What's in The Dying Time?

This is a comprehensive and thorough handbook for the dying and their caregivers. The reader is led gently through the dying time, being given details on how to make the environment conducive to a tranquil passing. The authors answer questions commonly asked about how to provide good care, and how to respond to the emotional and spiritual crises that inevitably occur. Several chapters show the caregivers how to care for themselves during the dying time. The book provides appendices containing guided imagery for coping with pain and agitation, and suggests literature and music to ease the passage of those whose health is irreversibly failing.

Page 2: Questions Answered in The Dying Time

The dying and their caregivers face many questions and have to make many decisions during the dying time. Not all of the questions are easy ones to answer, but the authors of The Dying Time respond with honesty and sensitivity, using anecdotes from their personal experiences with the dying to illustrate the way through the pain and fear.

The dying have to decide where they want their transition to take place, what sort of care they wish to receive, and how to define "healing," which the authors believe can occur regardless of the state of physical health. A common problem, easily misunderstood, is when to stop curative measures, and yet avoid the psychological trap of "giving up."

This book answers questions about where to get help and information, and most importantly, how to deal with troubling symptoms such as pain, nausea, fear, and shortness of breath.

For many, the dying time is a time of spiritual turmoil. This book shows possible ways to deal with spiritual and emotional crises, and does so in a nonsexist, nonjudgmental way. It provides guidance for the resolution of family conflicts, and clearly defines the different roles and responsibilities of the caregivers.

Many people wonder what the end will be like; what actually happens at death? The authors provide a glimpse into this most intimate time, a time they compare with the intimacy of birth.

The questions for the caregivers are also complicated and not easily resolved, especially by someone not trained in nursing. This book provides guidance for simple tasks such as giving a bed bath, brushing the dying person's teeth, changing the bedclothes with the patient in the bed, and the proper way to change an adult's diapers and the use of a bedpan. The use of healing touch is explored, including massage therapy.

The number of visitors may vary, but they can easily become more of a problem than anything else. The authors show the proper way to utilize the help that visitors can provide, and how to keep them from becoming a nuisance.

Finally, this book shows the survivors how to grieve their loss, both before death occurs and during the period of mourning afterwards. The authors describe the stages of grief -- again illustrated by their own experiences -- and how to live through them. The book describes how to plan a funeral or memorial service, and even seemingly simple tasks such as writing an obituary. As the circle of life is closed, The Dying Time helps the survivors find meaning and serenity as their new lives begin.