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Final Conversations: Helping the Living and the Dying Talk to Each Other


No matter what your age, reflecting on your last interactions with a dying loved one can have life-long consequences for you. This book weaves direct quotations from real people's memories of final conversations, with advice and themes that will help you determine what may work for you.
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No matter what your age, reflecting on your last interactions with a dying loved one can have life-long consequences for you. This book weaves direct quotations from real people's memories of final conversations, with advice and themes that will help you determine what may work for you.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Here, the authors, communication experts who have experienced the pain and fulfillment of having final conversations, combine the stories of 80 contributors with their own advice on the subject. A final conversation, as they define it, is any interaction that takes place with the full knowledge that one party in the conversation is dying. The authors focus on this time as a gift—an opportunity to say good-bye, express love, share memories, and resolve problems that may have existed for years. Good, straightforward advice is balanced well with the touching experiences shared by the contributors. In an especially important passage, the authors acknowledge that the living and the dying may have very different needs. They explain how both parties can nevertheless have a fulfilling experience—whether it be through closure, love, or even by setting a new course in life. The directness is refreshing, especially in the emphasis on the strong relationship a final conversation both represents and creates. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Mary E. Jones

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781889242309
  • Publisher: VanderWyk & Burnham
  • Publication date: 3/25/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,242,919
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on Terminology and Editing     ix
Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xix
Real People: Setting the Stage for the Book     1
The Source of These Final Conversations     2
What Are Final Conversations?     2
Americans and Death-Why Is It So Difficult?     3
Why Communicate at the End?     6
Why Look at the Living's Perspective on Communication at the End of Life?     7
I Love You: Goodbye     13
Loving the Dying in Close Relationships     14
Don't Leave Yet!     20
Nothing More to Say     27
Benefits     31
Summary     34
Advice     35
Everyday Messages: Taking Care of Business     37
I'm Not Dead Yet!     37
Maintaining the Relationship for Now     40
Preserving the Relationship into the Future     47
Problems with Everyday Messages     54
Benefits     57
Summary     59
Advice     61
Grace Happens: Spiritual Messages     62
Witnessing Faith     63
Faith Challenged, Faith Found Again     67
Experiencing Spirit     70
Creating Community     78
Benefits     87
Summary     89
Advice     89
Beyond Words: The Power of Nonverbal Communication     91
See Me, Feel Me, Hear Me, Touch Me     92
The Meaning of Space and Time     100
The Importance of "Stuff"     104
Benefits     107
Summary     111
Advice     112
Heartache Released: Healing Damaged Relationships     114
Cleaning Up the Mess     115
Letting Go: Forgiving, Accepting, and Acknowledging     123
Receiving the Surprise Apology     131
Closing a Door, Opening a Window     132
Don't Make It Worse     136
Benefits     137
Summary     139
Advice     141
Growing Up: Maturing Through Final Conversations     142
Children's Final Conversations with the Dying: Being Real     143
Teens' Final Conversations: A Crash Course in Adulthood     151
New Adults' Final Conversations: Challenges in Changing Times     155
Mature Adults' Final Conversations: Role Changes and Getting Real (Again)     159
Benefits     164
Summary      168
Advice     170
Going On: New Directions for the Living     172
A New Attitude: Lessons Learned     172
New Plans, New Paths     186
Benefits     194
Summary     196
Advice     197
You Can Too: Communication Skills for Final Conversations     198
Why Engage in Final Conversations?     200
How to Get Ready for Final Conversations     202
How to Communicate Skillfully     204
When to Ask for Help     210
Summary     214
Epilogue: Final Thoughts and Reflections     217
Research Participants and Graphics     221
Suggested Readings and Resources     228
Index to the Living     231
Index     232
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