On death and dying, by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

It’s been more than a year since I borrowed this book from my mother and haven’t read it until now, when I accidentally found it while reorganising the bookshelf.

I read it in few days since it’s brief and easy. But it’s sticky. One of those books that stay with you, resonate with you. Comes to stay, doesn’t leave you, a bugger…

on death and dying

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist that dedicated most of her career to research on death and what’s around it. She also held 28 honoris causa titles.

After her observations on thousands of dying people of all ages, cultures and religions, she stated that death is a sunrise, a start.

For more than 20 years, she studied experiences on the threshold of death (for example, people in cardiac arrest who are resuscitated), death from chronic or incurable diseases, traumatic deaths …

Her data and experience, roughly speaking, show that death has three stages:

  1. The first stage, the abandonment of the earthly body. She describes that death is nothing more than the abandonment of the physical body with all consciousness, in the same way that the butterfly leaves its cocoon. The body perishes and the spirit continues.
  2. In the second stage, one is provided with Psychic Energy. The spiritual being is perfect and, paradoxically, has physical integrity. For example, if they were the blind, now they see, if they were lame, now they don’t… And they can also read the thoughts of men around them, remember ambulance plates or comments from the medical team in the room. At this stage, one is not alone but accompanied by loved ones who have died before, their spirits.
    3. In the third stage, one sees a light, yes, THE LIGHT. It’s described by most dying people as a bright, powerful, dazzling light and a feeling of pure love, happiness, well-being, calmness. In fact, among the thousands deaths studied, none showed fear of dying, arrived at this point.
    4. And here it’s when those who were to return, came back to life, and those who followed the light died.

As I say, in broad terms, these are the results of Dr Kübler-Ross research and has presented them in many occasions and forms, knowing that many would think she was insane (being a psychiatrist)

Me, being a doctor, although very sceptical, can not take these thoughts out of my head. Specially, having seen “earthly bodies” dying. No doubt this book has made me rethink about dying people in hospital, with much more respect, if possible. There are many things we still don’t know or understand.

Give it a go and read it, if you dare. Will not leave you indifferent.

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