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A Message From Elisabeth We all have lessons to learn during this time called life; this is especially apparent when working with the dying. The dying learn a great deal at the end of life, usually when it is too late to apply. After moving to the Arizona desert in 1995, I had a stroke on Mother's Day that left me paralyzed. I spent the next few years at death's door. Sometimes I thought death would come within a few weeks. Many times, I was disappointed that it did not come, for I was ready. But I have not died because I am still learning the lessons of life, my final lessons. These lessons are the ultimate truths about our lives; they are the secrets to life itself. I wanted to write one more book, not on death and dying but on life and living. Is this really how I want to live my life? Each one of us at some point asks this question. The tragedy is not that life is short but that we often see only in hindsight what really matters. In Life Lessons, her first book on life and living, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross joins with David Kessler to guide readers through the practical and spiritual lessons we need to learn so that we can live life to its fullest in every moment. Many years of working with the dying have shown the authors that certain lessons come up over and over again. Some of these lessons can be difficult to master, but even the attempts to understand them are deeply rewarding. Here, in fourteen accessible chapters, from the Lesson of Love to the Lesson of Happiness, the authors reveal the truth about our fears, our hopes, our relationships, and, above all, the grandness of who we really are.
Shortly before her death in 2004, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, her collaborator, completed the manuscript for this, her final book. On Grief and Grieving is a fitting completion to her work. Thirty-six years and sixteen books ago, Kübler-Ross's groundbreaking On Death and Dying changed the way we talk about the end of life. Now On Grief and Grieving will profoundly influence the way we experience the process of grief. On Death and Dying began as a theoretical book, an interdisciplinary study of our fear of death and our inevitable acceptance of it. It introduced the world to the now-famous five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On Grief and Grieving applies these stages to the process of grieving and weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, all based on Kübler-Ross's and Kessler's professional and personal experiences, and is filled with brief, topic-driven stories. It includes sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, coping, children, healing, isolation, and even the subject of sex during grief. "I know death is close," Kübler-Ross says at the end of the book, "but not quite yet. I lie here like so many people over the years, in a bed surrounded by flowers and looking out a big window. . . . I now know that the purpose of my life is more than these stages. . . . It is not just about the life lost but also the life lived. " In one of their final writing sessions, Kübler-Ross told Kessler, "The last nine years have taught me patience, and the weaker and more bed-bound I become, the more I'm learning about receiving love. " On Grief and Grieving is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's final legacy, one that brings her life's work profoundly full circle.
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