Winner of the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Award
(Gift Book Category)
Winner of the 2009 National Best Books Award
(Spirituality: Journals & Quotes Category)
Individuals facing death may not know how to express the range of emotions, questions, and discoveries they experience. At the same time, family members, friends, and even professional caregivers may be uncertain as to whether and how to broach the subject of death and dying. Now a unique resource, Facing Death: A Companion in Words and Images, can help open the door to meaningful conversation, reminiscence, and reflection at the end of life.
In addition to aiding communication, this combination of contemplative text and evocative images will provide comfort, guidance, and even hope to readers. Concise messages offer helpful advice and thoughtful inspiration, as well as validation of common feelings. Breathtaking nature photographs add depth and meaning to the text but also stand alone as a source of comfort.
Drawing upon a variety of spiritual traditions and standard psychological approaches, this book enriches the final days and weeks of life. Emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs are addressed in a way that is accessible and broadly applicable. With its extra pages for personal notes, pictures, and mementos, the book will also become a valued keepsake after a loved one’s death.
Developed by a former pastoral and supportive care professional, Facing Death provides a source of support and self therapy for dying individuals. The book is an invaluable resource for visiting family members and friends, and a useful tool for counselors, social workers, nurses, physicians, chaplains, and volunteers at hospices, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Linda Watson, M.R.E., M.Div., Th.M.
As a former pastoral and supportive care professional, Linda Watson found herself drawn, again and again, to work with the dying and the bereaved. With degrees from the University of Calgary, McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, and the University of Toronto, Linda worked in parish ministry and later as the Peer Support and Supportive Care Coordinator of a breast cancer resource centre in Winnipeg, MB. Where others sometimes kept their distance, Linda moved in close and became a trusted companion of the dying and their loved ones on many occasions. She learned at least some of the questions to ask, some of the silences to leave hanging, and some of the words to offer when it was time. Her counseling and theological training, plus the experiences life provided her, combined to assist her in being a positive presence at bedsides and elsewhere with those facing death.
It was an event in her personal life, however, that moved her to put some of the wisdom she had gained in the context of these experiences down on paper. Her sister, who had been battling cancer for a few years, was suddenly given 6 weeks to live and Linda was too far distant to be there in the ways she desired. Writing down kernels of wisdom and quotations she knew would be helpful to her sister led eventually to the compilation in this volume, one that has been tested now by others and evaluated favorably by other professionals in the field of end of life care.
Originally from England, Maggie Sale has made her home in Canada since 1974. As a Toronto-based photographer, she has traveled widely and enjoys combining landscape and nature photography with her travels. Her images have been published in a number of magazines and books in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Ms. Sale’s images have also appeared in a number of exhibitions.
Ms. Sale is a member of the Canadian Association for Photographic Art as well as the Etobicoke Camera Club in Toronto. She is a photographic Judge and Presenter with the Greater Toronto Council of Camera Clubs. You can see more of her images at:www.maggiesale.ca.
“Highly recommended as a gift book for anyone confronting the end of their lives, as well as and [sic] those closest to them.”
– Midwest Book Review
“This book could be very helpful for some patients and their carers. The texts cover a range of situations, and while many might be categorized as ‘warm and fuzzy’, several express the distress and strong emotions often experienced by patients facing end of life situations . . . I would see the book as a useful addition to the pastoral care section of the library of a palliative care unit, as well as being available for patients and relatives to use, with information on how to order the book for individual use.”
“This easy to read mini-book is filled with inspirational ideas, thought-provoking sentences and incredibly stunning photographs. Much of the general public can relate to the universal themes illustrated. Anyone interested in self-reflection can read a page at a time to provide ‘food for thought’. In addition, the book can be used by health care professionals as springboard to open dialogue, particularly with clients facing life-limiting illness. We believe this to be a simple yet potentially powerful tool that can provide comfort to those grieving.”
-Rose De Angelis, RN, MSc (A), CHPCN (C), Assistant Executive Director/Nursing Director, and Teresa Dellar, MSW, PSW, CT, Executive Director /Founder, The West Island Palliative Care Residence
“Linda Watson has created a brilliant journal filled with awe-inspiring photography whose beauty is only surpassed by the poignancy of the written messages. A simple yet profound work, it offers a way out of suffering and into peace for people who are dying and bereaved.”
–Rev. Linda M. Amador, MDiv, MPH, CT, CRP, Christian Minister, Certified Thanatologist, Spiritual Director, Grief Facilitator, Hospice/Hospital Chaplain
“This book will touch your heart and soul with hope, even in the midst of grief, through inspirational sayings and pictures. This book also provides a unique opportunity for the reader to capture their thoughts as well as sayings that have inspired them during their grief journey. Facing Death: A Companion in Words and Images combines the thoughts and inspirations of the writer and the reader.”
-Jan Borgman, LISW-S, FT, Bereavement Manager, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
“I opened the book and found a beautiful gift. The images quicken my heart and remind me of the beauty I’ve experienced at the bedside of dying loved ones and clients. Each page invites me to stop, meditate and appreciate. Exquisite images and words will lighten any heart facing death . . . and life.”
-Joan Chadbourne EdD, Founder of Healing Conversations Now and author of Healing Conversations Toward End-of-Life
“The quotations, reflections, and affirmations collected in this book can be used by a wide variety of individuals…. I’m sure my colleagues in Hospice will add it to their resources to share with patients and their families, as well as occasionally using it for their own reflection and renewal.” —Catherine Parsons Emmett, MSN, ARNP, Ph.D. Candidate Clinical Nurse Specialist, LifePath Hospice (Tampa, FL)
“This book is particularly valuable because it provides the opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and allows for families to evolve their own unique perspective.”
-The Honourable Sharon Carstairs, P.C., Canadian Senate
“Linda Watson masterfully weaves stunning photographs with poems and verses that provoke thoughts and images of peace and spiritual awareness for those on their final journey in life. I highly recommend this book to those facing death, or their loved ones, as a means of creating a positive connection to the world as they leave their legacy behind on this earth.”
–Carol O. Long, Ph.D., RN, Co-Director, Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia