“What Does It Feel Like to Die?: Inspiring New Insights into the Experience of Dying” by Jennie Dear may seem like the last book I would want to read only a few weeks after my husband died of Stage 4 lung cancer in our home on hospice. But I am so glad that I did read it. So many questions I had about my husband’s experience, and our experience as his family, were answered. The author did meticulous research into the things that patients experience at the end of their lives. What she learned has been presented in a conversational, straightforward, yet sensitive manner.
Covers death from start to finish
There were times that I had to put the book down to process my memories and what I was learning, but I eagerly picked it up again to learn more. The author moves from the “existential slap” of a terminal diagnosis to the last few hours of life. In between, she covers topics such as patterns in how we die, whether it hurts to die, how to die well, and even “checking out early” which tackles the sensitive subject of assisted suicide.
The bibliography of “What Does It Feel Like to Die?” is huge!
There was no repetition and she never used technical language without clearly explaining things in terms that we can all understand. I really appreciated the down to earth way she wrote about the death process and how we can make it easier on patients and family members. She gathered experts in the field of dying and presented a lot of information that I wish I had known sooner, but I’m glad I have now.
During my husband’s death…
Many people had questions about why certain things were happening. Often someone would present their thoughts on what the answer was. If we had had the information in this book, it could have alleviated many fears and concerns that we had. One of the biggest of these was the death rattle. What is it and what causes it? You will be surprised and also say “Ah, that makes sense!” when you read the explanation for it in “What Does It Feel Like to Die?”
For me, one of the most fascinating topics in the book was the subject of “terminal delirium,” which my husband experienced. In fact, it states in “What Does It Feel Like to Die?” that 60-88% of hospice patients experience it at some point.
A Universal Issue
We will all die one day, and before we do, we will likely also experience the death of a loved one. “What Does It Feel Like to Die?” is a treasure chest of information about the process, written in an extremely palatable way. I would highly recommend it to everyone—(teens and older). If you have ever experienced someone’s death, this will surely answer any lingering questions you may have about what happened.
I give “What Does It Feel Like to Die?” 5 stars!
“What Does It Feel Like to Die?” will be released June 25th, 2019. Until then, you can preorder your copy, in order to get it as soon as it comes out. Thank you to NetGalley, Kensington Books, and Citadel for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:
I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.