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Click cover to enlarge!
Praise from Readers in the Field. . .
Urgent Whispers:
Care of the Dying
by Jerral Sapienza

ISBN: 0-9717107-0-8 (paper)     4" x 7"   152p
ISBN: 0-9717107-5-9 (coil)       4" x 7"   152p
$14.95 US ; $23.95 Can


July 2002 Review by Paul Metzler, Assoc of Death Education & Counselors' The Forum
7/21/2002 Review by Dan Hays in Salem (Oregon) Statesman-Journal
6/14/2002 Event review Fort Collins (Colorado) Coloradoan
5/31/2002 Review by Karen Cotton in Cheyenne (Wyoming) Tribune Eagle

See also OnLine Reviews from Web Reviewers

  • Senior Connection Magazine   Spring 2004
    Waukesha County Department of Senior Services
    Waukesha, Wisconsin

    Mr. Sapienza has masterfully captured the essence of meaning and beauty of the death process. Who knew that death could be such a rewarding experience? In giving care and/or assisting a loved one at the end of life, Mr. Sapienza illustrates how family or friends can enrich the end of life for the dying as well as add purpose and hope for those still living.

    Mr. Sapienza enlightens his readers to be present in the here and now. The truth that so many of us fail to see, is that the dying aren't yet dead, therefore they still ARE wonderful people. Crying and grieving before they depart wastes energy and takes the focus away from the person who is dying and needs loved ones present.

    Urgent Whispers is a must read. If we as a society want to learn how to enrich our lives, our relationships, businesses, etc, why then, should we not take our desire to grow and be better persons in the arena of death as well? After all, death is something that will enevitably touch us all. Why not make it better, too?


  • Hospice Program Manager

    I have seen lots of books that are supposed to help people understand how to be with a dying loved one, cope with death or get through the grieving process. This is definitely one of the few best! I think it does an exceptional job of advocating for the needs of the dying person as well as preparing / supporting the "helper" in a gentle and reassuring way. I think it has a broad application for the general public as well as for training or sensitizing professional caregivers-- nurses, aides, parish nurses, clergy and others.

    Excerpted from April 2003 issue of "Hospice Alert", the monthly newsletter of Hospice Minnesota, disseminated to 70 member hospice programs and 30+ non-hospice organization and individual members:

    Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying by Jerral Sapienza. Published by LLX Press 2002, $14.95 (paper and spiral bound) Available through bookstores or http://WWW.Bardo.ORG/UW/ ( I recommend the spiral-bound version; it lies flat and would be much easier to use as a journal. )

    This is written as a "personal reference manual for friends and family assisting a loved one at the end of life," but could also be used in orientation and training of hospice volunteers and staff. The author includes a comprehensive introducation that explains the book's content and format and how to get the most out of reading it. Each section has questions to prompt relfection and space for writing responses.

    The body of the book, and its real gift, consists of 52 "whispers", most written as if spoken by the dying person, about how to be with a loved one who is dying and how to take care of yourself in the process. Hospice veterans will recognize the wisdom in these whispers, but most people don't know how to be with someone who is dying. That's why this is such a valuable little book!

    	-- Fran Conklin
    	Program Manager
    	Hospice of Minnesota
    


  • Loving Wife and Mother

    I can't thank you enough for writing this lovely little book. It has been a true friend and companion to me this last few months during the death of my husband. My kids bought several copies because when we loaned one out it had a habit of not wanting to come back. Folks find so much comfort in the pages of your dear book that even our priest is in awe of your words. I am enclosing a little gift now, and rest assured, you will be hearing from me again: I am remembering you in my will! I Thank You, Chaplain Jerral, most sincerely for your gift to the world. You are blessed.

             -- Barbara Kerlick
            Loving Wife and Mother
    


  • Family Practice Clinician / Friend and Family Caregiver

    I purchased Urgent Whispers at a time I felt I really needed it. It was a huge help to me, as I was working and caring for an elderly couple the last few years. As it turned out, the wife died the same day I received the book in the mail. Just 45 days later, her husband died. I spent a lot of time through the summer with my friends, after they had both gone to a nursing home. As I had never experienced the failing health and impending death of someone I grew to love so much, I really appreciated the wisdom and comfort I got from your book. I read it all, then went back and journaled my experiences. I realized this week, that I had not finished journaling, so I completed it last night. It was painful reliving those last days with my friends.

    But your words were so accurate it was amazing. As painful as it was for me to lose my friends, I have completely changed my own direction in life, and I am now employed full time at a family practice clinic where about one third of the patients are elderly.

    I can now better deal with the deaths of those I have gotten to know, glad that their suffering is over and that they are with their loved ones who have gone before them. I never thought I could ever cope with watching my friends die, but I am so grateful that I was there for them, and I know they were glad I was there with them.

    Thank you for providing me with the tools to get through that difficult time.

             -- June Spencer
    	 Family Practice Clinician
    
    


  • RN, Volunteer Coodinator for Hospice Program

    Thank you for writing the book. It is unfortunate that our culture has forgotten how to sit vigil. Your book is a skillful teaching tool to help individuals re-learn. I've no doubt it will be useful for many people.

    	-- Wendy Jenner, RN CHPN
            Hospice Volunteer Coordinator
    


  • Church Congregational Care Director

    Your book was received well here - everyone that has a copy and everyone that attended our Continuing Education classes where your book was used enjoyed it, thought it was quite insightful and obviously written from the point of view of a person who had been there.
    We have had so many different kinds of responses, but the one common thread is that the classes and your book have given people a greater insight into the dying process. In fact, it has made some people think about their own death in a whole different way. It has been a very effective and uplifting experience.

    The instructor originally had a lesson plan but after beginning the class, he just let the class go at its own pace. There are some times that they spend the whole time period (2-1/2 hours) on a single page of the book!

    There has been some incredible discussion - thought provoking ideas shared, life/death experiences shared, that type of thing. It will probably take several more months just to get through the book the first time since this class only meets on a monthly basis.

    Keep pursuing your dream - you are gifted...

    Blessings, and Keep up the good work!     --NK

    	-- Nadine Korhonen
    	Congregational Care Director
    


  • Senior Social Services Director

    It's about time that someone in Western society breech the taboo related to death and dying. Death isn't a fun subject, by any means, but it is something that all of us will experience. Like it or not, no one can escape losing a loved one and certainly we all have to die, at some point, ourselves.

    Mr. Sapienza has masterfully captured the essence of meaning and beauty of the death process. Who knew that death could be such a rewarding experience? In giving care and/or assisting a loved one at the end of life, Mr. Sapienza illustrates how family or friends can enrich the end of life for the dying as well as add purpose and hope for those still living.

    Working in a nursing home, I've seen many people die. I've seen family members grieving the loss before their loved on is even gone. I've seen family members unwittingly talk about what a wonderful person WAS. Mr. Sapienza enlightens his readers to be present in the here and now. The truth that so many of us fail to see, is that the dying aren't yet dead, therefore they still ARE wonderful people. Crying and grieving before they depart wastes energy and takes the focus away from the person who is dying and needs loved ones present.

    It's not that the author is pointing out what we do wrong in assisting loved ones at the end of life; quite the contrary. Mr. Sapienza has a wealth of experience and compassion that he is sharing to our culture in collectively teaching us how to better care for those we love in their final time of need. I have lost loved ones, but failed to be present for them in an altruistic capacity, simply because I didn't know how. I wish I had known how to be present for them, rather than focusing on my impending loss. All that accomplished was to rob the dying and myself of endearing, special moments that could have added so much meaning to process of dying.

    We cannot implement what we do not know. In this age of self help gurus sharing their wisdom with the masses, Urgent Whispers is a must read. If we as a society want to learn how to enrich our lives, our relationships, businesses, etc, why then, should we not take our desire to grow and be better persons in the arena of death as well? Afterall, death is something that will enevitably touch us all. Why not make it better, too?

    Urgent Whispers is well written and breaks the barrier of fear to unfold a compassionate look at death. Fear breeds ignorance. This book takes the reader beyond the unpleasant and scary thoughts commonly associated with death to reveal a fresh approach in helping our loved ones make the transition to the other side.

    I cannot praise this author enough for giving the world such a useful, wonderful tool. Everyone who reads this book will be a better person for it. I can only hope that the persons who will care for me, when my time comes, will have read this book and will follow it closely. Kudos to Mr. Sapienza and thank you for the epiphany. I hope that everyone who reads your book wil gain as much insight as you have given me.

    	-- Machelle Scully, Social Services Director
    	The Peaks Senior Living and Wellness Center
    		


  • Thanatology Student and Hospice Volunteer

    I very much enjoyed reading Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying as it deals with the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of death and dying for both the caregiver and the dying. The sacredness of dying is what is encompassed within the pages of this book. The interrelatedness/ closeness of the caregiver and the dying person is beautifully articulated reinforcing the issue that the caregiver's level of development regarding death and dying and ability to stay centered and focused on the needs of the dying becomes a fundamental and core component of effective care giving.

    A couple of items which stand out for me include:

  • The concept of being with the person but not demanding that they be with you. It was brought forth around the issue of touch but really underlies the whole concept of effective care giving.
  • Another that bears emphasizing is that this is a person with a whole life history behind them that is dying---not just the "fragment" you now find before you. How true. This is a person, a human being, and a "temple" housing a spirit---not a disease, an illness, or an interesting medical specimen. Again, one is there to witness the spirit's release from the body and to assist in ways that will comfort and ease the fears that often arise during this transition.

  • These (and others noted by Sapienza) reinforce my thought of the need for the caregiver to just be present with one's whole loving, compassionate self (mind, body and spirit) flowing with the needs of the individual without letting a personal agenda get in the way.
    	-- Linda Rovai, Student
            Thanatology Vocational Certificate program
            World University at Ojai
    		


  • ER / ICU Nurse & Conscious Dying Practioner

    If I had never been at the bedside of a dying person and was committing to stay there through their moment of death, Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying is the bittersweet guide that I would want as a map to guide me. It is a primer on basic ABC feelings and reactions for both the dying and the person sitting through a vigil of death. It is uplifting and soothing and answers those questions anyone would have at this time. The book is a source of comfort because you have a guide in the "doing." People need to know they can "do" something.

    What I like about the book is its basis of truth and reality for the first time experiencer. A common, all too sad fact in our day and age, we collectively as a world and nation know so little about the dying experience. This book is so helpful for this person and can also refresh the experienced person to grow and appreciate the basic uniqueness of each death experience. All the basic questions families, friends and lovers ask are answered. It opens the door for more to come after that if the family/friend is able to run that course.

    I promise you: the Book will be picked up and read later. Maybe not in a week or a month or even three months or six months. But it will be reread. Bereavement done healthfully is a re-membering to gain functional integrity. The Book plays a significant role in this. The griever is the lover, lovers are grievers/grievers are lovers, and going over the same stuff is part of the process of their healing. Urgent Whispers is SO FINE FOR THAT!

    	-- Mary Helen Madrid-Null RN, CCRN, MA.  
    	Director, Founder The Mary Helen Madrid Institute
    	and NOT ALONE Bereavement Support Services
    	30+ years now in Concsious Dying, ICU / ER.
    


  • Midwife & Hospice Volunteer

    URGENT WHISPERS is a profound guide for those entering the new territory of "sitting with death." Poetic and insightful, it leads the reader through the natural progressions of discomfort and fear-- that stage of not knowing how to help-- to saying good-bye, letting go, and looking honestly at our own mortality. Jerral Sapienza adds further depth by including thought-provoking questions to assist the reader in processing his or her own responses to the dying of a friend or loved one.

    	-- Natasha Beauchamp  
    	Professional Midwife and 
    	Hospice CareGiver


  • Hospice Volunteer and Partners to Improve End-of-Life Care Volunteer

    As a hospice volunteer, I've had the privilege and honor to sit with people who are dying. With each person, I've felt blessed as they shared their life stories and whispers with me as they lived their dying.

    Reading Jerral Sapienza's Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying allowed me to revisit the thoughts and feelings of people during the last months, days, and hours of their lives. Many of his whispers were words I heard directly from the dying while even more were unspoken messages I sensed during my visits. Each whisper and Jerral's discussion of their message to caregivers offers a clear pathway to "just being present in the process". By reflecting on the questions provided with each whisper, you can interact with the message to awaken your heart and mind to a fuller understanding of death and dying.

    As you embrace the lessons of Urgent Whispers, every experience you have while sitting with someone who is dying will be more peaceful, caring, and loving -- allowing the person to die their death with reverance for the life they lived. Most certainly, it will change the way you view death and perhaps, even the way you live the rest of your life.

    	-- Todd Peterson
    	Hospice Volunteer &
    	Partners to Improve End-of-Life Care Volunteer
    


  • Counseling Psychologist

    What a blessing: Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying. How often I listen together with patients who are facing their own death or the death of someone close to them. When I do, Jerral Sapienza's book is in my heart and on my mind, always close. Jerral provides a guide for how to navigate when we might otherwise be lost.

    Reading his words is like listening to him talk: clear, quiet, and compassionate. I refer to his book for help when I need it and I refer patients to his book when I know they need to be with the best guide, for the clarity they deserve when death is near. Reading Jerral's book is like having a good friend near. Jerral's work is wonderful.

    	-- Scott Pengelly, Ph.D.
    	Psychologist


  • General Practioner Nurse

    Urgent Whispers is a book I wish had been included in my nursing school training on dealing with death. The sensitivity with which Jerral Sapienza confronts both the needs of the dying person and the care giver offer many points to ponder for those who deal with these people.

    Jerral's spiritual, yet non denominational view point should make it acceptable to people of any faith, as well as to those who have no specific dogma. It is easy to read, yet profound. I highly recommend it to anyone in search of guidance toward the final journey.

    	-- Carolyn Janecek, RN 


  • Physician and Surgeon

    Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying written by Jerral Sapienza, is an eloquent dissertation on death and dying. As a physician, I have been exposed to patients dying, but Jerral's perspective expressed in Urgent Whispers added a new dimension to this subject for me. I had, perhaps like many others, often considered death as "something out there" that happened to others but never really took my own mortality all that seriously. Not only did I find that Urgent Whispers provided a sensitive, compassionate guide for attending someone dying, but it also stimualted in me an introspection on how death and dying are an integral part of my daily life.

    Jerral has obviously had significant personal experience with death and dying, as well as studying the subect extensively. Urgent Whispers is an incredible, concisely composed discussion which I found invaluable. I highly recommend it.

    	-- Stan L. James, MD
    


  • School of Nursing Staff

    Having just finished reading URGENT WHISPERS I must say: I LOVED it. I love the concept and the format. It makes good sense that Jerral Sapienza would be the one to do this: his clear connection with Spirit is strong and present throughout this powerful little book. The "whisper and reply" concept is a great medium to reach a person who is going through this kind of a process with a loved one dying. Fabulous tool which I am sure will be readily and easily received.

    	-- Patricia Simpson  
    	Staff Writer/Editor, 
    	UW School of Nursing

  • See also OnLine Reviews from Web Reviewers

    Ordering Your Copy:
    Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying is available in two binding styles:
          ISBN: 0-9717107-0-8: (Standard Paperback version 4" x 7" 152p)
          ISBN: 0-9717107-5-9 Coil Bound (Spiral paperback version 4" x 7" 152p)
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