About the book

From the moment I heard the news that Dad was dying, I wanted someone to lay out a map showing me the course of action I should follow. I called everyone who might possibly be able to tell me what to expect—how my father would behave, what he would need, and what I should do to help him.

Nobody gave me the answers I was looking for. Instead, I was told again and again that each person is different and there was no way to anticipate the experience. Though I found this response frustrating at the time, now I know it was the truth. Nevertheless, if even one of those people had described in intimate detail their experience in facing death, it would have been tremendously helpful to me.

While navigating this unknown territory, I kept a journal to help me find my way. When I read through it after my father died, I realized it contained exactly the kind of information I had been seeking from others, but was unable to find.

So I offer my story to help those who, like myself, have been terrified of death and who feel the need to have a conversation—even if it’s only with themselves—about this phenomenon, which has generally become unspeakable. By sharing my experiences and the insights gained through them, perhaps I can provide you with a tool for courageously facing the death of others and the prospect of your own.

For years Dad urged me to write a book, and I dismissed the suggestion by telling him I didn’t think I could do that, because I had nothing to say, which was the truth. Now, for the first time, I feel compelled to write, and ironically it was his death that provided me with a context for my story.

I never expected that facing death would be one of the shining moments of my life. I have learned that death is a teacher and a friend, and I hope my book will be helpful to those seeking the light in the midst of what can seem a very dark experience.