David Kessler (2010)
Hay House UK
You have to be in the right mood to read this book, writes Bernard Moss. To a cynic (and the author recognises there will be many) this book may smack of somewhat bizarre end-of-life experiences, all of which have rational scientific explanations. To a sympathetic reader, this book tells some powerful stories about key themes that medical professionals often find impossible to include within their discipline’s discourse, but yet provide intense meaning and comfort to patients and relatives alike.
David Kessler’s reputation in the field of dying, grief and loss is well established. Characteristically, he lets people tell their own stories in this book from a range of professional and personal perspectives.
The book clusters these under three headings. First, the visions often experienced by people at the point of death; second, the sense that in preparing to die we are preparing ourselves for a continuation of our journey or ‘trip’ beyond death; and third, the experience reported by many people in this book of being surrounded by a host of familiar faces as they enter their last moments.
Much of this book is about thinking (and experiencing) ‘outside the box’ of traditional medical science, social science and even theological discourses. And, if taken seriously, it will help all of us clarify what we believe happens to us when we die.
Bernard Moss is emeritus Professor of Social Work Education and Spirituality at Staffordshire University.