Learning About Death And Dying

When a patient receives a prognosis indicating that his or her condition will lead to death, the reality of one’s own impending death can be hard to process. We know from an early age that we will die, we grieve the deaths of others, but we don’t know how we will handle the news of our own terminal illness.

At Hope Hospice, we have chaplains and a social worker who talk to patients and families about facing death. They answer questions and counsel patients and families about death and dying.

We at Hope Hospice are encouraged that many people are giving greater attention to the topic of death before it becomes an immediate concern. Those who have considered some of the many aspects of dying are better equipped to handle death when it affects family, friends or themselves.

A new book by former Los Angeles Times writer Erika Hayasaki titled The Death Class explores some of the issues involving death and dying. The book focuses on a class taught at Kean University in Union, NJ by Dr. Norma Bowe, a nurse and tenured professor.

Her course, Death in Perspective, has become one of the more popular classes on campus. Hayasaki, who had written about death and had covered tragic deaths such as those at Virginia Tech, asked Bowe if she could write about her class. Bowe invited Hayasaki to take the class. She did and the result is this book.

The complete title of the book is The Death Class: A True Story About Life. One of book’s reviews stated: “This is a beautiful book about courage—the courage to turn and face your own life and death, and the courage to make a difference in the lives of others.” Another review suggests that the essential question of book and the course is “how can we learn to celebrate live?”

When Hope Hospice chaplain John Wilson is asked if dealing with death on a daily basis is a challenge, he replies, “Yes, I deal with death, but I also deal with life.”

The book promises fresh perspectives on death and dying in America. It also may help stimulate conversations with your family and friends about death.

For The Death Class website, click HERE.

For a video featuring Dr. Norma Bowe, click HERE.

To order the book from Amazon, click HERE.

For questions about hospice care in St. Louis, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.


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