cover image Death Is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End

Death Is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End

Christopher Kerr. Avery, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-525-54284-1

Kerr, neurobiologist and chief medical officer at Hospice Buffalo, draws on his case studies on end-of-life dreams and visions in this penetrating and empathetic debut. After a veteran hospice nurse predicted a patient’s death and humbled then–cardiology fellow Kerr, he changed his career trajectory and approach to caring for dying patients. Kerr begins with his epiphany and backstory about how witnessing his father’s death and a priest’s callous dismissal of his father’s pre-death vision pushed him toward medicine, then explains his hospice patients’ pre-death dreams, visions, and life stories. Among Kerr’s patients are no-nonsense Bobbie, who tests her doctors with sly and cunning humor; 95-year-old Frank, who enjoys speaking with his verbose late uncle while asleep, but often wants him to “shut up”; the imperfect, traumatized former police detective whose frightening dreams worked out his guilt and sins before he peacefully joined his late wife; and Jessica, a child dying of cancer whose mother’s deceased best friend, along with Jessica’s late black lab mix, visited and consoled her in her dreams. This comforting guide will reassure the dying and their loved ones while providing instructive portraits of end-of-life patients for those who work in medical and healing professions. (Feb.)