By Elizabeth Lee.
ISBN 1 872803 16 4
Edited by Ena Mirren with The Compassionate Friends.
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 0 340 62863 4
Lee’s book is written for people who are dying and their carers.
It is full of compassionate advice and discussion. The author comes
across as a gentle, experienced doctor, able to use her
professional experience skilfully to reassure and teach.
She writes about receiving bad news, denial of dying, retaining
individuality, problems of sexuality, the pain of being a young
dying parent having to leave children behind, the regrets and fears
we all have about dying, and what it is like to be an anxious and
She describes the role of the different professionals you may
meet when dying, the benefits you may be entitled to, the charities
that might help.
She discusses the advantages of dying at home, in hospital or in
a hospice, always leaving it to the reader to set professional
advice beside their own situation when making their final decision.
This beautifully written and exceptional book deserves to be read
by lay people and professionals working in social services and the
health professions, as well as by people who are facing a terminal
The Compassionate Friends book contains 20 stories written by
parents about the deaths of their children. The children’s ages
range from babyhood to young adults, and the causes of death are
numerous, including illness, drowning, mountain accidents, road
accidents, suicide and murder.
The parents describe their shock, grief, depression and gradual
adaptation to life without their children. The book has been
compiled with the aim of helping other parents who are suffering
the loss of a child. All the contributors are members of The
Compassionate Friends organisation, which was founded in 1969 to
offer help to bereaved parents.
The stories are distressing to read. Working through them,
however, it is possible for the reader to gain insight into the
gradual recovery the parents have made, although their lives will
never be the same again.
These two books are very different, but they demonstrate how
courageous and resilient we can be, how the most terrible
experiences may be survived, and how grief and dying are a part of
Maureen Oswin is a researcher and author of Am I
Allowed To Cry?