Intimate Death: How the Dying Teach Us How to Live

Author: Hennezel, Marie de


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  • ISBN: 9780679768593
  • Author: Hennezel, Marie de
  • Publ Date: 1998-08-01
  • Edition:
  • Pages: 197
  • Imprint: ALFRED KNOPF *
  • Status: ACT
  • ID - 6706


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, some alone with no one to help, some with their families, do not always know that they are dying. It is Marie de Hennezel's aim first to bring them - and their loved ones - to this knowledge and then to encourage them to live each day remaining to them as fully as possible, to move beyond pain, confusion, or despair toward a perception of their lives as a whole, and to make peace with the approaching end. We watch as she sits with each patient, sometimes encouraging them to release their fears and angers, sometimes providing just a calm, comforting presence, or honest answers to difficult questions. 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 in can be to share these moments with someone. Even more, we come to realize just how much about living there is to learn from those who are dying. In an age when we are taught not to talk about death, this important and profound book lends us the strength to talk about it, gives us hope, and celebrates the amazing courage of the human spirit.


"Unique... Of all the books I have read about the endings of our lives, this elegiac testimony has taught me the most." - Sherwin B. Nuland, M.D., author of "How We Die""This book is a lesson in life. The light it sheds is more intense than any mere knowledge could provide." -President Francois Mitterand"The quiet, obvious truth [de Hennezel] discovers in her work--these things have a kind of cumulative power."- "Washington Post Book World"

Author Biography:

Marie de Hennezel was born in France in 1946. She started her career as a psychologist working with women in distress and with cases of advanced psychosis. In 1987, she joined the staff of the first palliative care unit in a Paris hospital for people with terminal illnesses, where she gathered the experiences she describes in this book. She founded the Bernard Dutant Association: AIDS and Re-Empowerment in 1990, in memory of a friend who died of AIDS, and gives lectures on approaching the end of life and seminars on accompanying the dying. She lives in Paris with her husband and children.


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