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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Becky Stepp, BBA, MEd, BS, M, LMSW (Seton Medical Center)
Description: Life is a journey, and along the way, all of us face losses. Death can occur in an instant or over a period of time. In both circumstances, those who remain behind attempt to find meaning for themselves. Making sense out of death seems to mean making sense out of suffering, making sense out of the loss of life, and making sense out of life. This book explores this creative process in deriving meaning through religion and spirituality.
Purpose: The editors of this book, part of the Death, Value and Meaning series, provide a philosophical discussion of meaning-making in the face of death. As the interest in the topic of death, dying, and bereavement continues to increase, these authors offer this book in an effort to meet the needs of many professional practitioners and academics, and ultimately, through them, those who must face the issues of spirituality as it relates to dying, death, and bereavement.
Audience: The discussion of death and dying can be emotionally charged. The authors state professional practitioners and academics as the audience. At times, the vocabulary used in this book is highly philosophical as well as potentially offensive.
Features: In an attempt to provide multicultural sensitivity, the authors' discussion includes a somewhat random selection of topics ranging from the teachings of Buddha, the roles of religion and spirituality, devastating losses and national tragedy, and the historical context of Native Americans, to virtual reality of cyberspace, extraordinary death and loss and national tragedy, and interdisciplinary team approaches in the healthcare setting. Ultimately, this book lacks the cohesiveness that could help "make sense" of this topic.
Assessment: This book presents a philosophic approach with language and vocabulary that some may find offensive in regard to pastoral care and spirituality. The authors' discussion seems random, disjointed, and incongruent, lacking the cohesiveness that could better "make sense" of this endless pursuit of making sense in the face of death.