In this rich and humane book Ann Orbach explores, from the point of view of a psychotherapist, the subject of death in all its manifestations. Her intention is to look at death and what it means to us, as a means of coming to terms with the inevitable, and helping others to do so. She discusses not only existential questions such as fear of death (as a state of non-being) and fear of dying, but cultural attitudes and religious beliefs, dreams and near death experiences, and the consequences of the manner of death. She looks at death in war, suicide, euthanasia, terminal illness, accident and murder, as well as the death of children and the consequent needs of parents and siblings. She discusses the way in which a therapist can help the dying and their families.
Welcoming the lessening of taboos surrounding the subject of death, Ann Orbach urges that all aspects of death should be approached with honesty and openness, with children just as much as with adults. She leaves us with the question of what dies with the body: is there anything left of our humanity that does not die?
Ann Orbach is a practising psychotherapist who is interested in working with older people and exploring attitudes to death. She is the author of Not Too Late, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
1. All Must Die. No escape. Seeking therapy on the way to death. To be or not to be - is there a death instinct? 2. Out of Season. Fragile beginnings. What children know and what they can talk about. Answering children's questions. The first bereavements. Jonathan's story. Children who die. Parents whose children die. Slaughter of the innocents. The story of two mothers. 3. A Plague Called AIDS. Pandemic. What is AIDS and where does it come from? Health education, tests and counselling. Perry's story. AIDS in the family. 4. Sudden Death. Death by proxy. Meeting the shadow. Murder in mind. Forensic psychotherapy. Working with murderers. Capital punishment - the outcasts. Suicide. Suicide, psychotherapy and the saving of souls. Euthanasia. War. The manner of our dying. 5. Slow Death. Terminal illness. To tell or not to tell? Natural death. Where to die. Fear. 6. Partly Living. To eat or not to eat? The dying brain. The death of meaning. 7. In Fullness of Time. Being old. Dying of old age. Life review. Counselling, psychotherapy, analysis. 8. A Time to Mourn. Mourning on the way to death. Each bereavement is unique. Funeral options. 9. On the Edge. Dreams of death. View from the edge. 10. Who Dies? Ego. Self. Body, soul and spirit. Individuation. Can we still believe in an afterlife? Appendix. References. Index.