In this profound and moving book, oncology nurse Janie Brown recounts twenty conversations she has had with the dying, including people close to her. Each conversation uncovers a different perspective on, and experience of death, while at the same time exploring its universalities. Offering extremely sensitive and wise insight into our final moments, Brown shows practical ways to facilitate the shift from feeling helpless about death to feeling hopeful; from fear to acceptance; from feeling disconnected and alone, to becoming part of the wider, collective story of our mortality.
As Janie Brown writes, "Most people now under sixty have never seen a person die, and so have become deeply fearful about death, their own and the deaths of their beloved others. They have had no role models to show them how to care for a dying person, and therefore no confidence in being able to do so. My hope is that the baby boomer cohort who pushed for the return of the midwives to de-medicalize birth will also be instrumental in reclaiming the death process. This book is my contribution to the re-empowerment of all of us to take charge of our lives and our deaths, remembering that we know how to die, just as we knew how to come into this world. We also know how to heal, and to settle our lives as best we can, before we die. In my view, this is the greatest gift we could give our loved ones: to be prepared and open and accepting when the time comes for us to leave this world."
JANIE BROWN was born in Epsom, England, raised in Glasgow, Scotland, and emigrated in 1984 to become a nurse at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. She has a Master's in Psychology from St. Andrews University and a Master's in Nursing from the University of British Columbia. She has worked as an oncology nurse and counsellor for over thirty years and in 1995 founded the Vancouver-based Callanish Society, a grassroots non-profit organization for people living with, and dying from, cancer (www.callanish.org)