Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We're Nearing Death

Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We're Nearing Death

Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We're Nearing Death

Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We're Nearing Death


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What Our Last Words Reveal About Life, Death, and the Afterlife

A person’s end-of-life words often take on an eerie significance, giving tantalizing clues about the ultimate fate of the human soul. Until now, however, no author has systematically studied end-of-life communication by using examples from ordinary people. When her father became terminally ill with cancer, author Lisa Smartt began transcribing his conversations and noticed that his personality underwent inexplicable changes. Smartt’s father, once a skeptical man with a secular worldview, developed a deeply spiritual outlook in his final days — a change reflected in his language. Baffled and intrigued, Smartt began to investigate what other people have said while nearing death, collecting more than one hundred case studies through interviews and transcripts. In this groundbreaking and insightful book, Smartt shows how the language of the dying can point the way to a transcendent world beyond our own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608684601
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 03/17/2017
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Lisa Smartt, MA, is a linguist, educator, and poet. She founded the Final Words Project, an ongoing study devoted to collecting and interpreting the mysterious language at the end of lives. She lives in Athens, Georgia.

Table of Contents

Foreword Raymond Moody JR., MD, PHD xi

Introduction Words at the Threshold: What Our Final Conversations Tell Us 1

Chapter 1 Transcribing the Mystery: Following the Sacred Path of Final Words 9

Chapter 2 No Words for It: Language Changes as We Approach the Threshold 25

Chapter 3 Metaphors of the Momentous: Before We Die, We Announce a Big Event 41

Chapter 4 I Leave You with These Words: Travel Metaphors Speak of a Coming Voyage 55

Chapter 5 Repetition, Repetition, Repetition: Intensified Language in Our Last Days 63

Chapter 6 Nonsense or a New Sense?: Making Meaning out of Unintelligible Language at the End of Life 81

Chapter 7 Words between the Worlds: Descriptions of Visions and Visitations before Dying 103

Chapter 8 Lullabies and Good-Byes: Is Our First and Final Language Unspoken? 121

Chapter 9 I'll Call You When I Get There: After-Death Communication 143

Conclusion Hearing Is Healing: A Few Final Words 169

Acknowledgments 177

Notes 181

Index 187

About the Author 195

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