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Intimate Death: How The Dying Teach Us To Live [Paperback]

Marie De Hennezel , Carol Brown Janeway
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 May 1998

Marie de Hennezel is a gifted psychologist who works as part of a remarkable team of doctors and nurses in a hospital for the terminally ill in Paris. The men and women who come there do not always know that they are dying. It is Marie de Hennezel's aim to bring them - and their loved ones - to this knowledge and then to encourage them to live each day that remains as fully and serenely as possible.

Through her amazing gentleness and the unforgettable people she helps, we learn how precious the final days of a person's life can be and how deeply moving it is to share these moments with someone else. In an age where people hesitate to talk about dying, this important and ground-breaking book lends us the strength to confront the mysteries of death, gives us hope and celebrates the courage of the human spirit. It is also remarkably life-affirming.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (14 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751523321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751523324
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Dying is society's last taboo and this book, in its honesty, warmth and humanity helps overcome it. Written with compassion and sympathy, the book eschews denial, transforming the unpalatable into something humane. (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

This book is a lesson in living. The light it casts...bears witness to the most profound of all human experiences. How do we learnt to die? If there is an answer, few accounts can provide it with so strong an inspiration as this one. (Francois Mitterrand)

A brave book that could help many in distress. (DAILY MAIL)

Book Description

* An instant classic on death and dying by a leading figure in the palliative care movement.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mysterious death 18 Oct 2004
Whether you are scared of death or are loosing somebody close to you, this books will help you going through that wonderful adventure which is life. This book is all about life and even if you have only few weeks to live there is still so much you can do to enjoy life. Life is precious and should be enjoyed by everyone fully. After reading this I felt more in touch with people around me, I saw things differently. It has been quite a shock to read through and a wonderful eye opener. I recommand it to any body keen on self-development, any body that is not enjoying life fully because at the back of their head there is a fear of death, and finally to everyone who is scared to loose a close person.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I have just spent a week being with my 66 year old mother in the last stages of her life (I virtually lived in her hospital room with my 2 brothers 24 hours a day). It was the most moving, powerful and spiritual experience I have ever had - more amazing than childbirth in a way - because my love for my mother conquered my fear through the dying process. Afterwards I wanted to find out about how it was for others, to make sense of this incredible time. I found this book to be a wonderful companion and commentary on this process (and there's virtually nothing like this book around except from author Elizabeth Kubler Ross which to me didn't feel so in tune). Intimate Death is beautifully written and completely true to my own experience and tells the true story of the chief psychologist, Marie Hennezel, in a ground breaking palliative care unit in Paris and her experiences in enabling and loving dying people. Communication with the dying is unique and totally real not like the fabrication of ordinary life and so it is beautiful and transcendent. Going through this process in a good way (even though obviously it's also incredibly painful at times for the living) and being part of a good death will help me firstly get over the death of someone I adored but also, I feel, will make the rest of my life have much more meaning than if I had run away because of my fear. I only wish I had had the courage to read this before my mum died because it would have helped me do an even better job in supporting her in her last days but I am very glad I have read it now. Brilliant
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional tear jerker but brilliantly written! 4 Mar 2010
I am training as a music therapist and this book was recommended to me by someone who works in palliative/hospice care. I found myself near tears several times at the emotional content - death and dying are not easy subjects to talk about but Marie does so with such grace and ease. A deep little book and helpful for challenging ones view about death.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! 24 Aug 2011
I must say that I'm only 50 pages into this book and I can already say, with complete confidence, that it's one of the most achingly beautiful things I've ever read. Anybody going through the pain of seeing a loved one in decline, anybody afraid of their own mortality and anybody interested in the human condition ought to read this book. Follow this up with Yalom's books on the same topic "Staring at the Sun," for example, and you'll begin to see how death provides a frame for life. A kiss goodbye is the most beautiful of all. Kiss each day as if it were the last and you'll have lived the lesson of this book. Wonderful!
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