Death is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End by Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD
Nonfiction | Memoir | Medical
Published by Avery Publishing Group
Released 11 February 2020
Goodreads | Amazon
Most of the non-fiction I read tends to have self-help or historical themes. Lately, however, I’ve been more and more interested in the more spiritual side of things. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but who knows.
When I was approached by a publicist to review Dr. Christopher Kerr’s Death is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End, I was hesitant but interested. I’m glad I agreed to read and review it, however, because it taught me a lot about the end of life process.
Dr. Kerr is a hospice doctor, and this book is a collection of his observations about what patients experience on their death beds. He takes a strikingly non-spiritual and non-religious view of the dying process, which made the book even more interesting to me. His views on the experiences of his dying patients were based on science and his own observations.
With tons of patient stories and anecdotes, Dr. Kerr recounts the plethora of patients who have experienced seeing their loved ones, who have passed on before them, in their last few days of life. Likewise, he discusses the overwhelming sense of peace that many people experience in their last days or hours.
While many people might chalk these experiences up to hallucinations, senility, or the side effects of heavy doses of medications, Dr. Kerr makes the point that it doesn’t necessarily matter what is causing these visions – the only thing that matters is how they make the patients feel, which is overwhelmingly more peaceful and happier during an otherwise stressful time.
My only complaint about this book is that I wished Dr. Kerr had used more statistics and stories from other types of doctors – possibly trauma surgeons or ICU nurses – to get a different perspective on other types of patients. It’s a very small gripe though because overall, reading this book was an enlightening experience.
I’d recommend Death is But a Dream to anyone interested in death, the experiences of terminally ill patients, and those who want a non-religious look at the end of life. Death is But a Dream is a beautifully written account of the experiences of dying patients of all ages, their families and loved ones, and the doctors and nurses who care for them in hospice.