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Lessons from the Shadows of Death
Donald E. Fowler

In the shadows ... Like glooming clouds hovering over the dying or perhaps some of the better gimmicks and directions in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, we tend to stand afar off from the shadows of life and death. Even as caregivers (we sometimes fool ourselves into believing that we are simply showing respect for the journey of another person) we tend to skirt the shadows and reside more safely in the light.

The book begins in the shadows, the reality of our own life story, meaning, expectations and mortality! The issue, as is done throughout the book, is presented to us through cleverly captured stories by way of interviews/summaries. An Army Green Beret with a tumor asked, "Have you ever thought you might die?" Another person speaks of the timing of death. Another shares a dream. The second section explores the importance of cultural values. Others, as we especially see if folks seeking meaning and celebration in their accomplishments, discusses the importance of life's work. Other "importance" chapters include relationships, religious values, being a caregiver and, finally, standing in our own shadow of death.

Concluding with Psalm 23, a theme throughout, the epilogue has this important thought. "Each experience of new beginnings and their ending cycles teaches us to face the next cycle of the living experience. Each cycle brings new learning and growth experiences. We learn from facing the shadows of deaths in our lives and we can learn to live from each of our dying experiences." (p. 218)

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Updated January, 2005

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