Supporting the Other & Accounts from the Carer’s viewpoint

Some recommended reading from the OSHO Sammasati ‘library’ with comments from Maneesha and/or Amazon reviews. Osho books are shown at the beginning.

Please feel free to add your recommendations including what you particularly appreciate about the book in the Comments section at the end of this page.

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Living with Dying

Jahanna Beecham & Katie Ortlip, LCSW

Starcatcher Press

This practical, easy-to-use manual is for the caregiver who has little time to make themselves a meal or take a shower, let alone read a book. The caregiver who has so many health, legal and daily-care questions that they are utterly overwhelmed. They need help but don’t know where to get it or how to pay for it.

It provides information from ‘when you get the news,’ through ‘very specific caregiving technique for feeding, washing, toileting, and communicating with your patient, and tips for care of yourself.’ It also takes the reader through the body’s dying process and offers a ‘road map’ for the emotional and spiritual aspects.

Already, by page 5, there’s a helpful bullet-point list of nine ‘givens’ for any caregiver, regarding what they will experience in their own internal life. Commendable also that the various fears that a dying person may face are listed very early on in the book. As well there is a whole chapter devoted to the caregiver her/himself, with ten realistic steps to balance what you are doing for the other with your own wellbeing.

Meditation – understood by the authors as affirmations of one kind of or another – receives a mere 7-line mention. (Aren’t you lucky you are reading this on a site that offers you so much more on that subject!) With that one exception, this book provides a very comprehensive coverage of all aspects of dying that you are likely to need to know.

Caring for the living and the dying

(Dr) Michael Barbato

(from the back cover)This book ‘explores the extraordinary experience of caring for a loved one who is dying, detailing the physical, mental and emotional issues associated with everyday and long-term care. Through his own personal and professional experience, Michael; Barbato explores death and dying in a sensitive and insightful way and offers practical suggestions on many of the issues carers are likely to confront.’

The author (who arranged a workshop for Maneesha at his home in Australia in 2010) was a palliative care physician for more than 20 years, retiring from full-time work in 2009. He now runs workshops on the topic of death and dying for professional and community groups.

Grace and Grit

Ken Wilbur

A man’s experience of his wife’s journey through illness, treatment and death.

(From the back cover): ‘Ken’s wide-ranging commentary, which questions conventional and New Age approaches to illness, is combined with Treya’s journals to create this portrait of health and healing, wholeness and harmony, suffering and surrender.’

I Don’t Know What to Say … how to help & support someone who is dying

Dr Robert Buckman


(from the back cover) Dr Robert Buckman, an internationally renowned oncologist who was once himself diagnosed as having a terminal illness, has the sensitivity to pick up where most doctors leave off. He pays close attention to the practical, spiritual, and psychological needs of the patient. His advice is specific, and he offers techniques which are useful whether the patient is a friend, lover, relative, child or spouse…”

“It should be required reading for the medical profession.” Toronto Globe & Mail

Very accessible. Highly recommended. (M)


In the Midst of Life

Jennifer Worth

The author, Jennifer Worth, worked as a midwife, nurse and ward sister and is a brilliant writer. Each chapter is a vignette or case study covering subjects including The Advance Decision, Family Involvement, Social Attitudes to Death, Grief, Stroke, Dementia, Congestive Heart Failure, Open Heart Resuscitation, Euthanasia, and lots more. Read the book review on our blog.

Are the Keys in the Freezer?

Patricia Woodell, Brenda Niblock and Jeri Warner

Are the Keys in the Freezer? is an artful blend of practical advice and the compelling story of a family’s search for the right care for their mother with dementia.

This well-researched book is a must-read for families in the US looking for resources and ideas about care facilities, hospices, finances and costs of care, advance directives and other topics related to managing the affairs of the elderly with dementia. A story of conflict and of light-hearted moments, Are the Keys in the Freezer? is the rich personal testimony of a family’s struggle to navigate the confusing world of dementia care choices for their mother. The book is an insider’s guide to unravelling medical, legal, and regulatory issues that affect the quality of care for loved ones who cannot make care decisions for themselves.

The book’s easy, conversational tone turns complex issues into everyday language, making it an easy read for newcomers to the world of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Letters to a Dying Friend: helping those you love make a conscious transition

Anton Grosz


When Anton’s Grosz’s friend Peter died—suddenly, much too young, while jogging with his dog Max—Grosz was struck by how little prepared Peter had been to make a conscious exit. These letters are what Grosz would have told him, if he had been given the chance, about the process of dying and what comes next. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to read these moving letters and to discover how the ancient wisdom of the Tibetan Book of the Dead and its corroboration in the near-death studies of today’s researchers can help us. This knowledge can make us better prepared and help us to prepare those we love to leave life with conscious grace and faith in the life to come.

Partners in Healing: simple ways to offer support, comfort, and care to a loved one facing illness

William Collinge

(Collinge has also authored The American Holistic Health Association Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine)

(from the back cover) This book offers a new sense of empowerment for the intimate partners of people living with serious health problems. Collinge draws on cutting-edge scientific research along with his experience counselling couples facing serious illness to offer a range of insights, strategies, and techniques that caregivers can utilise to promote their partners’ physical and emotional well-being – while also promoting their own.

Topics include The importance of self-care for the caring partner; ways of involving family and friends in a network of support; simple massage and touch techniques to bring comfort and reduce symptoms; how open, affirmative communication can contribute to healing; basic energy-healing techniques to promote well-being.


Speaking of Dying: A Practical Guide to Using Counselling Skills in Palliative Care

(Foreword by Dr Colin Murray Parkes) Louis Heyse-Moore

(Foreword by Dr Colin Murray Parkes) Louis Heyse-Moore

Heyse-Moore worked in palliative medicine for 27 years. He was consultant in palliative medicine to Isabel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City, after serving as the medical director at St Joseph’s Hospice in East London. He has published articles in many leading journals in the field and has lectured internationally and given workshops on the use of counselling skills in palliative medicine.

This is an easily accessible, lucid manual that is both an excellent guide to basic counselling skills generally and to counselling the dying specifically. Chapters include: Attending skills; Core counselling skills; Breaking bad news; working with emotions; euthanasia; family matters; spiritual distress and staff support.

The Needs of the Dying

David Kessler

In gentle, compassionate language, The Needs of the Dying helps us through the last chapter of our lives. Author David Kessler has identified key areas of concern: the need to be treated as a living human being, the need for hope, the need to express emotions, the need to participate in care, the need for honesty, the need for spirituality, and the need to be free of physical pain. Examining the physical and emotional experiences of life-challenging illnesses, Kessler provides a vocabulary for family members and for the dying that allows them to communicate with doctors, with hospital staff, and with one another, and—at a time when the right words are exceedingly difficult to find—he helps readers find a way to say good-bye. Using comforting and touching stories, he provides information to help us meet the needs of a loved one at this important time in our lives.

The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring: How to cope with the emotional and practical aspects of caring for someone

Hugh Marriott

A must-read for anyone involved with caring.

‘We have needed this book for twenty years. I wish I had been able to read it when I first became a carer.’ (Alison Ryan; Chief Executive, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.)

Chapter titles include Why care at all? What if you didn’t care? You’re on your own. Are you the one who needs looking after? Officialdom and Chaos Theory; Your Body; Sex; your mind; Give me a break; Tips which the experts didn’t give you. Afterwards.

What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom for the End of Life

David Kuhl M.D.


A unique approach to the subject of dying, attempting, as it does, to enter the minds and hearts of those who are facing death. The author is a medical doctor, has trained in counselling psychology and theology, has had clinical experience as a palliative care physician, and wrote a theses on the subject of this book.

He writes sanely and sensitively about what he has learnt. His book is refreshingly free of the more usual gee-whiz-bang approach of contemporary Americans writers in the field of psychology and spirituality, or any sentimentality. Illustrated with case studies, it is an absorbing and easy read. Highly recommended.


The Spare Room

Helen Garner


When Helen offers her spare room to her old friend Nicola she has little idea what lies ahead. For Nicola is very ill. Her battle in the weeks that follow turn not only her own life upside down, but also those of everyone around her. This is an unforgettable journey, heart-breaking and inspiring, which will test their friendship the limit.

I found this a raw account of the reality of caring for someone who is seriously ill. Addresses issues such as the dilemma of watching a friend who is in denial about what is happening to them, being at odds with their chosen mode of treatment and boundaries. (Maneesha)

Selected as book of the year by Observer, Sunday times, Financial Times, Independent and Guardian, Daily mail, Evening Standard, Sunday Herald.

Comments: ‘The best book I have read for years’ (Independent)

‘An extraordinary, exhilarating novel;’ (Guardian)

‘Swift, beautiful and relentless’ (Alice Sebold)



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