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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

Last Acts of Kindness: Lessons for the Living from the Bedsides of the Dying

Last Acts of Kindness: Lessons for the Living from the Bedsides of the Dying - Judith Redwing Keyssar I wouldn't say I'm afraid of death, but the concept makes me unutterably sad. I read books like this to try and develop more comfort with the idea of my own death, and the death of people I love. After reading this I feel crushing sadness, but perhaps I also sense a few glimmers of peace as well. Appropriate sadness is not such a bad thing. After all, as a very wise Rabbi once said -- "If G-d went to the trouble to send me sorrow, the least I can do is feel it." Keyssar, Director of the Palliative and End-of-Life Care at Jewish Family and Children's Services in San Francisco, calls herself a mid-wife for the dying, and this essay collection exploring her experience ushering people through what she calls the 'transformation' is quite wonderful. It is eloquent and downright inspiring. Okay, there are one or two new-age-y spots I could do without, but that's me. Someone else might well find comfort there. Keyssar certainly doesn't romanticize how hard dying is on everyone involved, but she does a terrific job of calming the waters. It need not, she shows us, be a time of terror and agony. There need not be unmanageable pain, either physical, mental or spiritual, and she offers tools and guidance on how to alleviate pain and offer comfort. I'm impressed.