‘Awake at the Bedside’ is book about life, not about dying. It’s a book about caring and caregiving.
The book is a manual, filled with personal accounts, which can inspire, counsel, and teach, and shared wisdom and advice from thought leaders in the field of contemplative caregiving. The book offers resilience and support to those who keep watch at the bedside.
The book has painfully honest quotes such as “I have seen too often my colleagues pull away as a patient nears the end of their path and have seen relatives, fearful and anxious as to how to proceed.
Contributors of the collection are pioneers of palliative and end-of-life care — including doctors, spiritual teachers, poets, and caregivers, who offer insights on incredibly challenging questions such as, how to relate to dying and how to give care without becoming emotionally and spiritually depleted.
The book from the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care can serve as a helpful guide for compassionate caregivers in fostering healing within themselves and in others.
The volume received great reviews such as “an insightful and inspirational guide for all us as we move into the inevitability, the necessity, the privilege, of holding space for those we love as they make their journey back home”, and described as one that provides guidance “to honor death with the same grace we do life”. It has been praised as a “practical support, emotional resonance, and celebration of ordinary sacredness”.
The book is full of riveting and heartwarming stories from the “who’s who” of the end-of-life-care movement, be it doctors, patients, chaplains, family members, or caregivers. It speaks of death as the journey that needs above all love, presence and listening, and argues persuasively for human compassion.
An indispensable resource to those who keep watch at the bedside and for anyone involved in hospice work, it is a book everyone will need at some point in their lives, when called upon to care for a loved one. It offers practical insight in how we can care for people in new ways.
It explores questions such as: What are the current practices in palliative and end-of-life care, and how might they be improved? How can we give care without becoming emotionally and spiritually depleted?
It includes a never-published essay by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, poems by Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott, and personal essays by seminal teachers in the field, including Ram Dass and Ira Byock.
This collection - of stories and poetry - uncovers life experiences that highlight the preciousness of time and the deep value of connection. It serves as a healing guide stacked with valuable lessons about relationship, grief, joy, and suffering.
—Dr. James R. Doty, Professor of Neurosurgery, Founder & Director, The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University School of Medicine