DEATHING: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life by Anya Foos-Graber

DEATHING: An Intelligent Alternative for the Final Moments of Life

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Everyone can practice certain exercises to make dying easier, Foos-Graber believes; and, preferably with a loved one acting as coach, can make a smoother transition into whatever the next world holds. Half of this argument holds up, and half is difficult to swallow--a split illustrated by Foos-Graber's two composite case studies. For an older woman with a full life, now quite ill with cancer, coaching and practicing for the moment of death makes inherent sense: relaxation techniques, reassurance by word and touch, and meditation to ""meet the light"" (the overwhelming brightness that those near death have reported), could indeed offer immense comfort. But for a young man with unresolved, still evolving professional and personal struggles, killed in a head-on auto collision? Foos-Graber argues that had he practiced ""deathing techniques,"" he could have gone with ease and joy to his death, rather than struggling horribly against it--a struggle that included two successful resuscitations in the ambulance, before death in the hospital. Addressing one potential reader-concern, Foos-Graber writes that ""there is no possibility of accidental death as a result of practicing these exercises."" She does not attend to a deeper concern: we also know now, from near-death studies, that it is sometimes possible to battle off death in spite of what appear to be impossible odds. A more palatable--even supportable--discussion of ""deathing techniques"" will have to consider more directly: if death can be such a conscious, willful act, when is the right time to give up and go gracefully?

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1984
ISBN: 0892540168
Publisher: Addison-Wesley