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Final Gifts

Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley

Paperback, 239 pages
Published by Avon
Publication date: March 1, 1997
ISBN: 0553378767


This remarkable book by two hospice nurses shows how communication at end of life takes on special meaning. Touching case stories show how approaching death can give a clarity and importance to how we all relate to one another.

The book affirms that you can live fully to the very end, and that the final gifts received by caregivers can outweigh the burdens they must carry. Practical suggestions on how to respond to the requests of the dying will be of value to anyone in a caregiving role.

From Publishers Weekly:
A hopeful, helpful work... provides a gentle way to think about the unthinkable.

From Kirkus Reviews, 01/14/92:
Impressive insights into the experience of dying, offered by two hospice nurses with a gift for listening. The "final gifts" of the title are the comfort and enlightenment offered by the dying to those attending them, and in return, the peace and reassurance offered to the dying bythose who hear their needs. Callanan and Kelley describe aphenomenon they term "Nearing Death Awareness" -- which resembles somewhat the near-death experience sometimes reported by individuals revived after being clinically dead. Nearing Death Awareness, however, develops slowly, and the dying person seemingly drifts for a time between two worlds. Attempts by the dying to communicate about this awareness, often expressed in symbolic language or gestures, may be misunderstood by those around them, who dismiss the expressions as mere "confusion." According to the authors, dying messages fall into two categories: descriptions of what they are experiencing (such as the places they see, the presence of others no longer alive, or their knowledge of when death will occur) and requests for what the dying need for a peaceful death (a reconciliation, for instance, or the removal of some barrier to departure). To illustrate, Callanan and Kelley include numerous examples of Nearing Death Awareness from their years of caring for the dying. And they offer practical advice not only to involved family members but also to professional caregivers on how to recognize, understand, and respond to a dying person's messages. No lugubriousness or false cheerfulness here, but acute observations and astute advice on a difficult topic. Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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