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On Children and Death [Format Kindle]

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Chapter 1

Letter to Bereaved Parents

My, Dear Friends,

This is a letter to you who are in the process of losing a child. We have accompanied and followed so many moms and dads on this difficult journey, and this book is about the concerns they expressed and the lessons we learned.

As your child gets weaker and closer to death, you will wonder how much a child should know about the possible terminal outcome of the illness. I say "possible" because I have witnessed many miracles.

All children know (not consciously, but intuitively) about the outcome of their illness. All little ones are aware (not on an intellectual, but on a spiritual level) if they are close to death. They will ask occasionally, "Mom, am I going to die?" Or if they sense that you are unable to talk or even think about it, older children will write a poem or a page in their diary about it. They may confide in a friend or a special person who is not necessarily a member of the family, and thus more able to hear their often symbolic language. If they have a roommate in the hospital or a playmate in the hospital playroom, they may share their knowledge with another sick child. Few grownups ever know how many secrets are shared in such a way.

Every person, big or small, needs one person in which to confide. Children often choose the least expected person: a nurse's aide, a cleaning woman, or at times a handicapped child who comes to visit them in a wheelchair. They have brief but deep talks together that adults would marvel at, and since they have gone through the windstorms of life at an early age, they know things that others of their age would not comprehend. Thus God who creates us all compensates the little ones as they fail physically. They become stronger in inner wisdom and intuitive knowledge.

They are aware of your pains and worries, your sleepless nights and concerns, and you should not hide them. Don't go into their room with a false "cheerful" smile. Children cannot be fooled. Don't lie to them that you just chopped some onions. How many onions are you going to cut? Tell them you are sad and sometimes feel so useless that you cannot help more. They will hold you in their little arms and feel good that they can help you by sharing comfort. Shared sorrow is much easier to bear than leaving them with feelings of guilt and fear that they are the cause of all your anxiety.

Should the siblings be involved and informed? Yes, every brother and sister of a critically ill child should become part of the care in one way or another. If the patient is at home, the brothers and sisters should be given specific tasks in the care of the sick one. They may be responsible for bringing the favorite dog in for regular visits after school. They may help to make yarn handicrafts (like "Eyes of God," a favorite pastime for children six years and up) when the patient's physical body gets too weak to play or do much. Siblings can take responsibility for running the tape recorder with favorite music, or they can serve one meal a day as long as the little patient can still eat.

Healthy children should not be made to feel guilty if they continue to laugh and giggle, to bring friends home or watch TV, go to a dance or a ball game, just as no mother should be discouraged from continuing to go to the hairdresser or the parents to an occasional bowling game or whatever they previously enjoyed.

The worst thing we can do to the terminally ill child and the rest of the family is to make a morgue out of the house while the child is still riving. Where there is laughter and joy, shared love, and little pleasures, the day-to-day difficulties are much easier to bear. If the little patient is overprotected, if every whim or desire is met, if everyone is expected to tiptoe around the house, the outcome is usually disastrous for the survivors.

When Bob was diagnosed as having cancer, every wish of his was met by parents who had much unresolved guilt and regret. The toys became more exclusive, expensive, and excessive. Bob obviously tested his parents and believed that he should get everything he could out of them. He barely played anymore but demanded more and more attention. He had never felt loved but he knew he could get material things "instead." Was it his punishment? His revenge for having been cheated out of the most necessary ingredient of life, the gift of unconditional love?

His brother Billy watched in amazement, and later with anger and envy, when his brother received literally everything he asked for. Famous athletes wrote to Bob and sent him autographed basketballs and baseballs. He was taken to Disneyland and to the Bahamas. He was flown to Tennessee to see the Grand Ole Opry and into the mountains of Colorado.

Billy began to resent his brother and started to test his parents himself. He asked for little things first, then bigger ones -- always with the same result. Father's answer was always a very angry, "No, you cannot have it. We can't afford it." When he questioned why his brother got everything, the answer was a stereotype: "Would you rather have cancer?" No, Billy would not like to have cancer. He would not like to have the bone marrow needles. He would not like to lose his hair. But what had one thing to do with the other?

Billy started to injure himself weekly, but no one paid attention to him. The parents were too preoccupied with his sick brother. When he asked for a sandwich for lunch, his mother snapped at him, "Can't you see I'm busy? Fix it yourself." Billy started to wet his bed and got a spanking for it. Later, a few months before his brother died, a teacher noticed that Billy was very cruel to a handicapped child who attended school in a wheelchair. But no one noticed it beyond that remark in his school files.

Billy took me to my car as I left my house call on my first visit to their home. As I opened the car door, I asked him to sit with me for a while and tell me how things were going for him. He looked surprised, "For me?"

"Yes, for you," I answered. "Such illnesses are much harder on the brothers and sisters than they are on the patient." He looked sadly at me and responded, "Do you know that I have asthma? But I guess that's not enough."

So it is important to remember to also be good to yourself and to the rest of the family. Continue to share among all of them, and do not overindulge the little patient: You only leave him with guilt and a negative feeling about his true worth. "Why is it that I never got these things, and now that I have cancer, everything is possible?"

A terminal illness usually costs a fortune, and even the best insurance may not cover all the costs. There are many foundations which may help in a variety of ways, but we have too often seen families who were left with bills for $100,000 or $200,000 after the death of a child. It would be far more meaningful if such family problems could be discussed at the dinner table, so the other brothers and sisters could share the concern and be able to offer voluntarily, and without pressure or guilt, to give up certain extra pleasures in order to contribute to the family's welfare. They would be left with a sense of importance and pride.

Many little brothers and sisters have also been taught how to give oxygen or how to gently suction their little patient so they can offer contributions to the care of the patient, giving them the same sense of self-esteem. Those children will not wish their brothers (or sisters) to die in order to bring some semblance of a family life back into their existence. Children (siblings) who make such remarks in a burst of anger should not be punished. They are voicing a cry for help before it is too late, and understanding adults should spend some time alone with them and let them ventilate their frustration, sense of unimportance, and feeling of neglect.

Someone, preferably a family member or close friend, should spend some extra time with such children, taking them to shop, to fish, to play, or to a ball game, not only for pleasure but for the feeling that somebody still cares for them "although they do not have cancer."

Children of all ages who have been included in the home care of a terminally ill child are not shocked and traumatized by the final sight of a cachetic sibling, sometimes with a blown-up abdomen and blue marks on hands and arms. They see the sick one with different eyes; they communicate on different levels. Such sights shock only those who have not been part of the daily care of the sick child, but those visitors naturally will need to be prepared and informed before they enter the sickroom.

When a child dies, it is important that the family be allowed to be alone with the child who is making the transition. All brothers and sisters, regardless of their age, should be allowed (but not forced) to participate in this final being together. Many families have used this time for singing the child's favorite song, for a joined prayer, or for simply holding each other in a circle of togetherness before outsiders are allowed to come in.

Make your final good-bye and then take time out to rock your child, to wash him yourself if you choose, to dress and carry him out to the car which will take the body to the mortuary or whatever place is indicated.

While many families express a wish to move soon after the death of a child, to get into another neighborhood "that does not remind us" of the tragedy or away from a streetcorner where the fatal accident occurred, this is not a healthy choice, and too many families have regretted such impulsive moves. To get beyond the pain, one must face and acknowledge it and move through the pain, rather than avoid it. Those who do fare much better in the long run and are able to face life's future windstorms without trying to run away from them.

To stay in the same home is also a blessing for the siblings, as their life has already been shaken up enough. They feel "in the way" during the last few weeks and months of the terminal illness of a s...

Revue de presse

Los Angeles Times Anyone who has experienced the loss of a child would do well to read On Children and Death... Uplifting and inspirational.


The Washington Post An excellent resource.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 4308 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 288 pages
  • Editeur : Scribner; Édition : Reprint (26 juillet 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0053GI8J6
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°142.587 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 superbe 26 janvier 2012
Par canaan
Format:Broché
c'est un très bon livre, elisabeth kübler ross que je suivais depuis des années, morte en 2004, ses livres restent des documents exceptionnelles, à conseiller
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  8 commentaires
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A stellar work in the area of child psychology and death, a gift for bereft parents. 23 août 2005
Par Christian Engler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The death of a child is a horrific and heartrending moment in a parent's life, a time where no words can be used, because it is totally inexpressible. Yet, somehow, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross does find the words, and she does so by doggedly and mercifully examining children and death. By her own direct involvement as a thanatologist as well as through a series of letters by bereaved parents who have lost children by way of terminal illness, sudden death, murder or suicide, they open their hearts, and in the process of doing so, they reveal psychological and religious elements of their children, premonitions and preparatory acts before acknowledged death to an acute maturity and understanding of themselves and their situations. A role inversion-depending on the age level-frequently happenes, whereby the little patient becomes the comforter for their family who must temporally remain behind in the "cocoon," a most comforting euphemism indeed. Read the story of "Edou" in the segment, The Spiritual Aspects of Work with Dying Children for specific clarity. But what Kubler-Ross stresses is communication, getting the feelings out, not immediately mollifying the topsy-turvey senses with instant self-medication, for more-often-than-not, that can only compound the psychological stresses that can easily fracture with devistating repercussions, as is illustrsted with the examples at the beginning of the book. Also addressed in conjunction with communication and open dialogue is family involvement with the dying process, letting the siblings be exposed to their older or younger brother/sister's dying, unless they make it concretely evident that they are not emotionally ready for that step, which is perfectly fine and understandable. It is about pacing, self-acceptance and sympathetic exposure to what is for most of us a mind-numbing experience. But it does not have to be that way. And Kubler-Ross cites numerous examples throughout On Children and Death, instancing how the funeral industry is evolving for the better as well as humanistic/ holistic expressions via arts, crafts and musical aid in smoothing the rough edges of suffering and self-created mental torment. Yes, grief and unbelieveable pain will exist, but it does not have to dominate, for God is certainly in the equation, for He knows all, sees all and feels all, and Kubler-Ross, wonderfully, blatantly, lets that be known, for as a friend contributed to this volume: "To me, religions are like the spokes on a wheel; they all lead to the hub--at-oneness with God (P. 204). How true! How true!
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 insightful 14 juillet 2009
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I was leery about reading a book dealing with children and death. This book was sensitive to the issue and the personal stories contained inside were tear jerkers. I found the book to be extremely appropriate to the issue of children and dying. I would recommend this book to anyone who may have to go through this issue.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Very helpful!! 5 février 2014
Par Bonnie L. Smith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book probably saved my life!! I read it over and over after my daughter died following a bone marrow transplant. Thank you Elisabeth Kubler-Ross!! I highly recommend it to anybody who has lost a child!!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the best books I've ever read 7 février 2014
Par Mina - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
One of the best books I've ever read, it's in my collection of favorites. So thankful for this book. I first read it because of working in hospice and caring for my own terminally ill son. - I've now sent it to other friends who have lost children (who also said the book was just perfect for them and they wished they "could copy and paste many portions" into their minds and hearts). Again, as with so many of Kubler-Ross' books it's healing, and just beautiful. So thankful for her and her work - I wish more people would get to know it.
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Not for me 22 juillet 2014
Par Sonja - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I recently lost my son and I did not find this book to be very helpful (although I'm not sure why), it just didn't speak to me. I will definitely try another book my this author as she comes highly recommended.
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