Sacred Passage: How to Provide Fearless, Compassionate Care for the Dying

Overview

Working as an emergency room nurse, Margaret Coberly came in contact with death on a daily basis. However, it wasn't until her own brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer that she realized she understood very little about the emotional and spiritual aspects of caring for the terminally ill. To fill this gap she turned to the unique wisdom on death and dying found in Tibetan Buddhism. In this book Coberly offers sound, practical advice on meeting the essential needs of the dying, integrating stories from her ...

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Sacred Passage: How to Provide Fearless, Compassionate Care for the Dying

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Overview

Working as an emergency room nurse, Margaret Coberly came in contact with death on a daily basis. However, it wasn't until her own brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer that she realized she understood very little about the emotional and spiritual aspects of caring for the terminally ill. To fill this gap she turned to the unique wisdom on death and dying found in Tibetan Buddhism. In this book Coberly offers sound, practical advice on meeting the essential needs of the dying, integrating stories from her long career in nursing with useful insights from the Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

In the West, death is viewed as a tragic and horrible event. Coberly shows us how this view generates fear and denial, which harm the dying by adding unnecessary loneliness, confusion, and mental anguish to the dying process. Tibetan Buddhism focuses on the nature of death and how to face it with honesty, openness, and courage. In this view, death is not a failure, but a natural part of life that, if properly understood and appreciated, can offer the dying and their loved ones an opportunity to gain valuable insight and wisdom. Coberly argues that the Tibetan Buddhist outlook can be a useful antidote to the culture of fear and denial that surrounds death in the West and can help caregivers become more fully present, fearless, honest, and compassionate.

Sacred Passage highlights two very practical teachings on death and dying from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and presents them in clear, nontechnical language. Readers learn about the "eight stages of dissolution leading to death," a detailed roadmap of the dying process that describes the sequence of physical, psychological, and spiritual changes that occur as we die. Coberly also presents the "death meditation," a contemplative exercise for developing a new relationship to death—and life. The book also includes a lengthy, annotated list of recommended readings for added guidance and inspiration.

Topics include:

   •  How the terminally ill can experience emotional and spiritual healing even when they can't be cured
   •  Why Western medicine's relentless focus on curing disease has led to inadequate care for the dying
   •  What to expect during the dying process
   •  How our fear and denial of death harm the dying
   •  Techniques to help caregivers promote a peaceful environment for the dying and their loved ones
   •  How to meet the changing physical and emotional needs of the dying
   •  Helpful advice on what to say and how to behave around the terminally ill

Registered nurses can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by passing a written test based on this book. For more information, see http://www.shambhala.com/sacredpassage.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A gift for anyone who may be in contact with a terminally ill friend, relative, or patient."—Library Journal

"An important book for both caregivers and patients. Coberly compellingly demonstrates how terminally ill people can experience emotional and spiritual healing, even when they cannot be cured."—Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing

"A much-needed, wise, and helpful guidebook."—Barbara Dossey, R.N., director of Hospice Nursing Consultants

"This is a rich and wise book that will help many people."—Joan Halifax Roshi, Project on Being with Dying, Upaya Zen Center

Library Journal
Health professionals are often sadly lacking in the training needed to deal with bereavement. A nurse who's worked in trauma centers and hospice settings for more than 35 years, Coberly was already an R.N. when her brother was diagnosed with cancer, from which he died, but she had had little helpful experience in relationships with terminally ill patients. Subsequently, Coberly learned about Tibetan Buddhism's view of death: it is not something to be feared but a perfectly natural happening, ordained to all of us. Coberly well addresses three topics: Western healthcare's view of death, Tibetan Buddhism's approach to dying, and advice for people who care for the terminally ill, both professionals and family members. She offers concrete recommendations for dealing with the dying, including what not to do or say, citing numerous examples based on her years of nursing experience. Also included is an extensive list of recommended readings. Recommended for public and academic libraries, and as a gift for anyone who may be in contact with a terminally ill friend, relative, or patient. Mary Prokop, Savannah Cty. Day Preparatory Sch., GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590300176
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/11/2003
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 516,001
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Coberly, Ph.D., R.N., has been a nurse for more than thirty years, working in inner-city trauma centers and in hospice settings. She holds a doctorate in psychology, is a faculty member at the University of Phoenix, and lectures at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Coberly is also a nurse educator and works as the director of research and development at Hospice Hawaii.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2004

    Outstanding reading!

    What a great little book, absolutely refreshing in it's honesty and so well said.

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