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Books about Death, Dying
& Choices at the End of Life

Support and Understanding
after the loss of your partner

Grief Expressed: When a Mate Dies

5 of 5 stars Pouring Your Personal Pain onto Paper   June 7, 2002 

Like a child in its cradle
I would that very gentle arms
Might rock my grieving spirit
And be as it were a kindly shelter
For my heart - a traveler lost
On a remote deserted road.

-Nguyen Vy

Writing your feelings in a journal can be healing and when you read your own words, you can watch the progress of your healing as you move from a place of darkness into the light again. When someone you love has passed on to the next life, you can feel disoriented and alone.

At that moment, you will feel that you need someone to talk to, someone who understands. In Marta Felbers first book: "Finding Your Way after Your Spouse Dies," she gently leads you through the grieving process. She starts by expressing her heartfelt sorrow for the reader's loss and then proceeds to speak from the heart in small easy-to-read chapters. She deals with the deepest feelings in a very gentle way.

In this second book you will find 64 written exercises that she completed for herself in the first year after she lost her own husband. She deals with a wide range of emotions and issues, such as loneliness, insecurity, friends, finance, sleeplessness, health and anniversaries. Marta started writing these feelings when her husband was dying and poured out her thoughts onto the paper of two journals.

She starts by explaining how lost she felt that there was nobody else at home. She didn't want to go home and made a list of things that would make her house seem less empty. On the opposite page there is a place for you to write your feelings and a similar list of your own ideas. This format continues throughout the book.

Some of her thoughts are so personal, you feel that she is inviting you into her world and sitting down with you over a cup of coffee, just pouring out her soul. I found both her books were very nurturing.

I would like to recommend both books as a gift to anyone in your life who has experienced a great loss. The exercises will help to pull all those feelings that are buried inside so the healing process can begin. The reader will move from a place of grief to a place of renewed self-identity and wholeness.

A warm treasure that will help when going through a period of great loss.



You might also want to read: 

Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies

5 of 5 stars Healing Solutions for the Hurting Soul June 7, 2002 

Clean is the autumn wind,
Splendid the autumn moon,
The blown leaves are heaped and scattered,
The ice-cold raven starts from its roost.
Dreaming of you - when shall I see you again?
On this night sorrow fills my

~Li Po (701-762)

The loss of a friend or lover can be one of the most painful and disorienting experiences life can offer. Life seems bleak and empty, your mind becomes a pool of muddled thoughts. Losing your spouse is even more painful and the grief a person feels when they have to struggle through the grieving process can be overwhelming.

When you are trying to pick up the pieces and move on, it helps to know that there is someone out there who understands what you are going through. Marta Felber has dedicated this book to the reader with the hope that it will be of help in the journey through grief.

Drawing on her training as a therapist and her experiences in self-healing after the death of her husband, she has written this guide as if she was a friend sitting with you and you were both drinking a cup of tea. She starts by expressing her heartfelt sorrow for the reader's loss and then proceeds to speak from the heart in small easy-to-read chapters. She deals with the deepest feelings in a very gentle way.

She talks about how you should accept crying as a natural process, how you can start a journal and how you must still think about eating well and exercising even in this stage of grief. She speaks of how to forgive, accept and let the healing process begin.

I think this is a book everyone should read whether they have experienced a loss or not because all of us will come into contact with someone in our lives who is experiencing loss. This will not only help you understand grief, but will allow you to understand what someone is going through. I think this book could also be used for when you have lost a very good friend who is very important to you as some of the same principles apply.

I think writing can be therapeutic and Marta has also written a companion book called Grief Expressed: When a Mate Dies. The second book consists of 64 written exercises that she completed for herself in the first year after she lost her own husband. She deals with a wide range of emotions and issues, such as loneliness, insecurity, friends, finance, sleeplessness, health and anniversaries.

If you have a friend who has experienced a great loss, perhaps you could give this book to them with a flower and a ribbon tied to it and I think it will be a gift they won't forget. Actions do speak louder than words, in most things in life.

I felt very calm and nurtured after reading both of Marta's books.



Planning A Funeral

When Death Occurs


5 out of 5 stars =    Realistic Look at Death

Reviewer: The Rebecca Review.com

As men, we are all equal in the presence of death. ~Publilius Syrus

I would recommend this book to prepare for your own funeral or as a way to help family members pre-plan their own funerals. There is a “Quick Reference for Those Who Face the Death of a Loved One.” In the midst of grief, this book could also help you quickly select various services and methods of burial before arriving at the funeral home.

This is a book for people who are worried about “Death Care Professionals” taking advantage of them. The information in this book will encourage a more frugal approach.

John M. Reigle is an advocate for consumer rights in the funeral industry. He believes people should examine all their options and create a more meaningful service for the living, with less emphasis on caskets, urns and vaults.

While reading, you will discover:

1. The services provided by a funeral home should also include finalizing details after the funeral. I was amazed at all the details that can be taken care of by the funeral home.
2. The wide variety of funeral service options.
3. Sample Forms and checklists.
4. A Memorial Service Planner.
5. Pros and Cons of each burial situation.
6. Death Certificate Information Worksheets
7. Ways to save $1,000s on caskets. You might want to spend
more on the actual service
8. Obituary forms.
9. Ideas on gathering information for a meaningful funeral service.
10. List of Body Donation Programs in the United States.

After reading this book, I can now understand why some family members in the past have chosen not to have funerals and also why some have chosen not to have open caskets.

The Services Presented in this Book Include:

Body Donation – No Service
Body Donation – With Memorial Service
Cremation – No Service
Cremation – With Memorial Service
Cremation – With Funeral Service
Burial – No Service
Burial – With Graveside Service
Burial – With Funeral Service

Once you read some of this information, you will definitely realize that the ways we “protect” the deceased can be less for the deceased’s benefit and more for the survivor’s benefit. There should still be some dignity in death. For the survivors, and for the deceased.

However, if you are not informed, under duress or don’t have the time to compare prices of services, you could be taken advantage of and feel worse than you do already due to added financial burdens. I think this is a straightforward source for information on a wide variety of funeral services.


A Comforting book about Facing the Loss of a Child

Facing the Loss of a Child


Wisdom and Empathy, September 4, 2005

"I have come to realize in a new way that every loss is unique, and that loss leaves no one unmarked. I can understand what it means to lose a lifetime partner, or even to lose a beloved pet. They are all losses - real losses."

Robert J. Marx and Susan Wengerhoff Davidson have helped parents deal with the loss of a child. They understand the variety of ways people mourn and also describe the many ways parents deal with grief.

How do you end the pain of loss when you want to remember the life of your child? How do you speak to someone who has lost a part of themselves? What do parents feel as they go through the unpredictable nature of grief? How do hurting parents relate to each other at such a difficult time in their lives?

The authors understand the loss of a child on a deep level and show great compassion in their poetic and sensitive writing style. At times the writing is a friend, understanding your pain and at time the writing is a counselor guiding you through a stage where you may experience a complete change in perspective.

If you are buying this book for yourself, I want you to know that this book is very comforting and if you read a chapter at a time you may find it helps you to work through your overwhelming feelings. You will come to realize that so many parents have gone through the experience and there are stories that you will be able to relate to that deal with all ages and situations. Through this process, you may feel that finally someone understands and you may also come to understand how people around you are struggling to express their love and sadness.

If you know someone who has lost a child and are a friend or relative, then this book will explain the variety of religious beliefs and how people view death. There are ideas on how to be a compassionate listener and how to support your friends or relatives even when you are also hurting.

I can also recommend this book to:

Medical Professionals
Social Workers

Facing the Ultimate Loss will be meaningful to anyone who has experienced loss because so many forms of loss all leave their indelible imprint on our hearts. When you try to forget your loss it can feel as if a part of you is dying, so this book can help you balance your need to remember with a reduction in pain and it can also help you to honor the memory of your child. The beauty in this book left me crying, page after page. It was truly a healing journey and it helped me to understand loss from a variety of perspectives. I think if you read the Epilogue first, it will make the book even more meaningful.



Grieving God's Way

A Compassionate Story of Facing Loss, May 23, 2006

"Sometimes compassion
offers only outstretched arms
to unburden grief." ~ Diantha Ain

Margaret Brownley is the author of 23 books of fiction and this is a book where she deals with her own reality in all its pain and conflict. She is also the founder of a Bereavement Care and Grief Center. Through her own experiences and the experiences of those around her she has learned a great deal of practical information she now offers to anyone who has unresolved grief and wants to find their way back to their lost joy.

"The soul seeks to grow, to question, and to understand, and this constant search plunges us into dangerous waters and hurls us into hostile space. It's the soul that demands answers from God." ~Margaret Brownley

Grieving God's Way is divided into four main sections that include healing in the areas of Body, Soul, Heart and Spirit. The book starts with gentle breathing exercises and continues through a process of healing each section of hurt and confusion. You will find a place to relax into an understanding that calms and comforts the soul.

The importance of writing, prayer, exercise, getting outside in the sun, lighting candles, remembering good memories and heart-healing ideas are presented with care in a nurturing environment of beautiful writing. I have read many books on grief, but this one is my favorite because it addresses issues in easy-to-read sections and is written by an author who truly understands the grieving process. Grieving God's Way is a very personal journey into the heart.

"Tears comfort the soul
washing away our sorrow
one drop at a time." ~Diantha Ain

~The Rebecca Review



Writing Your Way out of Pain



Special Items for Traumatic Situations

Healing Trauma, September 2, 2005

If you bring forth that which is within you,
Then that which is within you
Will be your salvation.
If you do not bring forth that
Which is within you,
Then that which is within you
Will destroy you.
~The Gnostic Gospels

           Peter A. Levine Healing Trauma Books & CD

What a way to begin a book! While this "riddle" has been unlocked by scholars and they claim it means we should transform through love, unlocking the physiological roots of emotions can be somewhat trying.

How do you heal what you have forgotten? When the trauma has been forgotten, the results can still remain and can slowly destroy you, causing overwhelming emotions that interfere with your daily life.

Survivors of accidents, disasters and traumatic situations of all types can experience anxiety, depression, unexplained physical pains and seemingly unrelated illness. At times suffering can be a doorway to awakening and then it can also be a very dark place that brings debilitating symptoms.

"When people have been traumatized, they are stuck in paralysis-the immobility reaction or abrupt explosions of rage." ~ Peter A. Levine

Through guided somatic Experiencing Techniques, Peter A. Levine brings the reader from a place of disconnection and disharmony to a place of accepting an experience occurred and healing the trauma. This is a Twelve-Phase Program with an Integrated CD.

This CD could be used by anyone who has:

Survived a natural disaster or life-threatening event
Experienced the loss of a loved one
Undergone a recent medical procedure
Witnessed Violence
Endured emotional abuse
Experienced a car accident

If you start reading the book before playing the CD is works better and the feeling of the CD is like a psychologist leading a patient through guided imagery. While the process is supposed to take 7-14 days, you can listen to the CD all at once to find out what will work best for you. The book has lists of descriptions to help you analyze your emotions and there is information on how our bodies react to extremely stressful situations.

Peter A. Levine explains how you can discharge and transform the negative energy and he gives techniques for bringing the nervous system back into balance. Even after just watching violence I think you can become somewhat numb from the shock, so this CD can even help anyone who has been shocked by the realities of our violent planet.



Resource for Understanding Trauma

        Beyond Trauma


Rapid Resolution of Trauma, September 2, 2005

"TIR allows practitioners to address trauma more deeply while simultaneously resolving trauma quickly." ~Victor R. Volkman

TIR (Trauma Incident Reduction) can be used on the frontlines of disasters. It can help people cope with what has just occurred and it can permanently eliminate PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms.

This one-on-one, non-hypnotic, person-centered, structured therapy helps patients to run experience through their minds until insights appear. This time of reflection seems to encourage people to not only face what has happened, but to understand the impact and then to begin the journey out of trauma and into healing.

As a survivor of PSTD, I can truly say this book is rather enlightening. I experienced many of the symptoms discussed in this book after a few very troubling years of major breakups, car accidents and dramatic life changes including surviving a hurricane in the Caribbean on my honeymoon. A hurricane is truly one of the most frightening experiences you can endure. My own experience happened 10 years ago during the same time of year as Hurricane Katrina.

The process I went through to stabilize my own psyche involved many of the techniques discussed in this book, however my recovery was based on friends and family listening. In fact, the main concept in TIR seems to be "listening."

When a patient begins to experience PTSD they may not even realize what is happening. I didn't even know about PTSD or what a panic attack was until I read about the symptoms. People who experience devastation not only have to rebuild their lives, they have to deal with anger, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, claustrophobia, insomnia, nightmares, rage, depression, fatigue, obsessive thoughts, guilt and a number of issues relating to PTSD.

The techniques described in this book will help individuals dealing with adjustment disorders, acute stress, phobias, sexual abuse, domestic violence, mourning and depression. The topics also include crime, grief, loss, abuse, accident victims, loss of a child, loss of a partner and surviving the experiences in a war. There is an excellent example of a woman who goes from experiencing a great loss to recounting the memory and then comes to terms with her grief. Psychotherapists also tell about their experiences and how TIR helped their patients:

When he finished, looked at me and was
crying, he said, "You Know, you are the only person
who has ever listened to me.
I feel better already. ~Alex Frater, Psychotherapist

The next logical step after reading this book seems to be attending a workshop or ordering the TIR and Metapsychology Lecture Series. There is a list of TIR trainers with Q & A to help you decide on a teacher or find out about a website filled with information on TIR. The interviews with people who have training in TIR makes this entire solution much easier to understand. I would suggest reading the question and answer section in the Appendix B first because it truly introduces you to TIR.

This book does seem to be written to encourage professionals to take a TIR workshop. Recommended to Psychologists, Social Workers, Traumatologists, Compassion Fatigue Specialists and anyone interested in Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome.

In my own life and the life of family members and friend I have seen that talking about incidents is more healing than repressing feelings. It might be painful to talk about your experiences, but that is how many people find a path to healing and sometimes you really can't heal the trauma until you face and understand the circumstances that caused the PTSD. The healing seems to be very rapid after you identify the causes and then implement solutions. TIR seems to take patients to a place where they can begin the healing process much more quickly.



Also see my Independent Living Tag at this book location:

Senior Housing


Excellent Advice and Extensive Research, May 23, 2006

Phyllis Staff spent years researching the topic of senior housing and the result is this well researched book on finding the best elder care. There are checklists and worksheets so you know which question to ask and the resource section is very helpful for locating information fast. The main sections include:

Choosing Care Suited to Your Elder's Needs
How Will You Pay For Long-Term Care?
Stretching Your Long-Term Care Dollars
Create A List Of Potential Facilities
Research The Parent Company
The Telephone Interview
Go Early to Scout Out the Neighborhood
First Impressions Count
Meet the Property Staff
Touring the Property
Talking With Elderly Residents
Reviewing Facility Records
Expenses: What to Expect
The Unannounced Visit
Trust But Verify
Finalize Your Selection
Documents For Safe-Keeping

How to Find Great Senior Housing not only discusses Nursing Home Care, it also addresses Adult Day Care, Hospice Care and Independent Living. By reading this book you can get an excellent idea of what type of care is needed and this can save a lot of time when searching for specific locations that provide specific types of care. Whether you are looking for outside help or you need full-time care, this book has many practical solutions.

Throughout there are "Red Flags" like: "Reluctance to allow you to eat and converse with residents can be a sign of a poor property."

Award Bonus Points include notes that address various issues. One example includes: "Staff who address residents as friends rather than children point to a high quality of care."

With so much to think about when addressing senior housing, I can't think of a better book to make you aware of all the factors involved in such a complex decision. When you want the best for your family, this book will show you how to find the best senior housing in your area.

~The Rebecca Review


Choices at the End of Life


What do your parents want? , May 23, 2006

"Perhaps most important, we will provide tips on how to talk about the things that matter most to your parents. What do they value? Who is important to them? What do they want their lives to be like as they approach the final stretch of the road? If you understand the answers to these questions, you will better understand the choices they make about their healthcare." ~Linda Northlander and Kerstin McSteen

Linda Northlander and Kerstin McSteen deal with the very sensitive issue of discussing death and life-support treatments with your parents. Through this book, you can learn a great deal about medical terminology and the pros and cons of feeding tubes and orders like DNR and DNI, but may or may not be what your parents want. So, this book helps you and your parents decide what is best.

The chapters in this book include:

Planning a Discussion
Who's Who in Advance Care Planning
Healthcare Options
Opening the Discussion
Understanding Values and Goals
Assessing Decision-Making Ability
How to Talk with the Doctor
Completing a Healthcare Directive
Understanding Hospice Care
Kitchen Table Calamities

Grief support, hospice care and issues with honoring directives are also discussed. This book will be appreciated by caregivers and by the person who knows they will need to be making many of the main decisions in regards to healthcare for an elderly relative. While difficult to read about death, it does bring an understanding to the healthcare issues everyone faces at the end of life. You may also want to read this book if you are working on a Living Will/Advance Directive. The last time I was in a hospital one of the first things the nurse asked me was if I had a Living Will, so this book may be useful for more than end of life issues.

~The Rebecca Review



Family Scrapbook Memory Album

Memory Scrapbook, May 22, 2006

"According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 4.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease-by 2050, that number is expected to grow to between 11.3 million and 16 million." ~Nichole L. Torres, Entrepreneur magazine

Memory books can have a very positive impact on the lives of those living with Alzheimer's disease and the positive energy also filters out to those who view the scrapbooks. By creating the scrapbook, you can then spend time reminiscing over a well-lived life and also help to trigger memories.

The Memory Book was created by Maya Opavska who loves to create scrapbooks. Each book has photographs you can use to trigger memories or you can use all your own photos. There are places to put photos for: Friends, Family, Romance, Love, Marriage, Children, Play, Dancing, Baseball, Birthdays, Vacations, Teenage Years and Graduation. On each main section there is also a place to write what is remembered in the "I Remember" section. Each page is like a scrapbook design with places for more pictures.

There is also a Connect, Pause, Reflect section with ideas for remembering items that fit into the themes of the pages. On the Vacation themed pages you will find: "I remember...Packing suitcases, loading kids in the car, driving for hours, Route 66. Roadside attractions, souvenirs, postcards, motels."

Caregivers can use this book to encourage pleasant memories and people feel better just from viewing pictures and connecting with their happiest memories. Photo corners that are peel-and-stick are included to hold photos in place. The pages are durable and will last a long time.

To make up a Memory Lane Connect and Reflect Kit, add the Memory Video and Memory CD. These resources can be used in senior care facilities or at home.

~The Rebecca Review




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