read, but I have to confess, I was drawn to it because I myself have a black cat named Cleo whom I got as a kitten, so seeing the cover was startling and I knew I had to read the book.

    I have to admit that despite my trying to resist, the story of this little black cat and the family who adopted her sucked me right in. Unlike many stories of this kind, Brown writes in a no-nonsense voice, pleasantly devoid of excessive sentimentality, and the story never turns maudlin, even when sad events happen. I'll admit to being a little teary-eyed at the end, surprised at how moved I was.

    I'm a "cat person" - I've lived with cats all my life - and I have to say, Ms. Brown perhaps anthopomorphizes Cleo just a bit too much - but no matter. I still couldn't put the book down and finished it in a day and a half over the weekend.

    One thing that did NOT please me, though, is how the publisher chose to Americanize the spelling and usage for the American edition, as though American readers would not recognize "harbour," "centre," degees of temperature in Celsius - or, for that matter, "recognise" (check the first few pages of the book on Amazon's U.K. site if you want to verify this). Translate from another language, certainly, but we DON'T need a translation from New Zealand English!

    Nonetheless, a charming, heartwarming story, if nothing groundbreaking, with particular appeal to animal lovers. Grab a box of tissues and enjoy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Sad Story yet Heartwarming..., December 18, 2010
    This story is very heartwarming. It shows how an animal can bring such joy, comfort and healing to a family. While the main characters go through some very hard times in their life, Cleo is always there to show the real meaning of love. Cleo is such a heartwarming story no animal lover should go without reading. The only reason I gave it four stars is because I would have liked to know some more about the cat versus the family.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One Sassy Cat, November 6, 2010
    Cleo is a smart sassy cat who had everyone wrapped around her paws for her entire life. Who could not be charmed by her. What is truly heartwarming about this story is how one cat weaves the fabric of family life back together after their tragic loss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL PLEASE READ, October 12, 2010
    sadness isnt even the word for this book.......its soooo wonderful please buy and read you wont be disappointed!!! it has such a wonderful story!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Story beautifully told, October 11, 2010
    I enjoyed reading the book very much. It was thoughtful, inspiring and at moments sad, and funny. My only negative remark is that the author has done a lot at a professional and personal level, but doesn't give herself the credit that she deserves.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An honest and funny memoir, and not just for cat lovers, October 11, 2010
    I loved this book so much that I decided to post a review on Amazon.

    I came across Cleo while browsing in an airport bookstore. The black cat portrayed on its cover resembled my own beloved cat, so that's what first drew me in. However, what kept me hooked to this story was Helen's honest portrayal of the her family as they reacted to unimaginable loss, and how she rebuilt her life --in part thanks to her wise and at times impish cat, Cleo. This book is not just about a remarkable cat, but it's about life's struggles and how one survives the hard times with pluck, humor, and resolve.

    Once I started this book, it was so good that I could not put it down. I finished it in 3 days. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A lovely story..., October 1, 2010
    I appreciate Helen Brown's skillful writing as well as the poignant story she tells here. She balanced humor in with a very touching story, yet did not sentimentalize at all. The book is about the special connection between animals and owners. As a cat owner, I know how comforting and healing these little creatures can be. This family had more than their share of tragedy and pain, but the constant was this special cat! I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful book, September 20, 2010
    I have been a lifelong dog lover and owner since the age of three. However, this book encouraged me to think about owning a cat sometime in the future if it is feasible. This is a wonderful, wonderful, well-written book that I thoroughly enjoyed and was sorry to see end. My sincere congratulations to the author. ... Read more


    10. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: The Spiritual Classic & International Bestseller; Revised and Updated Edition
    by Sogyal Rinpoche
    Paperback
    list price: $18.99 -- our price: $12.91
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0062508342
    Publisher: HarperOne
    Sales Rank: 4076
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    This acclaimed spiritual masterpiece is widely regarded as one of the most complete and authoritative presentations of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings ever written. A manual for life and death and a magnificent source of sacred inspiration from the heart of the Tibetan tradition, The Tibetan Book Of Living and Dying provides a lucid and inspiring introduction to the practice of meditation, to the nature of mind, to karma and rebirth, to compassionate love and care for the dying, and to the trials and rewards of the spiritual path.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A necessary read for seekers..., October 23, 2000
    My bookshelves are filled with books on many topics, including death and dying and spirituality -- this book might be the only book I really need.

    For years I have thought I must read the Tibetan Book of the Dead -- but whenever I tried, it was much too complicated for me to understand.

    Sogyal Rinpoche has written this book so that it is easily understood by anyone, even us Westerners, without compromising any of the Buddhist teachings it offers.

    In essence, we begin to die the moment we are born. We spend this life preparing to die well. Nothing is permanent, but we spend much of our lives filling our time with activities and pursuits that help us elude ourselves into thinking that what we see and touch is all that matters.

    Sogyal Rinpoche says, "To follow the path of wisdom has never been more urgent or more difficult. Our society is dedicated almost entirely to the celebration of ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet. It has never been more difficult to hear the unflattering voice of the truth, and never more difficult, once having heard it, to follow it: because there is nothing in the world around us that supports our choice, and the entire society in which we live seems to negate every idea of sacredness or eternal meaning. So at the time of our most acute danger, when our very future is in doubt, we as human beings find ourselves at our most bewildered, and trapped in a nightmare of our own creation."

    He writes about the importance of realizing the interconnectedness of all living beings (including nature), of meditation (and gives instructions and advice), of finding and being devoted to a good master (something very difficult for Westerners to accept -- he acknowledges that there are fraudulent ones about), of learning to live and learning to die, of letting go of egos and becoming egolessness. Throughout the book, he tells of female masters as well as males, something female readers may greatly appreciate.

    Sogyal Rinpoche is from Tibet, and speaks of the cruelty of the Chinese to the Tibetan Buddhists (very similar to the persecution of the early christians, and later the Jews by the Nazis -- when will we ever learn, but then that's the point of this book!)

    In the last section of the book, he speaks of "The Universal Process" which is about spirituality, living and dying of all humans, regardless of race, spiritual beliefs, gender or national origin. There are in the back two mantras with explanations and he shares photographs of his beloved masters. Throughout the book are inspiring poems from such poets as Rumi and St. Francis of Assisi, as well as Buddhists. In the very back he gives suggested readings, and offers phone numbers and addresses of Rigpa National Office, where those who are interested can find referrals to cources and study groups in the US, Canada and around the world.

    This book is a very good place for the seeker to begin. For those curious about Buddhism, or seriously interested in becoming a Buddha or a Buddhist, or just looking for more thoughts and information on death and dying, this book is excellent, easy to understand, thought-provoking.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely Useful., September 19, 2002
    Whenever I read a book, I generally use highlighter and underliner to mark the sentences and words that convey the true meaning and essence of what the author wants to say. While reading The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying, I had to stop using the highlighter after a few pages only as the most of the words on each page were worthy of being highlighted. Indeed, the author has said so much precious on every page that a reader must read and re-read the book and with every reading she/he gets more and more knowing.The subject of death has been most puzzling and perplexing to humankind since the time immemorial. The Eastern way of looking at the death as only a 'transition' is explained by the author in a profoundly simple manner. The book certainly helps one to understand the true meaning of the phenomena called death. This understanding helps one to reduce the irrational fear of death. From the lives of the great men and women we know that those who 'lived' a life can only meet the 'death' with equnimity. Thus the author has first taught the art of 'living'. It is only through right type of living that we can 'live' the death also.
    I suggest that this book be read by all the Buddhist as well as by non buddhists also. Every one who reads it will find something for him/her.
    I salute Sogyal Rinpoche for giving us a wonderful gift of THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A classic, December 20, 2002
    After reading other reviews, I feel it might help to say this:

    Yes, there is quite a substantial amount of Tibetan ritual encased in this book. But that shouldn't be a surprise, or a hindrance - it IS the "TIBETAN Book of Living and Dying", and not the "Generically Believable For Everyone, Book of Living And Dying".

    With that in mind, I loved reading this book. From the first page, I was drawn into a world where compassion and mindfulness reign, and it's these tools that will help us face the inevitable truth that we *are* all going to die, at some point.

    Rinpoche skillfully shares his own wisdom, that of many other masters, and anecdotal evidence of what may happen when we physically die, and the stages we may go through during the process.
    Topics discussed include the Bardo states, reincarnation, the concept of karma, and fear of the unknown. The book is very readable, and covers the material therein with sensitivity and warmth. At times, it may be difficult to the average Western mind to grasp the concepts of such things are reincarnation - but as Buddha himself did advise, the goal is to read, absorb and take what YOU find important from the lesson...not to read blindly and accept everything blindly.

    To anyone even vaguely interested in Buddhism, death and dying or simply becoming more aware of their own self, this book is an invaluable addition to your library.

    Truly a classic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a must for a Buddhist library, August 31, 2002
    This book fully captures the essence of Tibetan Buddhism. I don't claim to be an authority on the subject, but I was born into a Buddhist household that has remained faithful and reverent to both Mahayana and Hiyana traditions of Buddhism. From the information I've had passed on to me by both family and Tibetan Buddhist clergy, this book has never been contradictory to anything lecture I've heard. In fact, everybody seems to recommend it enthusiastically!

    Essentially, according to Tibetan Buddhism, the purpose of living is to cultivate the mind and purify the body and soul to prepare for death. Westerners may, at first glance, find this philosophy morbid. However, we must remember that reincarnation is integral to Buddhist text (and most world religions, for that matter; the 'one life' theory is actually relatively new). Death is explained as a transitional period, like the end of a chapter to a book. To waste away ones life is like wasting away all your money without care for the future. Basically, this philosophy heavily emphasizes living in the present with thoughtfulness and offers a plethora of Buddhist insight into life and death. It also stresses the urgency of cultivation in a day and age when we disregard life, old age, and disease as trivial matters and nothing that science cannot combat.

    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is written by a Rinpoche. For those who are not familiar with Tibetan titles, a Lama is essentially a monk who has abandond wordly comforts for a spiritual pursuit, and a Rinpoche is a recognized reincarnation of an esteemed Lama.

    If you are a Buddhist, I highly recommend this book. It is enlightening, insightful, and an absolute must in any Buddhist library. Whether you follow the traditions of Chinese Buddhism, Zen or Chan, take the Amitabha or Guan Yin approach, etc., as a fellow Buddhist to another, you should not go without having this book. It's available in Chinese, as well, for the Buddhists out there who are more adept at Chinese than English.

    For seekers, this is a wonderful guide, as well. The best part with any book as wonderful as this is that everytime you read it, you'll find new insight in the words. Beginners and established Buddhists alike will take in much insight.

    I also highly recommend this to Buddhists who are unfamiliar with the Tibetan traditions. The Tibetan texts will open a whole new door for you. I know from personal experience, because my mother (who is the spiritual leader of the family) was originally a student of Chinese Buddhism, but after reading this book, our entire family discovered a whole other arena of philosophies that have done nothing but enrich our practices.

    So whether you're already a Buddhist wishing to broaden your knowledge, a Buddhist who would like new material to absorb, or a seeker who is just curious of the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism, this book is definitely a must.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a lamp post on the road, April 18, 2001
    This book should be read by or to everyone at some point in their lives. It not is not just for the buddhist. As His Holiness, the Dalia Lama explains, no matter what religion you practice the goal is the same: happiness. This book can be an inspiration at all times in life. Once you have read it through once, it is organized in such a way, so one can go back and read certain sections to help along the way. Sogyal Rinpoche captures the essence of his purpose of creating the book when he writes: "to learn how to die, is to learn how to live." That simple statement is a social commentary on the development of modern society and the direction it is heading in. The ageing and dying are quickly isolated and doctors are rarely educated in emotional or spiritual care. Sogyal Rinpoche's proposes a new attidute to those who are in a stage that we all will reach at some point. His beautiful writing style and comforting compassion radiates from the pages themselves. I do not associate myself with any one religion, but consider myself a wanderer following my own road in search for answers, for all those who feel the same, this book can illuminate some of the darkness that surrounds us all who have not yet awakened.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, January 11, 2000
    This is an amazing book full of the richness of the spiritual greatness of Tibet. Every one should read it, regardless of religious affiliation. Sagyol Rinpoche gives great insight into how to live your life so that you are ready to embrace death when your unexpected time comes. I would rate it number one as a guide to liberation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Book from Nying-ma Master, October 11, 1999
    Sogyal Rinpoch� is one of the most amazing, and compassionate teachers living today. His kindness is only transcended by his ability to understand both the Eastern and Western mind, and to take things that seem complex and make them not so.

    By giving this adaption of the Bardo Thr�tol (called the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Westerners) he helps to better explain the Tibetan Buddhist view of samsara, and cyclical experience.

    I read this book after it was recommended by KT Shedrup Gyatso, and Ven. Ch�pak Rinpoch�, and now I shall never be without it.

    Tashi Deleg!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Accessible interpretation of the most important teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, February 4, 2007
    This book is a classic on Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism. It was written to clear some of the misunderstandings appeared after the West published "The Tibetan book of the dead", but Sogyal's teaching goes beyond that and explains the big picture of which the teachings of Tibetan book of the dead is only a part. He presents - incidentally or not - some of the great Tibetan masters of the last century, that he was a student of. I believe this to be the most important book I have read so far, and I think I'll study more about Buddhism.
    The book was inspired by the deaths in his childhood of two people he loved. Noticing similarities and differences he then realized the power of Tibetan tradition, that better practice in the lifetime makes for an easier death, and most of all. the presence of a master near the dying is a very important element. After decades of living in the West he felt death is misunderstood there, although it is the most important moment of life.
    Unfortunately, people are avoiding such important issues of existence and preparing for death, either by filling their schedule to the rim and doing countless things, so there is no time left to be alone with themselves (in the West), or by spending time foolishly lying in the sun, drinking tea and gossiping with friends (in the East).
    The only permanent thing in life - the only permanence - is the impermanence. Mind has a temporary, superficial and deceiving aspect (sem in Tibetan) and the inner nature, real and primordial (Rigpa in Tibetan). Realizing the true nature of mind is the key to understanding life and death; we need to understand the nature, that aspect of mind which remains the same even after dying, and that understanding needs to happen in the lifetime; realizing the Rigpa means realizing the true nature of everything in the Universe. Training the mind is the most important thing to prepare for dying, because when dead mind is almost impossible to control unless we trained it. Buddha left behind 84000 meditation methods, and Sogyal explains a few of them and emphasizes that true meditation influences every moment of life, not only when sitting in the posture, close eyes and focus on ourselves.
    According to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition the existence is made of four bardos (planes - intermediate, temporary realities): natural bardo of living, the painful one of dying, the luminos bard of dharmata, and the karmic bardo of becoming.
    Even in the West many people believe in reincarnation - actually it was part of Christian teachings until Middle Age. Reincarnation - and life - is affected by karma (literally action), that is our good and bad deeds from the past (this life or previous lives). Per Buddhist teachings, a soul can reincarnate in one of six realms, depending on karma and the dominant negative emotion of the mind: gods (pride), demigods (jealousy), human (desire), animal (ignorance), hungry ghosts (greed) and hell (anger). The human realm is the best - or maybe the only one - for spiritual progress. The ego is the main obstacle of attaining enlightenment, because it determines a duality between "I" and the rest of the world.
    In Tibet the master has a great role to play in enlightment, and he should have a known spiritual lineage, so the the student could be sure that the teachings are genuine. The student needs to fully surrender to the master, considering him even above the Buddha, because he is living in the same realm and can help much more than other enlightened being. Sogyal introduces the Guru Yoga - the practice of uniting with master's mind - every day, but most importantly at the moment of death.
    The author presents some Dzogchen elements (most important compassion practices), explains the overview and emphasizes seeking a genuine master for going beyond that.
    An important element of a good death is the knowledge of this book's teachings by the dying.and the accepting of death. Also, the family needs to accept it and let the dying know he/she has their permission to die, so that the death could be peaceful. The dying should get all the help they can get - even from lifelong enemies.
    Compassion is an perhaps the main element of Buddhism - all religions actually - and is a very important step for attaining enlightenment. Tibetans have a special practice (meditation) for that, in which they help the beings in need, and those dying could benefit a lot from that. The people dying in pain could (mentally) direct their suffering toward helping others, and thus eliminating a lot of bad karma. That practice (Phowa) is all about transferring the consciousness from the dead body to another realm. Both the dead and others could do that. Phowa should begin shortly after dying and continued as often as possible for 21 days (or even 49).
    At the moment of death, the best three attitudes are: meditation on the true nature of mind (Rigpa) - for people who achieved that, the practice of Phowa, or praying towards enlightened beings (or own master).
    At the moment of death, the essence of the body transfers the subtle energy from gross essence to higher levels of matter. Eventually, the Clear Light (real nature of mind) will dawn - which is an opportunity for enlightenment. However, because or lack of training, most people will miss it, getting into a state of unconsciousness for three days (that's why Tibetan don't move corpses for at least three days after death). After three days the consciousness leaves the body definitively, the bardo of dying is gone,
    The soul enters the bardo of dharmata, which has four phases - four opportunities for liberation (not as a great as the first one and even harder to recognize). It displays a landscape of light and sound, deities (depending of dead's beliefs), wisdom and spontaneous presence.
    After the four opportunities are gone, the soul goes into the bardo of becoming, which will be inhabited for 49 days, of which 21 days have stronger connections to the life that just ended. It must be said that until now karma didn't manifest, the most important factor being the thoughts, the attitude at the moment of death (which is a good thing for those with lots of bad karma, because they can achieve enlightenment if they recognize the opportunities). In the bardo of becoming the mind takes over, and consciousness begins to wander away, terrified by the wind of karma. The mind is very difficult to master in this bardo, especially without training during life. The dead can read minds, and a person (or relative) thinking badly about the dead can have a disastrous effect, because the mind is out of control and the anger will be amplified and have strong negative influences on the next birth. On the other hand, thinking good about them has amplified beneficial effects. Eventually, depending on preferences and mostly on karma, most souls choose some parents and get born through a process opposite to the bardo of dying.
    Meanwhile, the people alive can and should help the dead with rituals to help the consciousness choose a better rebirth.
    Sogyal shows that modern near-death experience confirm most of the bardo teachings.
    Different aspects of the mind get stronger during different bardos. Even during lifetime we get through all the stages: living (being awakened), dying (dreamless sleep), dharmata (the moment before dreams begin) and becoming (the dreams). Actually, between two thoughts we go through all the stages.
    To conclude, the book helps putting the life in the proper perspective. If you are a seeker, but not for a very long time, probably this book can give you many answers and save you a lot of time of. I recommend it highly!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Nectar of Life ...Revealed, April 21, 2001
    I sometimes find it hard to speak after reading some chapters in Sogyal Rinpoche's beautiful guide for living and dying with grace. I count myself among the most fortunate beings to be able to not only read his words but also to be able to study with him each week. There isn't anything that he reveals to us that won't touch the heart and make one's life more sharply focused. There isn't one among us who hasn't been touched by death, sickness or suffering in someway and his immense compassion, humor and clarity helps to ease much of our pain.

    Rinpoche tells it like "it is" in words that soothe, annoy, inflame, calm or caress our bleeding hearts. He guides us through life, its beginnings and its end with a subtle and astounding clarity and healing quality that is lacking in our everyday experiences. Death becomes less fearful and life is illuminated as the joy it can be. One wonders how one ever became so enmeshed in ignorance and "forgot" the beauty of ourselves. It becomes less of a chore or trial to forget the "self" and get lost in what it means to be human. The development of compassion, patience and wisdom is all one can hear through these words. Placing oneself in Rinpoche's care is like a joyful surrender and he skillfully guides you to the ultimate blessings of the "nature of mind" and "ones heart".

    Anyone who has read the "Tibetan Book of the Dead" and been puzzled or confused needs only to spend time with Rinpoche's illuminating words for clarification. As all great Masters, he claims to practice not enough, know very little and is one who is still learning more. However, whatever he knows, has learned and practiced is meritoriously given to us with a sincere and loving motive. Read it, read it again and then some more. Write down your thoughts, examine your feelings and then read it again.

    Life will never be the same nor will you want it to be. Discover the joy, bliss, songs of the heart, smiles and spontaneous laughter hidden within you, while finding all the wisdom, compassion, patience and love for others you may have hidden from yourself. Rinpoche is food for your hungry heart! Read this book 100 times as each introduction is more revealing. If a chapter challenges you, accept it as a challenge and read it again, again and again! Take this classic to work , on vacation, while traveling but mostly take it into your heart...you will not ever be disappointed! Confused by the review? Then read the book again.

    3-0 out of 5 stars This is good book for believers, but I'm a skeptic., July 1, 1998
    There's a lot of very interesting material in this book. I found descriptions of the human condition and basic tenets of Buddhism to be intelligently written, and to be inspiring at times. However, I'd like to issue a warning to skeptical people like me who have little interest in unproven or unprovable opinions and expressions of "faith" in their Buddhism. This book spends a lot of time on Tibetan ritual. It cites numerous examples of things the author has seen that seem to prove reincarnation, the possibility and power of enlightenment, karma, near death experiences, etc. When enlightened monks die, did you know that their bodies often don't rot? Or that their bodies disappear into thin air, or that rainbows appear thousands of miles away? That dead monks bodies stay warm for weeks? These things may or may not be true, but I'm just skeptical enough to not want to take the author's word for them. If you tackle this book, brace yourself to read about a lot of belief topics, and then prepare to be accused of being too cynical and capitive of your own ego for doubting it. I would categorize this book as religious Buddhism, as opposed to philosophical Buddhism. An aside: the author's reverence and love for his teachers and his faith is truly touching. His knowledge is great, his love is great, but I'm not sure that makes him the best possible reporter for those who are seeking truth instead of opinion. ... Read more


    11. Waking the Tiger : Healing Trauma : The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
    by Peter A. Levine
    Paperback
    list price: $17.95 -- our price: $12.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 155643233X
    Publisher: North Atlantic Books
    Sales Rank: 10566
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Nature's Lessons in Healing Trauma...

    Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.

    Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, October 7, 2000
    This exciting, insightful book reinforces the wholeness of the human vehicle, that our body and triune brain of instinct, emotion and rationality are totally connected to the human experience and to our connection with all of life. The book explains why humans are often frozen in trauma, unlike animals who daily cope with the unpredictability of nature and man. For humans, as is true for animals, the potential for trauma exists from birth through death, with at least one major difference - that humans have a harder time releasing trauma and many carry it all of their lives, which causes major interference with health, peace of mind and the ability to live joyfully and creatively. When human trauma remains unhealed, the energy of the trauma and accompanying emotions will remain locked within the brain and held within the body's musculature, tissues and organs awaiting discharge. Like Sleeping Beauty awaiting her restoration to life once the poisoned apple is dislodged, those with deep psychological scars have disassociated the memory from their minds and are living in a numbed, tensed body awaiting its release so the body can return to wholeness and optimum mental and physical health. The author persuasively asserts that psychological wounds are reversible and that healing comes when the physical and mental letting go occurs, similar to the way the tiger experiences the coming and going of threat, tensing in response to danger, and as the threat passes, the tiger's muscles shake, twitch and let go right then and there the fear related energy which now is forever out of mind and body. So, too, Peter Levine states, can humans learn to release long-held and/or current trauma without return. The book is well-written, peppered with healing stories, and details step-by-step instructions on how to listen to the wisdom of the body to release trauma and heal. Consider this book as one great step forward to expanding the frontier of body/mind energy work that is emerging as the most comprehensive and effective wellness paradigm of the future.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book about dealing with trauma, April 20, 2003
    Peter Levine in "Waking the Tiger," postulates that trauma exists not in the event or in the story of the event, but is stored within the nervous system. Many common physical ailments are actually residues of thwarted trauma reactions incurred during such events as surgical procedures, falls, pre or perinatal stress and/or childhood accidents and traumas. The body has a natural, innate, and miraculous capacity to heal once these reactions are understood and guided.

    Levine reinforces the holistic nature of the human being. Our bodies and brains connect instinct, emotion and rationality to our experience. Trauma may create damaging and often enduring symptoms. Human beings have a harder time than do animals in releasing trauma and may carry it throughout our lives. We often become frozen in trauma, unlike animals that can cope with the unpredictability of nature. This may provide a major interference with our health, peace of mind and the ability to live joyfully and creatively. When human trauma remains unhealed, the energy of the trauma and accompanying emotions remain locked within the brain and held within the body's musculature, tissues and organs, awaiting discharge.

    The author writes about an oft-forgotten aspect of trauma, freezing or immobilization during a traumatic experience. Modern medicine/psychiatry emphasize the "flight or fight" response while often neglecting the freeze response. The concept of the freeze response in the face of overwhelming threat provides a missing link to symptoms such as dissociation that our old ideas of "fight or flight" fail to explain. Immobilization in the face of threat is an automatic biological response that is not voluntarily chosen by the victim. This provides redeeming message to trauma survivors.

    Levine points out that our memories are not literal recordings of events, but rather, a complex of images that are influenced by arousal, emotional context, and prior experience. Memories may even transform over time as new experiences add layers of meaning to the images. While remembering the past can be an important aspect of therapy, appreciating the subjective quality of memories is crucial to integrating them appropriately into the healing process.

    Those with deep psychological scars may have dissociated the memory from their minds and are living in a numbed, tensed body awaiting its release so the body can return to wholeness and optimum mental and physical health. The author asserts that psychological wounds are reversible and that healing comes when the physical and mental letting go occurs, similar to the way the tiger experiences the coming and going of threat, tensing in response to danger, and as the threat passes, the tiger's muscles shake, twitch and let go right then and there the fear related energy which now is forever out of mind and body. Trauma is stored energy that must be released.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Promising Material for Trauma Healing, May 25, 2001
    I just logged on to order yet another copy of "Waking the Tiger", a thoroughly invaluable book which I am constantly recommending to friends, colleagues and clients. This groundbreaking book that has permanently altered the way I approach therapy, trauma, and the body. "Waking the Tiger" completes an essential piece that has been missing in therapeutic and medical practices, namely that trauma is not in the event or the story, but in the nervous system. Dr Levine, through his research and vast clinical experience, has discovered how so many common physical ailments and so-called medically untreatable syndromes are actually residues of thwarted trauma reactions incurred during routine surgical procedures, falls, perinatal stress and other childhood accidents and traumas. He shows us how the body has a natural and innate, and seemingly miraculous, capacity to heal once these reactions are understood and guided. It is a very exciting and empowering book, and offers new hope and common sense explanations to people who have up to this time been unable to understand their symptoms or to find relief.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a sourc of HOPE for trauma victims., November 17, 1999
    Sometimes a trauma victim can conclude that life will always be anxious at best and torturous at worst. Levine provides not only words of HOPE but real active ways to move toward freedom, healing, hope and a reasonably happy life. When I found the book my first thought was, "when the student is ready the teacher will come." I have learned more that I expected and have started on a journey toward healing. Thank you, Dr. Levine!

    5-0 out of 5 stars best treatment for trauma I have done, August 18, 2005
    After reading Peter Levine's book I found a practioner of "Somatic Experiencing" from his web site in my city. From the first day I saw her I have been releasing trauma in the gentlest way I have ever experienced. This method has helped me release trauma that no other method has ever done and releases from the deepest layers I thought I would just have to live with forever. I have very complex PTSD from years of severe and sadistic child abuse from several perpretrators. Talk therapy, journaling, art therapy were helpful but just couldn't clear the fear, grief, hopelessness, that I carried. Emotional Freedom technique was also helpful and some other body therapies but this is my favorite.

    There is a LOT more to the healing techniques of Somatic Experiencing than in this book. I look forward to learning more techniques to clear the trauma from my body/mind. Somatic Experiencing is giving me the life I struggled so hard for in many years of previous therapy to attain. And it is so much easier, with less tears, hard work and pain! I have never experienced the levels of inner peace and calm that I have now. All my relationships are improving as well.

    For someone like myself, this will take more than 6 sessions as one person mentioned. I have a highly skilled therapist who is trained by Dr. Peter Levine in Somatic Experiencing. I know it will take many months to complete my healing but I have accomplished more in 15 sessions with her than being in therapy off and on for 16 years, reading books, and doing all kinds of things to get my life back.

    My life is just easier in every way. Thank you, Dr. Peter Levine, for helping me heal so I have a life worth living and making a difference in my son's life as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Waking The Tiger, January 6, 2000
    It is a gentle, beautifully written and compassionate book. To be read with care, slowly. As the concept of post traumatic stress takes hold in the general world, this book reminds us and guides us in how to listen to our own body/mind wisdom rather than to apply some theoretical formulaic solution. It is also a hopeful, joyful book that, without being heavy handed, leads towards a recognition of our own power to heal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, may seem fuzzy, don't let that fool you, November 7, 2003
    This book will seem somewhat vague at first, but it will sink in better if you re-read it several times, especially the later sections. Levine and Frederick capture the essence of post-traumatic stress; your whole body is perpetually reliving the traumatic experiences and triggering distorted thinking, feeling, and behavior that otherwise make no sense. Levine's hook is to compare human trauma reactions to animal reactions. This gives him a model to break down the blocked cycle of somatic and mental reactions into pieces: hyperarousal, constricted consciousness - sometimes wrongly called "repression" - dissociation, and helplessness in and/or avoidance of triggering situations. Like all good psychology books, it also makes useful analogies and comparisons so that non-sufferers can get a glimpse of what it's like.

    I recommend this book together with Babette Rothschild's The Body Remembers. That book is aimed at a medical/clinical audience, not at patients, but it carries the same message in a different way: the frozen, endlessly repeated body reactions are the lever to freeing the patient. It's like an alarm that was never shut off. The feelings, thoughts, and memories will follow. This approach entirely circumvents the sterile "false memory" controversy and quasi-Freudian approaches that use catharsis and abreaction - these methods make the PTSD reactions worse, while distorting the patient's memories and feelings further.

    The key is to DE-sensitize the patient, not to recycle the original trauma. Desensitization not only defuses the trauma, it allows the patient to remember the events more accurately. If the trauma is not defused, the patient cannot remember properly. Accurately remembering is a byproduct of successful treatment, NOT the starting point.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A redeeming message for trauma survivors, March 7, 2003
    ...I found "Waking the Tiger" an engrossing approach to the problem of how trauma creates damaging and often enduring symptoms. Dr. Levine's concept of the "freeze response" in the face of overwhelming threat provides a missing link to symptoms such as dissociation that our old ideas of "fight or flight" fail to explain.

    Even more important to trauma survivors and their therapists is the redeeming message that immobilization in the face of threat is an automatic biological response that is not voluntarily chosen by the victim. This was vividly portrayed in an episode of the TV series "Cagney and Lacey" in which Cagney, a tough and well-trained police officer, becomes the victim of a rape and later struggles with the helplessness she experienced while it was occurring. The January 2003 issue of Clinical Psychiatry News reported that an overwhelming majority of victims of sexual assault describe a moderate or high level of paralysis occurring during the assault, consistent with Dr. Levine's observations. The "freeze response" is also addressed in an article on fear in the March 2003 issue of Discover magazine.

    Dr. Levine also provides an astute protrayal of the nature of memory by acknowledging that memories are not literal recordings of events but a complex of images that are influenced by arousal, emotional context, and prior experience. Like a painting, memories may even transform over time as new experiences add layers of meaning to the images. While remembering the past can be an important aspect of therapy, appreciating the subjective quality of memories is crucial to integrating them appropriately into the healing process.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great New Thinking About Healing Trauma, November 9, 1997
    This is a fantastic book because it clarifies what we go through during trauma and how we can continue the process instead of stopping it. Once we stop it, as we humans like to do, stop the emotions, we stop the process of healing. The authors help us to understand that we can release energy that otherwise gets "stuck" within us and benefit from that release. Letting go, for some of us, is a good lesson for life.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not a self-help book, January 3, 2007
    This book is interesting in that it examines the ways in which humans differ from animals in their response to trauma, and it tells some stories about the author's successes in helping adults and children heal from traumas. I was surprised to learn that medical procedures performed on small children can often be traumatizing, particularly if they are restrained against their will, but it makes sense. (Stop circumcising infants!)

    But Levine's therapeutic methods are somewhat vague. He implies that he sort of hypnotizes people into re-enacting a story sort of like their original trauma, but not exactly, in a kind of dream state. In the re-enactment, the person successfully triumphs over their assailant by fighting back or running away. I'm not sure how a traumatized person could use this method on themselves. Levine's website offers a few links to therapists that have been trained in his methodology, but again, it's hard to know if they would be as effective in using it as he seems to be.

    I have found the book Trauma Releasing Exercises to be much more helpful and to the point. Also, Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery is essential reading. ... Read more


    12. How to Survive the Loss of a Love
    by Peter McWilliams, Harold H. Bloomfield, Melba Colgrove
    Paperback
    list price: $7.95 -- our price: $7.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0931580439
    Publisher: Prelude Press
    Sales Rank: 6783
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    One of the most directly helpful books on the subject of loss ever written, the first edition of this comforting and inspiring book, published in 1976, sold nearly two million copies. This completely revised and expanded edition encompasses not only the medical and psychological advances in the treatment of loss, but also the authors' own experiences. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Emotional healing for broken hearts - excellent!, May 24, 2000
    Let's face it, abandonment hurts. There would be more charity in murder. But, if your heart has been broken, if you are the one who wanted the relationship to work, if you are the one left behind - this is the perfect book for you. Buy it.

    In it you will find short, one page chapters chock full of important reminders, proverbs, advice and practical suggestions. Throughout the message is constant - let yourself hurt, take responsibility for your own pain and your own healing, you will survive, you will smile again, life really is worth living.

    Accompanying every chapter is a short, one page, free verse poem. Nothing has ever helped me feel more than these did.

    I read most of this book while sitting in a city park one sunny, Sunday afternoon. All around me were families playing with their children. Inside I was bleeding, and frequently crying. It took at least two more years to get over being dumped, but my healing started that day. Maybe your's will, too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This one really does help, September 13, 2006
    I've ploughed through a spate of self-help books on this topic lately, and have written some scathing reviews; because all of them appeared to have their own agendas, and none of them seemed to help.

    Until I found this one.

    This book described to me EXACTLY what I was going through. It did not seek to reframe the experience within the author's religious views. It did not seek to impose a decision or a philosophy on me. It did not try to get me to DO anything. It simply described exactly what was happening, and it did it in a way that made it okay for me to feel the way I was feeling.

    The book is formatted in pairs of facing pages. On the lefthand page is straightforward prose; on the righthand pages (with a few exceptions) are short, original poems. This presentation I found extremely powerful. The poems connect in a way that the prose can't; and the prose lends strength and validity and concrete information to the fellings expressed in the poetry. The combined effect is one of knowledge and empathy.

    In other words, reading this book is like sitting down and talking with a wise, kind friend.

    The writing style is sparse yet complete. It would pass any test that E.B. White could put to it. It is, in itself, enjoyable.

    Reading the above, I find that my description is inadequate. If you are going through the loss of a loved one, or, in fact, any kind of a loss at all, this book will give you comfort... it will put things in perspective for you, without demeaning or trivializing your feelings, and it will leave you in a place from which you can move on.

    j michael rowland

    5-0 out of 5 stars A True Lifesaver, May 3, 1999
    After a sudden and devastating breakup, this book was a God-send. I read it nearly every day for months. The authors provide very practical advice, and reassure the reader that his/her chaotic emotions are a natural part of the grieving (and healing) process. "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" is an essential purchase for anyone grieving a breakup or divorce.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect book to help you through..., October 8, 2000
    This book is especially helpful if you're experiencing a painful situation (death, divorce, any type of loss), when every moment feels like an eternity, and you need someone/something to turn to. You can read it from beginning to end (it walks you through various stages of healing, from loss/despair to forgiveness/hope), or you can skip around to sections that are meaningful in a particular moment. Written by 2 counselors and a poet, it contains a perfect blend of practical, healing advice and soothing words/affirmations. Recommended for all readers--any gender, any age--even for those who would never open a self-help-type book. It's the kind of book you can refer back to. It's also makes a perfect gift for a friend or family member in need. (If you're thinking of sending this as a gift from far away, and you haven't had a chance to see the book, you can trust that it will be well-received by your friend/loved one.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Succeeds in its goals, October 25, 2002
    "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" is a nice, little, easy-to-read book consisting of 200 pages of tidbits that attempt to quell, numb, or assuage pain. Each page is only half-full of double-spaced text providing a self-contained message, and the facing page contains tidbits of poetry or anonymous biting comments, making the book a quick read and easy to pick up and start at any page.

    These pages provide encouragement, sympathy, and warmth. If suffering from major loss or betrayal, advice like "hug yourself ... it feels good" and "be gentle with yourself" may seem patronizing; however, the book will still provide some solace, even if it's the stoic "there is nothing to be done.... Only accept it, and hurt." While those words do not cuddle the aching heart, they do provide sobering realism: life is tough and people can be cruel. For what it tries to be, this book succeeds.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Good for breakups, definitely not for deaths, September 7, 2003
    I was sorely disappointed with this book. I think if you're going through the heartbreak of a failed relationship, then it might be very helpful. But for those who are grieving the death of their partners/spouses/mates, take it from me -- this book will not be of much help at all. It does not acknowledge the pain of losing your loved one to death. Some of the suggestions in the book, such as "take a bubble bath," are ridiculously facile. The prevailing suggestions for survival focus on forgetting the person we loved, which may work if you're trying to get over someone who's dumped you, but not possible or advisable if you're grieving someone who died. If you are a widow/widower, as I am, then you'll just want to pitch this book across the room.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gentle, supportive book for anyone who has experienced loss., March 19, 2002
    I am a psychologist working in a college counseling center, and I frequently recommend this book to my clients. It provides support for anyone who is experiencing grief related to a loss, including the death of a loved one and the breakup of a relationship. The best thing about this book is its unique, easy-to-read format: the chapters are written in outline form, and each chapter is just 1-2 pages long and printed on the left-hand sides of the pages only. The right-hand side pages contain poems, quotes, and sayings offering comfort as well as inspiration. This book will help you to feel that you are not along as you begin to cope with your loss.

    2-0 out of 5 stars It's good for a breakup loss, but not really for a death loss, January 24, 2007
    I bought this book based on all the rave reviews here on Amazon. And had I divorved or had a relationship breakup it would have been perfect, BUT, having lost the love of my life to a death... I did not find comfort in this book. I am not angry at him, he did not betray me, I do not wonder if he will call me again, he died, prematurely. And I miss him.

    This is a great book if you are suffering grief from a breakup, but I personally, did not find it useful or helpful at all for the type of loss I suffered. I cherish the love that we had - and he did not leave me willingly by choice - therefore I do not feel I have to process feelings of anger towards him.

    I don't usually write reviews, but I wanted to keep the contents of this book in context so that people searching for some relief of pain having suffered the death of a loved one, will not be mislead. (like I was)

    Obviously this is purley my own opinion, but for what it is worth, the pain of a breakup (which I have also experienced) is a different kind of pain than the pain of a death, and it is not reasonable to assume they could be treated the same way.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hope For the Hurting Heart, October 25, 2005
    Purchasing "How To Survive the Loss of a Love" was the first step I took in starting my journey toward healing after a devastating break up. Depression, self destructive behavior, uncontrollable crying -- you name it, that's how I reacted to this break up. I read the book from cover to cover in a day (an easy read). It is filled with very useful information that is mostly common sense, but all of this is forgotten when you are in devastating pain. The book re-introduces you to all this in a way that can be understood by an individual who's existence is clouded with agony. The poems on each page really capture the essense of what you're going through and it made me realize that there were in fact other people who went through this hell and survived. It's not that I felt I was the only person on earth to deal with a break up, but when you're in the eye of the storm, you feel an incredible sense of solitude and no one else exists but you and your misery. It covers all aspects of dealing with your loss from understanding it, dealing with it, SURVIVING it, healing from it and lastly, moving on. This is a book that I will read many, many times. It's filled with comfort and strength for the broken hearted. It is my oasis in this unbearable hell. Highly recommended to all who's hearts bleed for another.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A step by step guide to what you can expect after a loss., April 3, 1999
    I was given this book about a week after my husband died. It helped me to gauge how fast I was progressing in my healing and what I could expect next. It recognized the individuality of each person's reaction to a loss while reassuring the reader that certain emotions are normal and will pass. I am sorry to see that it is out of print since I gave my copy to my brother-in-law after the loss of my sister. I want a copy for myself and would like to give one to the widow of my husband's cousin as I know its short passages make for easy reading when the pain is overwhelming all attempts at concentration and reason. ... Read more


    13. Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die
    by David Kessler
    Hardcover
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1401925421
    Publisher: Hay House
    Sales Rank: 11000
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    David Kessler, one of the most renowned experts on death and grief, takes on three uniquely shared experiences that challenge our ability to explain and fully understand the mystery of our final days. The first is “visions.” As the dying lose sight of this world, some people appear to be looking into the world to come. The second shared experience is getting ready for a “trip.” These trips may seem to us to be all about leaving, but for the dying, they may be about arriving. Finally, the third phenomenon is “crowded rooms.” The dying often talk about seeing a room full of people, as they constantly repeat the word crowded. In truth, we never die alone. Just as loving hands greeted us when we were born, so will loving arms embrace us when we die.
            In the tapestry of life and death, we may begin to see connections to the past that we missed in life. While death may look like a loss to the living, the last hours of a dying person may be filled not with emptiness, but rather with fullness.  In this fascinating book, David brings us stunning stories from the bedsides of the dying that will educate, enlighten, and comfort us all.

         
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms........, May 31, 2010
    Before the mother of a friend of mine died, she told her daughter she was about to take a trip. Knowing this, attracted me to David Kessler's book. He, himself, is very interesting but the stories of the experiences of health care workers of all kinds was more than interesting too.

    It is a very quick read. Each experience is short, descriptive and to the point. Most of the people were happy to write of their experiences with the dying because they could maintain anonymity. However, their lives and beliefs were challenged and often changed because of these experiences.

    The book is definitely worth reading and giving extra thought to. In many ways it's very comforting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars WOW and FINALLY, July 2, 2010
    FINALLY someone has captured what so many of us believe to be true and even more of us have witnessed as our loved ones pass away. And regardless of whether or not you believe in the idea that there is a universal, common and beautiful experience as we pass on, there is an undeniable take away from Kessler's work... enightenment and hope. That's one reason I love this book. (My husband, the biggest skeptic of all, was blown away by this work. And it has opened up a wonderful dialogue between us--another reason I love this book!) Kessler's authentic, compelling and beautifully written stories allow us a peek into what is an inevitable time in all of our lives, the end of it. And if you don't already believe, you may very well be convinced. WOW!

    5-0 out of 5 stars visions,trips and crowded rooms, June 1, 2010
    Iloved this book.I have read many on this subject. This one gives hope and comfort to those who may be taking care of friends or loved ones who are preparing to leave this mortal sphere .I have always felt that to learn of death and dying is to learn how better to live.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Short but informative, September 8, 2010
    I didn't know that there were Federal Rules of Evidence that say that a death bed confession is to be taken as the truth. David's Kessler's book Visions, Trips and Crowed Rooms is so comforting for anyone who's ever lost a loved one which probably means all of us. He fills the book with the visions of the dying from his work as a nurse and and co-authored two books with the pioneer of books on death and grief, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who knows suffering from the death of a loved one. I found it amazing that the dying don't find it a frightening experience, but a comforting one instead. They reach up to the ceiling towards someone we can't see with smiles on their faces.

    I too had the experience of seeing someone die, though I wasn't actually at the bedside when my husband's grandmother passed over. I was in the funeral home getting ready to sing Amazing Grace, and while in prayer (I was praying hard not to mess up the song) I saw a vision of my husband's grandmother laying down to take a nap because she was so tired. When she woke up she was amazed at how well she felt. She looked up and saw someone I couldn't see, and to me she looked young and had dark hair(something I'd never seen her with) and she was sitting up within her old body. Then she looked back and saw her old body and smiled and looked back up at whoever and that's when it ended.

    Needless to say I thought I was just seeing things, until I started reading about other deathbed visions and all of them are reaching upwards to someone or something. Knowing this validated my vision of which I've never forgotten down to the last detail.

    It's so wonderful that people like Kessler dedicate their lives to this subject. He probably has no idea how many people he's helped.

    When I Dream

    3-0 out of 5 stars Repetitious, few details, June 13, 2010
    I was disappointed in this book, though it is comforting, since I have been recently bereaved. I had hoped that the accounts would give more details about what the dying persons said they heard or saw. Instead, each account sounded like it was written by the same person, (the author.) Each account proceeds in exactly the same way: the narrator's credentials are given, the setting is recounted, then the incident is related. This doesn't mean that the author invented the accounts, but that is the feeling that comes across to the reader. The book would have sounded more authentic if the author would have let the contributors write their own accounts, with minimal editing. The author does say that the experiences of many dying people are strikingly similar; this book underscores his assertion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reflective, inspirational vignettes, August 28, 2010
    I am enjoying reading this book of vignettes on the reports given of visions/encounters with the other world by persons near death or in critical near-death health situations. The reports are given by physicians, nurses, family members and end-of-life caregivers who are usually attending patients. The reports are brief, well written, and makes one reflect on the possibility that life is more than living and death is more than dying. Whether the reports are halucinations or induced by medication, they do present as touching and inspirational.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, August 2, 2010
    Excellent writing, very inspirational, easy to read. I love it!

    All the compiled essays from family members, physicians, nurses, social workers, etc. are very honest and written with a lot of candor.

    Dying a peaceful death is the way I would like to go. Wouldn't anybody?

    4-0 out of 5 stars When you lose a loved one...., October 16, 2010
    When someone loses a loved one, this book helps to remind us that our loved ones depart from us in the physical form and yet are still with us; and realizing their "move" to the hereafter takes place with loved ones who have passed. They/we are always loved. At least that is my take and what I choose to believe. Losing someone is so sad and missing them is the worst. This book helped me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms, September 18, 2010
    Interesting book. It only confirms what I already believe, but is still very interesting. It certainly gives comfort, knowing you will see loved ones again.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting . . ., December 26, 2010
    I've read a TON of books on the afterlife and near-death experiences as well as books on the pre-death experiences. This book, while not my absolute favorite, definitely held my attention. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. The fact that I got through the entire book without rolling my eyes or feeling dejavu because it was just like every other book I've read on the subject says a lot!

    ... Read more


    14. Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover's Story of Joy and Anguish
    by Mark R. Levin
    Paperback
    list price: $12.00 -- our price: $9.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1439165432
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 4777
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Although Mark Levin is known as a constitutional lawyer and a nationally syndicated broadcaster, he is, first and foremost, a dog lover. In 1998, he and his family welcomed a half-Border Collie/half-Cocker Spaniel they named Pepsi into their lives. Six years later, his wife and son persuaded him to adopt a dog from the local shelter, a Spaniel mix. It turned out he was older than originally thought, and he was the most beautiful dog they'd ever seen. They named him Sprite. Their lives would never be the same.

    Sprite and Pepsi became fast friends. They did everything together, from rummaging through the trash to loudly greeting the deliveryman. And the Levin family fell in love with him -- with his gentle nature, beautiful face and soft, huggable fur. But on Halloween night, shortly after joining their family, Sprite suddenly collapsed and was rushed to the animal hospital. It was the first of many such visits, and the start of a long journey for the Levin family, filled with much joy and anguish.

    During the next two years, Sprite and Pepsi were inseparable. And Sprite's bond with the Levin family deepened. Friends, neighbors, and even Mark's radio audience came to know and love Sprite. As Mark's daughter turned eighteen and graduated from high school and Mark's son turned fifteen, Sprite's health deteriorated -- even as his spirits remained high and his beauty and grace continued to inspire. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2006, the Levin family said their emotional final goodbye. Crushed and consumed with grief, Mark turned to family, friends, and fans for help.

    But new hope came when the Levins least expected it.

    Rescuing Sprite is a stunningly intimate look at the love between a family and a dog, one that movingly shows, in Mark Levin's words, that "in the end, we humans are the lucky ones."

    The author will donate a portion of his proceeds from the sale of this book to animal shelters. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, November 5, 2007
    I could not stop reading this great book, and finished it on the day I received it.

    It was very therapeutic, and I wish I would have had it a year and a half ago when I lost my beloved companion "Rover." Any animal lover who has been through the anguish of a sick pet would benefit from this book, and you know you are not alone in your anguish.

    Although it broke my heart and opened a lot of old wounds, some quite difficult memories of my own pain, it also helped me to realize I am not alone, especially since I felt extremely guilty, such as Mark did, of feeling so distraught over an animal's death.

    I thank you Mark, and I know Sprite thanks you for keeping his memory alive, and for bringing awareness to all of the wonderful animals that are out there in the shelters and to the wonderful people who work there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Life, November 7, 2007
    This is a book about love. It's a gift to all of us who love our family members who happen to be furry or hairy. They come to us for such a short time but bring us untold joy and happiness and fun. They love us no matter what. They love us if we're fat or ugly or smelly or in a bad mood. They don't care if we're rich or poor, what color our skin is, what our politics or religion are. They only care about us. And they ask so little in return.

    Mark has captured that love in this incredible book. While you may or may not agree with Mark's politics or his rhetoric, he is a kind, decent man. And he absolutely loves his dogs. He considers them part of his family. This book is not about his politics or his take on current affairs. It's about the love and loss of his beloved Sprite.

    Those of us who have had pets know the great, deep love we feel for them. And most all of us know the deep, sickening pain of losing them. We know the depth of pain when we are faced with the choice to put them to sleep. We have so many mixed emotions. Sadly, that pain never leaves us.

    I watched my wonderful old faithful dog, Sague, die a few years ago. I think of him many times each day and still miss him. I still feel the pain, almost as fresh and raw as it was going through his illness and death. I can remember the look in his old, kind, smart eyes.

    If I didn't have my dogs and cats in my house, it would no longer be a home. That's what our pets give us.

    So if you've ever loved a pet, especially a dog, but any pet, you need this book. You need it so you will not feel alone and so you will understand that we all share this deep abiding love for our dear companions. We also all share the deep pain when we lose them. The strongest of us are torn apart by their leaving us. It's a terrible loss. And it helps to share it with others. That's the power of this book.

    This is a special book. It touches the soul. It touches the raw part of each of us, the part that we all have if we're normal, caring human beings.

    This is the book of the year, if not the decade. Buy it and feel the love and warmth and be grateful for every day you have with your wonderful pets.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping Read, November 2, 2007
    This book was hard to put down. An emotional and honest story about dealing with the loss of a beloved dog, it will melt the heart of anyone who's had a pet they cared about. Levin reminds us that we need to block out all the distractions of daily life and appreciate what is really important.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful, November 4, 2007
    Mark's story is a sad tale that I can relate to. Mark has a talent of reliving his experiences and putting them down in words. Rescuing Sprite makes me feel both saddened and uplifted at the same time. I find myself cherishing my pets all the more as a result. I highly recommend this book to all pet owners.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Sensitive, November 4, 2007
    "Rescuing Sprite" tells the story of devotion and caring that pet owners can fully understand and non-pet owners will want to grasp hold of. The unbounded loyalty the family dog has for its loving family is told in a way that few before have done. Mark Levin has retold his family's stirring tale of adopting a dog from a humane society's foster parent program and the painful anguish of having to face the inescapable truth that their beloved member of the family was dying and hard decisions had to be made. Mark's book will open the eyes and hearts of his readers to the joy of accepting these lonely animals, as they do so much more than befriend, they foster loving memories that span the lives of all they come in contact with. My family and I have our own `Sprite-like' stories and this book puts it all in perspective. Well done Mark!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars For Dog Lovers, November 5, 2007

    I believe all dog owners should read the book and the small note below.


    To Dog Owners Everywhere: A Dog's Plea
    Treat me kindly, my beloved friend for no heart in all this world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

    Do not break my spirit with a stick for though I should lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.

    Speak to me often, for your voice is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail, when your footsteps fall upon my waiting ear.

    Please take me inside when it is cold and wet for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements.

    I ask no greater glory than to have the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.

    Keep my pan filled with water for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.

    Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, wiliing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.

    And my friend, when I am old and no longer enjoy good health and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going, I am not having fun.

    Please see that my trusting life is taken gently.

    I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was always safest in your hands.

    Author Unknown

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wow, October 28, 2007
    Unbelievable book and a very easy read. It will help you deal with your own pet loss and will bring you closer to your own pet. It's a very intimate look into Mark's own life and the joy that Sprite brought to him and his family.
    Every pet lover needs to read this book!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heart Rendering Tale, October 29, 2007
    A heart rendering tale that relates to all dog lovers. Any of us who own dogs know that we will probably outlive our four-legged companions. This doesn't make their passing any easier. Kudos to Mark Levin for sharing this beautiful story about his beloved dog, Sprite. I wholeheartedly urge anyone who has ever had a dog to read this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BONDING JOY & GRIEF, October 24, 2007
    Great Book! Sharing such an intimate part of family life is a difficult endeavor to fulfill. 'Rescuing Sprite' certainly fills the bill with inspirational entertainment. Many dog and pet owners will benefit by this meaningful story, gaining devotional love and care for their pets.

    Sprite & Pepsi prove that pets are members of the family by contributing their personalities full of love and loyalty with a positive atmosphere. 'Rescuing Sprite' relates these attributes emotionally, portraying the rewards of dog ownership as well as the grief of losing a loved pet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars More than just for dog lovers., November 5, 2007
    Rescuing Sprite is much more than a book about a dog. It's a book about life, death, compassion, and taking time to cherish every moment of life. I found the book easy to read; I read it in two days, which is fast for me. Levin does such an excellent job in the book that I almost found myself sitting along side of his beloved Sprite through all of the ups and downs. I honestly smiled, laughed, and cried like a baby. Beyond the basic story, Levin discusses the grieving process in very real terms, and shares feelings that all of us will experience in life. A fantastic book! ... Read more


    15. On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
    by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, David Kessler
    Paperback
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $8.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0743266293
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 9102
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Elisabeth Kbler-Ross's On Death and Dying changed the way we talk about the end of life. Before her own death in 2004, she and David Kessler completed On Grief and Grieving, which looks at the way we experience the process of grief.

    Just as On Death and Dying taught us the five stages of death -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance -- On Grief and Grieving applies these stages to the grieving process and weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, including sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, isolation, and healing. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very worthwhile read for those who grieve, October 14, 2005
    So often when we grieve people who have not experienced similar losses try to offer us suggestions of why the death made sense, why we shouldn't feel so bad, and that we should get over grieving and just move on with our lives. While sometimes those suggestions are good, and worthwhile, often we look back at others and think, you could not know how I feel. This book does a wonderful job of exploring the flood of emotions you feel after you lose someone.

    This book goes through in depth the stages of grieving and the misconnecptions that we may have about those stages. For example, acceptance does not mean, we are ok, and moving on without our loved one. In reality, it is knowing they have passed away and adjusting our lives around that loss, and guess what, you don't have to like moving on. I like how this book helps you explore the palette of grief that we all have with the deaths of loved ones.

    I honestly found myself weeping and remembering the deaths of my loved ones that I had recently lost. It was refreshing to read that the depth of the loss of my loved ones was normal, healthy, and even healing. I liked that in the forward the author felt that if he didn't lose sleep over writing the book, you would never lose sleep when reading the book. I can't recommmend this book enough for those who have lost loved ones. This book is a real blessing in the healing process of the death of a loved one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss the Wisdom of this Book on Grief and Grieving!!, November 23, 2005
    On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss by Elizabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler is a must-read book, a compelling page-turner for me, that provides profound insights into the necessity that we must properly grieve the passing of our loved ones.

    As pointed out by the authors, the grieving process is not instinctual for us; it requires learning. It is particularly important that as adults that we don't forget to teach our young about grieving, for if a child doesn't grieve in an appropriate way for him or her, that repressed grief may surface years later, a phenomenon that sometimes happens to adults as well.

    The book is very humane and compassionate and "teaches with short, clear and concrete stories" that analyze some of the many possible surrounding circumstances that others have faced in losing loved ones. Potentially, we and the people we know could face such circumstances as well. In addition, with these stories, the authors provide relevant and insightful advice and the reasons for that advice.

    The authors state that, "if you do not take the time to grieve, you cannot find a future in which loss is remembered and honored without pain." They remind us that we will never forget our loss of a loved one and that we will never be the same; they also remind us that we can learn, when our own individual timetable suggests, that it may be possible to find "renewed meaning" in our lives. This renewed meaning will continue to include, "loving memories and honor for those we have lost."

    I highly recommend that you read this book and that you give it to others, as personal circumstances "dictate." Kubler Ross is a legend in the field of grief counseling (she passed away within the last year) and Kessler brings remarkable humanitarian credentials of his own to the writing task. Their combined efforts results in producing a highly readable, compassionate, insightful, and useful book, nothing short of superb.


    5-0 out of 5 stars As a widower for ten years, this book the best yet, October 10, 2005
    As a widower for ten years, this book is the best yet on the grief and grieving process. Good practical information. Not an academic type of publication. I have read many such books since my spouse died.

    Another excellent book is C.S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed".

    5-0 out of 5 stars A helpful, moving and worthy follow up to Kubler Ross' classic book "On Death and Dying", August 7, 2005
    I have been in bereavement work for over ten years now. I was saddened when I read Elisabeth Kubler Ross had died, but surprised that she had written one last book with David Kessler. I preordered it the moment it become available from Amazon. After a few months of waiting, I thought it will never live up to my expectations. And it didn't, it surpassed them. I have never seen such a comforting and complete book that was organized so thoughtfully for someone in grief. And believe me, I have seen lots of grief books over the years. I will be highly recommending it for all our clients. This is a beautiful and befitting last book for Kubler Ross.

    5-0 out of 5 stars RIGHT ON!, November 21, 2005
    i lost twin daughters and i don't even know how to put into words what this book has done for me. It put in words exactly how i felt, what i was going through and that i am normal for feeling this way and i am on the right track in my grief even though it may not always feel like it.my journey through grief has been the roughest, most difficult thing i have EVER had to do or face and this book simply made the grief process a little better and made grief make sense. I so HIGHLY recommend this book to ANYONE who has lost someone. it will show you you're not alone and you will eventually come out on the other side and be able to enjoy life again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must have classic on the grieving process..., March 17, 2007
    As a professional coach with a graduate education in psychology in addition to specific study in the area of working with grief, I highly recommend this classic that explains the grieving process in depth from the lips of someone who spent their whole life immersed in working with people going through it. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a pioneer in this area and she handles this topic with depth and sensitivity.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A most comforting and deeply empathic book for all those who grieve the loss of a loved one., September 28, 2007
    When my father died of aortic stenosis six weeks ago, I was devastated. I had not anticipated my loss to be felt as intensely, for my grief to be so deeply experienced, so raw and debilitating. Having been a Masters-degreed level social worker for 28 years I knew, however, that reading books about grieving, seeking out grief counseling and attending bereavement groups would be profoundly healing experiences for me. Dr Kubler-Ross's and David Kessler's book ON GRIEF and GRIEVING has been the sixth book I have read about grieving and it has been the most helpful. Their stating "we believe with all our hearts that even in death, our loved one still exists..and that "the body is just a coat, a suit of clothes that we wear during our lifetime...a shell, a cocoon..." helped me like you would not believe. I had suffered a great deal of guilt about not being as helpful and supportive to my father as I wish I could have been in his final days. The book touched my core by giving me permission to forgive myself, that regret is a part of loss and that "no matter how much you did for your loved one, how much you cared for them and loved them, there will always be something else." The book concludes that "the pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking BECAUSE in loving we deeply connect with another human being and grief is the REFLECTION of the connection that has been lost. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain. That pain and our love are connected forever. To avoid the pain of loss would be to avoid the love and life we shared." I, therefore, STRONGLY recommend this book to ALL who grieve the loss of a loved one and have a need to be comforted. The Bible itself says "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." This book IS one of the ways that one can feel that comfort.

    5-0 out of 5 stars very accessable and comforting, November 16, 2005
    I found this book extremely insightful and gentle at a time when I needed a book to be just these things. It is written in a style that is both general and very specific at the same time. It spoke to my loss very keenly, but I felt it spoke to the concept of grief quite articulately and gave much needed permission for grief on one's own terms. I am going to get a copy for my sister and I recommend it as a condolence offering or for anyone who has lost a loved one.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Appreciation, February 15, 2006
    This book helped me understand the feelings that I am having, since I lost my wife. It also made me look at life alittle differently. I would recommend this book to anyone who has lost a loved one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars On Grief and Grieving, March 31, 2008
    "Grief is the intense emotional response to the pain of a loss. It is the reflection of a connection that has been broken. Most important, grief is an emotional, spiritual, and psychological journey to healing." pg. 227

    This book has been a tremendous help to me. I lost my husband, my best friend 7 months ago. I am not the kind of person who opens up to my close friends and family much less a therapist. I new I needed some help to get a perspective of what I was experiencing and feeling in my loss.
    I saw myself going through the 5 stages of grief; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
    In going through all these stages and reading this wonderful book I realize that it is ok to feel sad, it is ok to look at the picture of us and cry and even be angry because we won't be going back to Hawaii like we talked about. It's ok to not want to get out of bed some days.
    The most important thing I gained from reading this book is the fact that because he went away, my life is forever changed, I will never "get over it", and my family and friends will have to realize that.
    "The person you were is forever changed.
    A part of the old you died with your loved one.And a part of your loved one lives on in the new you." pg. 119
    ... Read more


    16. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One
    by Brook Noel
    Paperback
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $10.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1402212216
    Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
    Sales Rank: 10162
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Now there is a hand to hold...

    Each year about eight million Americans suffer the death of someone close to them. Now for thse who face the challenges of sudden death, there is a hand to hold, written by two women who have experienced sudden loss. This updated edition of the best-selling bereavement classic will touch, comfort, uplift and console. Authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D. explore sudden death and offers a comforting hand to hold for those who are grieving the sudden death of a loved one.

    Featured on ABC World News, Fox and Friends and many other shows, this book acts as a touchstone of sanity through difficult times. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye covers such difficult topics as the first few weeks, suicide, death of a child, children and grief, funerals and rituals, physical effects, homicide and depression. New material covers the unique circumstances of loss, men and women's grieving styles, religion and faith, myths and misunderstandings, I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye reflects the shifting face of grief.

    These pages have offered solace to over eighty thousand people, ranging from seniors to teenagers and from the newly bereaved to those who lost a loved one years ago. Individuals engulfed by the immediate aftermath will find a special chapter covering the first few weeks.

    Tapping their personal histories and drawing on numerous interviews, authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D, explore unexpected death and its role in the cycle of life. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye provides survivors with a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.

    PRAISE FOR I WASN'T READY TO SAY GOODBYE

    "I highly recommend this book, not only to the bereaved, but to friends and counselors as well."
    Helen Fitzgerald, author of The Grieving Child, The Mourning Handbook, and The Grieving Teen

    "This book, by women who have done their homework on grief... can hold a hand and comfort a soul through grief 's wilderness. Oustanding references of where to see other help."
    George C. Kandle, Pastoral Psychologist

    "Finally, you have found a friend who can not only explain what has just occurred, but can take you by the hand and lead you to a place of healing and personal growth. Whether you are dealing with the loss of a family member, a close personal associate or a friend, this guide can help you survive and cope, but even more importantly... heal."
    The Rebecca Review

    "For those dealing with the loss of a loved one, or for those who want to help someone who is, this is a highly recommended read."
    Midwest Book Review

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, well researched, helpful and comforting, November 7, 2000
    This is an excellent book on death, grief and loss. Sooner or later death will touch everyone's life. We may not all react the same but most will experience the stages of loss and grief from denial to acceptance. It can be a long often agonizing and lonely road to recovery. Sadly the impact of loss and death can leave many with a loss of their own will to live.

    This book does an excellent job of addressing a topic that most people choose not to address until they are directly confronted. I am an author of a children's book on death/loss/grief titled "ANGEL STACEY" and I personally know the impact on the loss of a spouse and raising young children who have lost a parent. This book is for the adult who struggles with their own feelings of loss and often has other family members to consider and to console.

    Grief has a tendency to creep up in the odd hours of the day and the night and can be overwhelming to those experiencing loss. To have a title, a book that you can reach out and grab at any hour offers comfort. I wish this title had been available sooner as it often was a book that comforted and calmed me most during my own deep dark hours of despair.

    Written from knowledge and from a place of understanding and guidance is sure to make this book a winner and a timeless treasure for anyone who has known a deep loss. It cannot take the pain and hurt away but it will help in the knowlege that those feelings are normal. Also that others have experienced the same and made it back to a seemingly normal existence. Death changes lives and changes people forever, many will grow and change for the better. I was never so humble and in essence never so pure and so good as I was immediately following the loss of my first husband and later the loss of my oldest daughter. It was only later with the anger and ultimately acceptance that I found myself once again on level ground. Death or loss can uproot your entire existence. This book is excellent and necessary.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nonsectarian Advice for Grieving from Unexpected Deaths, August 23, 2004
    I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye is the best non-religious book I have read on grieving from an unexpected death.

    The authors have direct experience with the subject and share their own deep traumas in considerable detail that added to the relevance of the book.

    They also sought out the stories of people who had experiences with unexpected death that were different from their own so that you would have specific examples that come closer to your own situation.

    In my case, my Father was 87 when he unexpectedly passed away last September. We all thought that he was good for 100, but he died quietly in his sleep that night. Since then, we've all been in one stage of shell shock or another. I can hardly imagine how much worse it is when the person is younger . . . or is a child or sibling. My heart aches for anyone who has had those experiences.

    I found the book to be "right on" in describing the issues that my family and I have dealt with. I wish I had known about the book before my Dad died. It would have helped even more then.

    The book helps in many different ways. First, you get advice on the help you need immediately after the death. Second, you learn about the various ways that you may be affected. Third, you find out how long the effects may last. Mourning in these situations takes much longer than I realized. Fourth, you find out how to help others grieve. Fifth, you find many old beliefs questioned that don't seem to be true. Sixth, you get help with dealing over the long term. In part two, there are stories that relate to different types of sudden losses: a friend, a parent, a child, a partner, and a sibling. The third part deals with practical resources for recovering including self-help, therapy, exercises, organizations and support choices (including books). The appendix includes suggestions for a memorial service, a eulogy, calls that need to be made and things to ask friends to do.

    In one helpful section of the book, an overwhelmed person can just hand the pages to a friend and point. The friend can take over from there.

    Even if you don't think you will ever face an unexpected death that is close to you, I suggest you read this book. There's no way to know. When it happens, be sure that you know what to do when you aren't ready to say goodbye to a loved one.

    I drew a lot of my comfort during the experience from my religious beliefs. If you haven't yet developed that side of your life, I strongly urge you to do so.

    May God bless you!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book helped me survive, February 4, 2002
    When I first came across this book, I was hurting so very badly. Mike, my very dearest friend and the man I was in love with had been killed in an accident. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye to him. I hurt so bad that I walked in a blind maze. I really didn't want to live on. What I remember the most about this book...wasn't just the story of the loss that was encountered by the authors but their wisdom in helping others see ways to go on with their lifes and not be full of such engulfing sadness. I will always be grateful that this book found me and helped reach such a deeply hurting area in my life. Even though I had worked as a hospice nurse and also survived so many personal deaths of wonderful people who knew me outside of my nursing; I had the hardest time releasing this part of my life and finding ways to go on without a true closure of someone I will always love so dearly. I highly, highly recommend it to all who are faced with a "sudden" death....especially if the death seems to be insurmountable to your living on.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Grieving and Coping with loss, guidance for the survivors, May 8, 2000
    Just finished reading "I Wasn't Ready to Say Good Bye", a friend recommended the title to me. My 17-year-old son, Roman died in the prime of life and I didn't have a chance to say good bye. I found the book to be more than a reference, or quick handling of the matter, I identified with similar emotions, the kick in stomach when you are already emptied of air, and the loss of "clean" closure. This book offered perspectives and "normal" responses and actions for each stage of loss. It identifies and provides descriptions for your recognition and insight.

    I wanted to read every word, I felt we were joined, in a lot of ways, in our losses and I wanted the insight. The book is organized for easy handling and easy reading. You benefit from the experiences of the writers as they each experienced losses in their lives, and due to their losses, I find myself more apt to believe what they are writing about. A lot of practical advise, personal anecdotes, and references / citing to other works make for a full coverage and very helpful work. You may decide to want to explore a certain area more than others, great, they provide references for additional reading.

    This is a good book for counselors to have available for their own reference and to provide people with loss. When you have a loss of this nature, you will want the information covered in this book. When our son died, he went to be with God. My wife, other son and daughter all know that. We STILL needed to grieve. In the book, it covers the "loss" from various perspectives, I benefited from this section in that it made me more sensitive to how non-family people treated my son and daughter. We all lost Roman, not just his mother and I. Simple inquiries made to our children started isolating them from their own grieving. After reading the book, I focused on correcting and mending areas of communications between my children and "well meaning" people.

    If you have experienced loss, you need a book that gives you information and is readable at the same time. This book is it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book on dealing with sudden loss, July 29, 2003
    The death of a loved one is always an emotionally difficult experience. When it comes suddenly and unexpectedly it is even more difficult. In "I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye" the authors take you through the grieving process as well as learning how to deal with such a tragic loss. The first part of the book deals with issues from how to survive the first few weeks to understanding the emotional and physical aspects of grief to dispelling myths about the grieving process.

    The second part is mainly the sharing of the stories of various people who have experienced the sudden loss of a loved one. The stories include the loss of a friend, a parent, a child, a partner, and a sibling. This section examines the various related problems that sometimes exist as a result of a loss. For example, losing a partner but having surviving children, dealing with a suicide, and the difficulties of couples surviving the loss of a child are all discussed.

    The third section discusses some of the pathways that people take through grief. Of particular importance is that is clearly dispels the myth that we all have a particular pathway that we use to move on past a loss. Each one of us is different and we all have our ways of dealing with grief. What may take one person six months to recover from may take another ten years, some may cry, some may not, some may experience forgetfulness, some may not, we are all different.

    Throughout the book the authors discuss how to be a helpful friend for those who are going through the grieving process. The book finishes with a listing of support and resource contacts. For those dealing with the loss of a loved one, or for those who want to help someone who is, this is a highly recommended read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Friend who Understands, January 25, 2006
    "I need someone who believes that the sun will rise again, but who does not fear my darkness. Someone who can point out the rocks in my way without making me a child by carrying me. Someone who can stand in thunder and watch the lightning and believe in a rainbow." ~Fr. Joe Mahoney

    When my grandfather left this world, I remember my mother disappearing from our lives and as children this was our first experience observing the devastating effects of grief. We also observed how she dealt the all the stages of grief. We were too young to comfort her and didn't know what to say. I used to think talking about loss was something you should avoid, until we lost my grandmother and my mother and her two sisters taught me the beauty of remembering and celebrating a life well lived.

    The need to talk about loss can lead to a deeper healing process and having a comforting resource provides a much-needed respite and a place of understanding. Finally, you have found a friend who can not only explain what has just occurred, but can take you by the hand and lead you to a place of healing and personal growth. Whether you are dealing with the loss of a family member, a close personal associate or a friend, this guide can help you survive and cope, but even more importantly...heal. For it is in the healing where the beauty of life returns. One of the most beautiful aspects of remembering my grandmother is that she passed along many of her recipes to me and now when I cook it feels as if she is there with me in spirit.

    In order to move through the grieving process, Brook Noel and Pamela Blair explain the emotional and physical affects of grief. They start the book with notes for the first few weeks and explain the stages of shock, denial, depression, anger and acceptance. There are helpful guides for anyone helping others with loss. The chapter on Myths and Misunderstandings answers many questions that need to be answered. Should you take medication to get through the process or would a natural therapy work better? I have found Biofeedback to be very effective for decreasing stress and they also discuss natural remedies for depression and anxiety. I have found the Bach Rescue Remedy to be very effective and comforting. Explaining the situation to children and dealing with the holidays are also issues to consider. Writing poetry and memories in a journal are also ideas that are helpful and healing.

    Understanding grief can also help you with all areas of loss in your life, because I think we go through them when we lose anything or anyone we truly love. So in that regard, this book is for everyone and will be appreciated by counselors, pastors, family members, friends and especially by anyone who is currently experiencing the affects of loss. A Companion Guide/Workbook and CDs are also available.

    ~The Rebecca Review

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful, October 29, 2004
    Over the last year my family has lost many friends and loved ones. All but two were 18 or younger. My sister's boyfriend, Andrew not even a month after he turned 17 was killed in a still unsolved drowning "accident". My brother lost two good friends. One in an automobile accident and one in a motorcycle accident. I had a co-worker who passed at just 42 from a massive heart attack and also lost my Grandma suddenly. It has been a lot to bare. There has been a lot to try and explain. This book has given really great insights. These two women worked really hard to give us all something to help us better understand our grief. I don't think we will ever fully understand our grief, but this does give more information than I have found elsewhere. Also, our grief is treated with a delicacy that only other grievers of a sudden death would know. I would recommend this to anyone!

    5-0 out of 5 stars you just never know, August 29, 2000
    Life is short and unpredictable. I lost a loved one over two years ago. It was the most difficult time period. I felt all alone since I was young and most people my age had never endured any hardship. Feeling sorry for myself for over a year, blocking out friends and family, there was one friend who came across Ms Noel's and Dr Blair's book. As I started reading the book I couldn't put it down. It made me laugh and cry but also it helped me face the fact that I am still living. It helped me cope even though I thought I never would. Thank you!

    5-0 out of 5 stars ******WONDERFUL and I'd give it more STARS if I could!!!!!!!!******, April 17, 2006
    I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye is such a wonderful, wonderful book! To see my thoughts, actions, and feelings of everything that comes along during the grief of a loved one, particularly one lost by a sudden death. I was even comforted by carrying it with me for over a year. Just having it near me helped so that I could read it anytime. I recently borrowed it to my best friend who just lost her younger sister to suicide and I actually feel very naked without my copy!

    My favorite aunt was murdered by my uncle (her husband/my mom's brother) and then he committed suicide. Trying to deal with it was so hard because I felt there was no one in the world who understood my pain, my fears, my irrational thoughts, "griefbursts", guilt, and that overwhelming feeling of being lost. This book helped me to find my way, to know that everything I was feeling and thinking was completely normal, and just to see it all in print is such a relief. I've also lost an uncle to a heart attack, friends to suicide, other friends to vehicle accidents, and also the loss of a grandparent who died of old age; and this book has helped me to accept all those I've lost in the past and to realize that all people grieve differently, that there is no time frame for it and that no one can tell you when you're ready to "move on". This book gives the griever power to accept what has happened and move through the grieving process and to understand it a little better.

    This book teaches you the grief process from just about every point of view possible (parent, child, sibling, friend, etc.), gives you tips on how to cope and memoralize the ones you've lost, advice on where to seek professional help when needed, and the writers tell their own stories of loss and everything they experienced. I Wasn't Ready to Say Goodbye mentions the taboos surrounding sudden deaths such as suicide or homicide and lets you know that it's OK to talk about it and that you need to talk about it.

    Just an absolutely wonderful book on grief after a sudden death loss. There are very few out there that will compare to this one, especially since this isn't a book about faith, as many grief books are. It's a straight-forward grieving process gold mine! I also purchased the workbook that accompanies this one, however, I did not get around to actually doing it so I don't know if it would be helpful. For those of you who are comfortable with journaling, the workbook would be an excellent compliment to the text.

    Sorry for those of you who are having to look for this, but I am telling you, this is a wonderful book and one of the best out there!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful, March 13, 2004
    I found this book to be comforting and very helpful. While this book could help any bereaved person, its particular care to the topic of sudden death is thorough, thought-provoking and enlightening. This type of death is so different than any other, and until this book, I hadn't found a book that truly covered those needs. I noticed a review that said it did not help with personal growth--while I respect everyone's right to an opinion, I must say I wonder if the reader read the whole book. There are several chapters devoted specifically to personal growth, finding mean, transforming loss, creating rituals for healing, calming exercises, healing exericse--not to mention over 50 pages of comprehensive reviews of support resources to help the bereaved. I just thought it interesting because I have never found a book more helpful for personal growth. I just read about the new companion workbook that came out which provides over 100 pages to explore feelings and growth. I am off to order that now! Brook is also coming to Charleston as a keynote speaker for the Bereaved Parents meeting this year. I can't wait to meet her in person and hear her talk about her work and attend her classes. Thank you for writing this book Pam and Brook. You two have TRULY helped me heal, let me know I am not crazy and changed my life for the better. ... Read more


    17. With Love and Laughter, John Ritter
    by Amy Yasbeck
    Hardcover
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1416598413
    Publisher: Gallery
    Sales Rank: 16711
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    With Love and Laughter is actress Amy Yasbeck’s most enduring memory of the life she shared with her husband, John Ritter. He was one of America’s most popular and beloved film and television actors. We welcomed him into our homes weekly with his Emmy Award–winning portrayal of Jack Tripper on Three’s Company and his hit comedy 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. On September 11, 2003, John Ritter’s death from an undiagnosed aortic dissection, at the age of fifty-four, shocked and saddened not only his family and friends but also his millions of fans around the world. In this celebration of the life she shared with John, Yasbeck gives an emotionally honest account of navigating the shock and heartbreak of her family’s sudden loss. She honors his memory by recounting the lessons learned from her husband and his unique approach to life. She encourages us to enrich our own lives, as John did, by joyfully acknowledging our connectedness to one another. The tragedy of his untimely and avoidable death holds its own valuable lessons: life-saving ones. In 2007, John’s brother, Tom, empowered with the correct information about aortic aneurysm and dissection’s familial link, was properly diagnosed and his aneurysm was treated successfully. Knowing who is genetically at risk for this condition enables us all to avoid being blindsided by this insidious and often deadly disease. Here is an account of Yasbeck’s call to action for the public and medical community alike, culminating in the formation of the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health and the Ritter Rules. In this powerful memoir Amy Yasbeck shares her deeply personal and ultimately hopeful journey of surviving the devastating loss of her husband. Yasbeck looks back with anecdotes and memories from both John’s life and her own. Here are the unforgettable times she shared with a man who was adored for finding humor in everyday encounters, never failing to energize and entertain everyone around him. His philosophy was summed up by his favorite autograph for his fans, With Love and Laughter, John Ritter. Amy Yasbeck’s powerful story reminds us that love never dies . . . and the laughter doesn’t have to end.AMY YASBECKWITH LOVE AND LAUGHTER,

    John Ritter ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Funny and poignant read about John Ritter, September 9, 2010
    I couldn't put the book down. It tells vignettes of John's life that are both funny and poignant. You learn from Amy's insights that he was just the same in real life as was on TV and in movies. John Ritter's loss became a crusade for Amy to make people more aware of aortic health. She has established the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health and continues to educate others. It is a book worth reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a read!!, September 19, 2010
    Loved this book!! I couldn't put it down.It made me laugh...and cry.John was such a unique individual and Amy did a great job portraying that.I definitely recommend this book to all John's fans.....you WON'T be disappointed!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I laughed, I cried. Best book ever!, December 4, 2010
    I have always loved John Ritter. From Three's Company to 8 Simple Rules. He was the man of my dreams, I wanted to marry someone just like Jack Tripper. When he died I cried, a lot. I, of course had never met John but he had been in my life for years. Watching episodes of 8 Simple Rules after he died was too hard for me. I grieved for him as if I knew him in real life.

    It always bothered me that Johnny Cash had gotten all the recognition for dying that same day September 11, 2003. Not that Johnny Cash wasn't worth it but John Ritter was truly a good man both on stage and off. It was good to read that John Ritter liked Johnny Cash. I won't spoil their interesting connection they had on Sept 11, 2003.

    The way John's wife Amy wrote this book was so conversational and so smooth. I never wanted to put it down and I definitely didn't want it to be over. I do plan on reading it again and I never read books more than once.

    I never realized that Amy Yasbeck was Maid Marien on Robin Hood Men in Tights which has always been one of my favorite movies and that helped me to connect to her.

    I love reading and this was definitely one of the best books I have ever read in my life. I give it 5 stars and 2 thumbs way up! I encourage everyone to read it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Legacy of Laughter - After the Laughter, November 29, 2010
    Amy Yasbeck, widow of comedian/actor John Ritter has written a very poignant autobiography/biography of her life and her life with John Ritter. They were blessed with their daughter Stella in 1998. Amy Yasbeck writes in a tone of loving tolerance and respect. John's first wife and family are treated with the utmost respect in this book.

    A gifted comedian, John Ritter became a household name with his role as Jack Tripper on the 1977-1984 sit-com "Three's Company." As inane as the show was, his Dick Van Dyke-like pratfalls and masterful delivery made it palatable. It was simply a delicious escape into fun. The chemistry among the cast and John Ritter at the helm made this show, as inane as it was into something funny and fun to watch. Lucille Ball of "I Love Lucy" fame even said in an interview that "Three's Company" was not about "saving the world;" it issued no social or political statement and just provided viewers with light escapist fun. I admit that I enjoyed "Three's Company" and it was one of my guilty pleasures.

    John Ritter was the son of cowboy singer Tex Ritter and even brings some cowboy humor to the show. In a 1981 episode, he plays his imaginary twin brother Austin, a cowboy from the Lone Star State. He made funny references to his roots in various episodes. From all accounts he was just as funny and pleasant off camera as he was on. He also had a string of successful movie roles to his name.

    I just loved it when Stella, then 5 dodged the Santa bullet. She asked Amy if Santa was real. Sadly, Amy felt the only option was "instinct and fear." Since Santa is just a deception, the lengths people go to service the myth of his existence often proves disatrous and divisive. In some cases, mine included Santa can compromise trust issues.

    Luckily, Amy leveled with her daughter. When asked how she'd respond if told Santa was real, Stella said, "I would know that I couldn't trust you anymore about anything because you don't trust me with the truth." How precocious and on target Stella's response was! That is why I am no fan of Santa and truly wish I'd never fallen for him. I felt deceived and tricked. How lucky Stella was to dodge the Santa bullet! Stella's response was even more poignant - she said, "That's okay. At least Dad was real." A better response could not have been made.

    A Beatles' fan, John as Jack Tripper had a Beatles' poster on the bedroom wall on the "Three's Company" set. In 1978, he even got to STARR with Ringo in "Ringo!" His epitaph includes the lyrics to a Beatles' song: "And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make." In his case, one can say that the laughs one takes is equal to the laughs they make. That was his legacy, his legacy of laughter.

    Shortly after his untimely death in 2003 of a congenital cardiac condition, Amy undertook championing the John Ritter Foundation for the treatment and prevention of death from Thoracic Aortic Disease. This is a book that will also serve the purpose of encouraging people to have regular cardiac screenings.

    A truly lovely book and one that will evoke every possible emotion. This is what John Ritter gave and left as a permanent gift - his legacy of laughter. This book is not just after the laughter; it is maintaining the laughter and keeping readers aware that fun is one of the best gifts of all.



    5-0 out of 5 stars THIS IS WONDERFUL, November 9, 2010

    I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK. LAUGHED AND CRIED BOTH WITH PLEASURE AND SADNESS. IT WAS GREAT LEARNING ABOUT JOHN RITTER

    4-0 out of 5 stars John Ritter Entertained Us, November 5, 2010
    I want to applaud Amy Yasbeck for sharing her story with us about her relationship and marriage to John Ritter. It gives us a glimpse of the man behind the characters and it is reassuring to know John was very much like his beloved characters in real life. This was a very visceral book in that I felt Amy's joy and her pain as the story unfolded. I remember watching Amy on I've got A Secret and admired her tenacity for getting back on the horse so quickly and maintaining her sensor of humor. I loved all the clever asides Amy and unlike that other reader I enjoyed reading about your career climb. This was a very good book. I am just sorry it had to be written under these circumstances but hopefully many lives will be saved due to what happened to John Ritter.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ, October 13, 2010
    THIS BOOK WAS VERY WELL WRITTEN. DEFINITELY, A GOOD READ. THE STORY IS VERY SAD, BUT ULTIMATELY VERY INTERESTING.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank You, Amy Yasbeck, October 11, 2010
    I selected With Love and Laughter, John Ritter because I was a fan of the late actor. I grew up with Three's Company and those memories are part of my life, part of my growing up. Every time I saw him in an interview I felt he was a good, warm person. I even adored his guest role on Buffy. I didn't watch 8 Simple Rules, because I think I took for granted that this still young man would have time and many other roles, and that I'd catch up with this show eventually. Instead, we lost him and our loss is so much less than the loss felt by his loved ones.

    I adored this book and read it in one long sitting. Just a wonderful read for fans of the late actor.

    As I read, I was impressed by some of the clever lines, but there would be the odd sentence that let me know there really was no ghostwriter here. Amy Yasbeck clearly wrote this on her own and did a fabulous job. She also has a sense of humor that I could well-believe was a wonderful match for her late husband. And she does like puns. :)

    The story she tells is beautiful, romantic, and heart-breaking, and she tells of a John Ritter who deserved all this accolades and fans. A man who loved his family first and foremost, but never forgot to appreciate the person on the street who approached him, and who also valued the moments where he wasn't recognized and could just be a regular guy. She describes him as everything we'd want him to be, and she makes it sound real and convincing, and she reminds us of why his loss was felt by so many people who'd never had the pleasure of meeting him.

    She also writes of her own childhood and career, but it never feels intrusive, or like she's taking time away from the story of John. She is the woman he loved, who loves him, who had a child with him, and her story is part of his story. Her story is also interesting in its own right.

    If you're a fan of the John Ritter, I highly recommend this heartwarming and ultimately uplifting story!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Audio book to be issued?, October 5, 2010
    My (now adult) children loved Mr. Ritter's television work. I encourage Ms Yasbeck and her publisher to consider the issuance of an audio version of the book on CD. It would make an excellent gift for my children and others, who occasionally spend considerable time travelling in cars. Thank you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars With Love and Laughter /John Ritter, October 2, 2010
    Great, interesting read about a truly talented loveable man.
    Also, very informative insights into Aortic Dissection. ... Read more


    18. Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
    Paperback
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $10.85
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0806531797
    Publisher: Citadel
    Sales Rank: 22240
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    When the casket reached the front of the sanctuary, there was a loud cracking sound as the bottom fell out. And with a thump, down came Father Iggy.

    From shoot-outs at funerals to dead men screaming and runaway corpses, undertakers have plenty of unusual stories to tell--and a special way of telling them.

    In this macabre and moving compilation, funeral directors across the country share their most embarrassing, jaw-dropping, irreverent, and deeply poignant stories about life at death's door. Discover what scares them and what moves them to tears. Learn about rookie mistakes and why death sometimes calls for duct tape.

    Enjoy tales of the dearly departed spending eternity naked from the waist down and getting bottled and corked--in a wine bottle. And then meet their families--the weepers, the punchers, the stolidly dignified, and the ones who deliver their dead mother in a pickup truck.

    If there's one thing undertakers know, it's that death drives people crazy. These are the best "bodies of work" from America's darkest profession.

    "Sick, funny, and brilliant! I love this book." --Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of They Bite! and Rot & Ruin

    "As unpredictable and lively as a bunch of drunks at a New Orleans funeral."--Joe R. Lansdale

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and moving, May 20, 2010
    This book is well worth reading. Not only does it give you a glimpse into the macabre and poignant world of morticians, it has moments that are so absurdly funny that I found myself laughing out loud! But it's not only funny; this book is touching too, as it makes you think.

    This is a very easy read; if you are looking for something entertaining and light, yet bizarre and unusual, this book is a great choice.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Mortuary Confidential, September 30, 2010
    The book was amusing but more importantly empathetic. There were no awful horror stories but stories of real life and its ultimate conclusion. I learned that undertakers are basically kind and compassionate people, sympathetic to the needs of family and friends of the deceased.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Mortuary Confidential, November 4, 2010
    This was a funny look at the business of death and grieving that will have you laughing out loud. It bought to light some of the usual, and unusual things associated with death: family relationships and feuds, the deceased's last wishes, and how undertakers fare through all of the aspects of death and helping families to cope.
    If you've suffered through the death of a loved one, or not, you'll appreciate this look at the lighter side of the "other side" of death.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Deceptive, September 12, 2010
    Someone said this would be more interesting if you were in the funeral industry, but I am and this book bores me to tears. "Spilling the Dirt" to me means telling secrets, but these stories aren't anything much different than any other funeral director might go through. They aren't even funny or interesting. Super easy read to waste time though.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A Book For Morticians, June 30, 2010
    While I found the book somewhat amusing I felt that to get the full appreciation of it I would need to be a mortician. I have a feeling that morticians reading this book would be falling down because they were laughing so hard. Just not that facinating or funny to a non mortician.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Learning about life from death, June 4, 2010
    The book is not an expose about practices in the funeral industry. It is instead a collection of remarkable experiences contributed by many funeral directors. It is a book about how to live and enjoy every moment of it. I recommend it highly.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Less funny and more poignant than it first appears, May 31, 2010
    If you are expecting a goofy, irreverant book based on its title, you will be disappointed. However, it is a funny and poignant look inside the funeral industry. If you are a guidence counselor you might want to have a copy of this book available for those who are thinking to enter 'the dismal trade.' If you are a rising Junior or Senior, and enjoy lobbing grenades at your English or Public Speaking teacher. Read the book and do a report, or work up a chapter to read out loud.

    I also recommend "The Dismal Trade."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read!, May 29, 2010
    Great book, very well written, funny and serious at te same time. A must read book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mortuary confidential, June 5, 2010
    Very informative and interesting. Very easy reading. It was not what I expected but did enjoy reading it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Just Alright, May 25, 2010
    Some of the stories were very touching, and others absurd. The last story about ghosts I DO NOT BELIEVE FOR ONE MOMENT. I have known 3 morticians with a combined experience of over 100 years and NONE of them have ever encountered a ghost or anything close to it---have never seen a body move---or anything out of the ordinary!!!!!

    I wished some of the stories were from an older time. I thought there was too much modernity, talk of girlfriends, not wives, and lots of liquor.

    The funeral industry sure is changing and this book is representative of that fact. Perhaps read 'Tom Fisher Funeral Director, Chapters in a Life' by Grace Fisher. [...]
    , and get a real taste of the funeral business. ... Read more


    19. Cold Noses At The Pearly Gates
    by Gary Kurz
    Paperback
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0806528877
    Publisher: Citadel
    Sales Rank: 11801
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Do all dogs and cats really go to heaven? Yes, they do!

    The death of your beloved pet can be one of the most heartbreaking losses you’ll ever endure. But recovery isn’t only about closure. You also want to know where your best friend has gone.

    After the intense, unexpected grief he experienced following the loss of his own companions, animal lover and biblical scholar Gary Kurz set out to prove that there are indeed pets in Paradise. After devoting countless hours of research, he now shares his inspiring insights to bring you a richer understanding of animals and their souls. You’ll finally find answers to common questions about animals and the afterlife—and you’ll also get a 30-day devotional to help you work through your grief.

    If you’ve ever loved and lost a pet, or if you know someone who has shared a special bond with a furry face and a cold, wet nose, you’ll welcome this amazing book’s reassurance that love and loyalty are truly eternal, and that someday, you and your pets will be together again. 

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars We will reunite with our beloved pets, August 12, 1999

    The author has done a wonderful, inspired job of writing; we are certainly left with real hope that we may reunite with our precious animal companions in Heaven. In addition he shares some marvelous stories of animal-human interaction, including some that we have all seen in the news.

    I would like to make several other recommendations here as well, since there is no category as of yet specifically on animal afterlife, on-line (or in any other lists for that matter).

    Because of this and the fact that there are so few books written on this subject, those in grief over the loss of a pet often find themselves desperately searching, and miss out. Here is a list of all the books that I know of dealing with afterlife of animals;
    Amazon.com has sites on all of them where can visit to learn more on each respective title.

    "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates".Excellently done: inspired compassionate, fully-Biblical

    "The Soul of Your Pet". Convincing, credible evidence regarding animals' existing after death.Interactions with pets that have passed on. Will defy skeptics.

    "Will I See Fido in Heaven?". Solidly Christian, inspired,loving; includes passages from 2 books of the Apocrypha that address the topic, as well.

    "For Every Dog an Angel". Angel stays with pup from birth, on; we eventually are reunited, each "forever person" with his or her "forever pet(s)". Written for children, adults will love even more. Wonderful!

    "Dog Heaven". For children; adults will enjoy as well

    "Cat Heaven" Children/adults

    "All Dogs Go to Heaven". Well-known, has a story-line.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well researched, informative & thought provoking, November 1, 1999
    I think Gary Kurz did an excellent job of getting his view point across in a very possitive manner. I appreciate the fact that he took the time to make sure he got the Gospel message across as well. The salvation of souls is of primary importance. I share his love for animals & have always felt that animals will be in heaven. It is hard to find someone to agree with me, but Gary Kurz not only agrees with me but gives plenty of evidence to support that view as well. For those of you that don't believe that animals will be in heaven, where do the horses come from spoken about in scripture? And, if God expects us to care for His creatures, what makes you think God hasn't made provision for them as well. Though not in the same way as He has provided for people, animals have their place here & they will have their place in heaven also. Again, I want to congratulate Gary Kurz for a job well done & not being afraid to tackle a controversial subject. Excellent job, Gary.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Help during a tough time, August 27, 2004
    Losing a pet can be such a difficult time in our lives, sometimes it hurts as much, if not more, than losing a person. Society doesn't seem to address the trauma associated with coping with this sort of loss, and/or the afterlife of our treasured faithful companions.
    Finally, a book that will walk us through answering those questions about where our companions go, if we can expect to see them again and the afterlife they will experience. As well as helping us cope with our sorrow and depression and our ability to walk through the pain and move foward.
    The author is sensative, gentle and will touch your heart. A must have for any pet lover going through this great loss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My heart was empty and so full of sadness and sorrow, September 28, 2004
    I was completely devestated at the untimley death of my beloved Caleb a one year old yorkie. I just could not imagine life without him. I never knew that something so small could weigh so much in your heart and totally captivate your world. The hole that his death left in my heart was so great, I felt as if there was nothing that could be done to fill it. My heart and spirit was broken and so sad that I thought I could not get past it. The day after his death, I went in search of something, anything to help me understand his death, anything to help ease my pain. That's when I came across the book "Cold Noses At the Pearly Gates". I read this book it in only two days. The encouraging words and the warmness of the aurthor helped me deal with this horrible loss. I felt as if Gary was talking to me personally telling me that it was going to be alright. I now understand that we only have those precious little creatures for a season, some seasons being much shorter than others. Why this is, no one knows. The one thing I now know is that with Gary's words, I will absolutely see my precious Caleb again and the bond we shared in his earthly life will continue throughout eternity. My Caleb had to much love and devotion to give only to have lived those few short months. I know now that he will be waiting there to greet me when I pass into his world and until that day, I will love my little forever dog and keep his memory alive in my heart and in my heart he will stay. "Cold Noses At The Pearly Gates" is an exceptional work for anyone grieving and dealing with the loss of a four legged baby, it is an absolute must. My hat is off to the aurthor for giving so much to the animal lover and by his words, our pains are eased.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, November 27, 1999
    Our family lost two of our beloved dogs within 5 months. Coping with their loss and not knowing how or what to say to our children has been difficult. This book does an excellent job of explaining the spiritual side of loss along with some personal insight by the author. I appreciated Mr. Kurz sharing his own feelings of grief and loss. It made it much easier for me to identify and realize there are other people who feel the same way about losing a friend. I also E-mailed Mr. Kurz, and received a prompt reply that was respectful and empathetic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comforting and Helpful, June 15, 2002
    When someone losses a special part of their family,their pets,they tend to search for some type of help.When my husband and I lost our wonderful dog Toby,we searched the internet for books about the loss of pets,to see if we could find the answers we wanted so desperately to know.The book we loved the best was titled:"COLD NOSES AT THE PEARLY GATES." We found this book to be so comforting and helpful because of its great contents such as a look at the principals used to research about animal afterlife.Cold Noses At The pearly Gates also explains about creature or creation. We also enjoyed reading about the ability animals have to communicate and the discussion about life. The most comfort and help we received from this book was that we learned that Toby was in God's presence. This book is an easy book to read and understand and it will keep your attention.Not only does it deal with pet loss but it also has some humor stories to help uplift your spirit as well.There is also a place that teaches you certain things about caring for your pets.My husband and I highly recommend this book. It is very well written and it is certainly a book that you will want to read over again, and once you read this book, you will understand why it was given the name: "COLD NOSES AT THE PEARLY GATES"

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorites, March 7, 2005
    In the early 90's, I lost a very precious pet and several years later, still had not come to terms with that loss. My religion generally teaches that animals do not go to heaven and, when they die, that's the end for them. Knowing the character of God, it just didn't all add up for me. I just knew there had to be something more in His Word. When I first saw Gary's book advertised in a magazine, I knew I'd finally found what I'd been looking for. Gary is a retired Coast Guard officer and Baptist preacher who writes clearly and simply, from over 20,000 hours of Bible study on the subject of animal afterlife. He convinces readers that God intended the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden to last forever and for man and animals alike to live forever. The book also defines and describes life, soul, and spirit, and the point is made that all life comes from God, is forever connected to God, and will never end. Gary writes with compassion and reason, sprinkling animal stories of humor and heroism throughout the book, and soundly backs his conclusions with many Bible scriptures. I found the book to be uplifting, inspirational, and comforting. If you trust God, believe the Bible, and love animals, don't pass up this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars They'll Be There..., April 25, 2006
    I have first hand confirmation that our animal friends will be waiting for us when we pass into spirit. Since there is no "time" in heaven or the spirit world, it will seem just like yesterday to them. They will be waiting for you. The bond of love is eternal.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Book - Perfect for Every Animal Lover, March 13, 2000
    Cold Noses is an excellent book that anyone who owns or has owned a pet will appreciate and enjoy reading. It offers comforting words for those who have lost a pet from an author who undoubtedly cares for animals himself. It also provides logical answers to the question of where animals go when they pass on. But, most of all, the book is full of heartwarming stories of all different types of animals - dogs, cats, horses, even bears. There are stories that make you want to laugh and some that make you want to cry, but they all make you love your animals even more. I highly recommend this book as a wonderful addition to any library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heart was empty but is now filling up with memories, October 18, 2000
    I lost 2 Cocker Spaniels within 2 months of each other due to cancer. Oh the hurt of the loss just overcame me. All I did everyday was think of my babies,what happened and could I ever overcome my loss. I never thought I could until I read Gary's book..Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates. Reading this book filled me with love, understanding and one thing I want to point out, I felt as if Gary was in front of me talking to me with the warmth I needed. It wasn't like reading a book at all. This book I would recommend to anyone who has lost a hairy child because you'll find your answers through this wonderful and blessed book. Gary has done one marvelous writing and to me he has been a godsend as I thought I would never ever get out of my deep grief for my babies. My heart which became empty is now filling up with memories of my babies. I don't feel the guilt of having new babies which I have now. I would have never brought new babies into my home until I read this book. Please get this book if your hurting, feeling guilty or just wonder what happens after your loss, I know you'll find out you have more love inside to share for a new baby which is waiting just for you.

    Gary thank you so much and again, your a godsend. ... Read more


    20. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages
    by Leo Buscaglia
    Hardcover
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $11.48
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0943432898
    Publisher: Slack Incorporated
    Sales Rank: 12636
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie. How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter's snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.

    The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a warm and thought-provoking story and both children and adults will be deeply touched by this inspiring book. This 20th anniversary edition of this beloved classic has helped thousands of people come to grips with life and death.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless story of life and death for all ages, January 17, 2005
    Freddy, a maple leaf, is born in the spring, and grows to know his fellow leaves and his surroundings. Although leaves superficially look the same, he learns and appreciates the subtle differences between himself and each other leaf. He admires a larger leaf, Daniel. Daniel has a deeper understanding of life and death. He helps Freddie understand each of his phases of life. Finally, Daniel explains death and letting go.

    The book uses the gentle, concrete metaphor of the annual changes in leaves on a tree to help anyone appreciate the different phases of life. Each leaf leaves the tree differently: some drift down quietly, and others fiercely resist the tug of the wind. This shows how each person approaches death differently. Freddy resists until he is withered and brown, the last leaf on the branch. Finally he lets go and experiences a sense of peace.

    Although the leaves, die each year, they are part of the tree which lives on, although even it has a finite life. the book discusses the interconnecedness of life and death. however, it does not take a stand on the specifics of a life after death.

    This would help children of a wide range of ages appreciate not only death, but also the different phases of life. Each time Freddy the leaf changes with the seasons, it is puzzling but he learns its value. He sees how the tree and the leaves have purpose. this helps one see that life has purposes that may not be immediately obvious. This book is also moving for adults who may be experiencing a life transition. I recommend that anyone, of any age take this book and read it under a tree.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I read it to my children, the night my husband died., July 17, 1999
    I read this book to my 6 year old daughter and 5 year old son the night their father died. As I returned from the hospital, a neighbor gave me this book and it helped tremendously that evening. I read it often to my children that first year after our loss. I am now a teacher researching children's books on death for a Master's degree and I rediscovered this book. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf should be a part of every primary classroom library.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great resource, June 28, 2002
    I used this book with a boy a worked with a few years ago. He was 9 at the time, and a close relative had died. Before a colleague showed me the book, I struggled to find the right words to comfort him with, to no avail. The experience was a first hand confrontation with the fact that our culture generally has a great deal of difficulty dealing with the issue of death. Of all the books I've read that attempt to help us deal with this problem, this one is the best.

    This simply, poignant story about the changing of the seasons gave me a bridge to talk to the child and helped him make sense of his loss. The language is simple enough for even a young child to understand. The pictures are gorgeous. It helped him cope with and understand his loss. As well, he was inspired to read the story to his classmates (this is a boy who previously hated reading) and it created a "teachable moment" for the whole group.

    This book is one that I would reccommend to anyone who is in contact with children. It would be an excellent addition to your personal library because it makes talking about a difficult, painful subject a great deal easier.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for a grieving child of any age, January 8, 2000
    My father passed away almost 4 years ago. I was 35 at the time. My mother's best friend bought this book for me and it had such a profound impact that I now buy it for my friends when they find themselves immersed in grief after the loss of a parent. We read it to our young children to help them understand the cycle of life. A beautiful book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Fall of Freddie the leaf, July 10, 2000
    THis is an EXCELLENT book! It simply explains the life cycle in a non-threatening way. The birth of a leaf in early spring, followed by the growth, and eventual transformation in fall. It addresses the reason for being. It shows many positives and contributions that you can have in life. Simple but important contributions. This book softly and matter of factly addresses the end of life. It has a calm and peaceful feel. What a tender approach to a difficult topic. It also introduces the cycle of life by approaching spring as a new beginning. Life is part of death. Death as part of life. BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN! Great to read to children of any age. Great book to begin to prepare children for eventual losses...even before they are expected.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend., October 25, 1998
    I believe that The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is an excellent book for children dealing with the death of a loved one. Honestly I haven't read the book in 9 years but I remember it well. When I was 10 years old my father was dying of colon cancer. The day my mother told my siblings and I (aged at the time 5, 8, 10, and 12) that my father wouldn't make it she read us the book. I still remember the book and how it helped us to understand why our daddy had to leave us. I would recommend this book to anyone with children who are facing the death of someone close to them. It was very memorable obviously because I still remember it to this day and give it a lot of credit in helping us to understand death.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the few books that stands out about my childhood, January 4, 2000
    This book stands out above any other book I ever read during my childhood. I did not realize how important it was until I reached adulthood. My mother read this book to me when I was 10 years old. It was the saddest but heart-warming story I've heard. It tought me about death and most importantly a little more about life. I highly recommend this book to any parent.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for every household, April 24, 2001
    This book is so eloquent and profound, you may not be able to read through it without using up a box of tissues. As a family therapist, I have assisted children with grief on many times. I always strongly recommend this book. In American culture, we have been taught to think of death as unnatural. This is due to many reasons. A few are the youth obsessed media and advancements in science that have dramatically extended life expentancies. Other nations view death as a natural process. It is embraced as a season of life; therefore it is feared less. Freddie helps put death back into a natural perspective. The book has a spiritual, but non-demoninational tone. This is a must have for any home, not just for someone who is grieving. It truly is poetry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb book for explaining a substantial loss!, August 5, 1999
    This book was given to my brother and I when our father was killed. It was a comforting way to explain death to a ten year old and a five year old when no one else could come up with the right thing to say to two children who just wanted their dad back. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has lost someone and is at a loss of words on how to explain to a child what has happened.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Healing, May 25, 2001
    This book touches the heart and fills you with hope in the never ending experience of love. The focus of this story is about love, and how love enables us to face some of life's most difficult challenges. It is a book about change, death, and transition. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf should be on the bookshelves of anyone going through change, loss, and transition. Enjoy!

    I also recommend: What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living by Samuel Oliver ... Read more


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