The book, Death Comes Not as a Stranger, Second Edition, explores making peace with death’s inevitability. It has become clear that the ultimate transformative process, death, remains shrouded in fear and denial and saps vital energy from the business of living. With the current shift in the demographics of a rapidly increasing older population, the concern about death foments and gathers momentum. In this country today, people over 50 make up 24% of the population, and with the baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—beginning to turn 65, the percentage of older Americans is rising rapidly and will continue to do so for years. With this shift in demographics, there is also a shift in attitudes and priorities. Interest in the phenomenon of old age and death currently simmers just beneath the surface of our collective denial of aging and dying; at the same time questions break through this denial with increasing frequency and urgency. Working with the transformative process, which includes ways that individuals increase consciousness and gain awareness, allows for fuller, more rewarding lives.
While realizing that the most effective way for people to learn something is by doing something, death is not available as a learning-by-doing exercise. People also learn by observation, by gathering information, by self-reflection, and by modeling their behavior on the actions of others. Doing so can bring a perspective on and understanding of death within reach for those who seek to find it. We can learn, too, by going deep into our own experiences where seemingly hidden significances can open doors to expanded consciousness about living and about dying. We learn, too, that the experiences and insights of others can play a penetrating role in shifting from fear of to comfort with death as the other bookend of life.
The writing about death took me firmly by the hand, brought me face-to-face with unrecognized fear, and introduced me gently to the beauty of finding deep peace in the contemplation and anticipation of my death. It is a journey available to everyone. I believe that this story is an important story to share. Join me as I move from my initial, sincere-yet-shallow curiosity about death to a profound acceptance and comfort in knowing that each life on earth is a finite experience. It is the ultimate gift often squandered. The peace that accompanies the embracing of death frees one’s capacity for living a more expansive, rewarding, and vital life.
Death Comes Not as a Stranger – Befrieinding Death & Finding Peace is available through Balboa Press.