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Sensitive, Insightful Book I Read Today that Validated my experience of having lost a gay teacher

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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:52 PM
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Sensitive, Insightful Book I Read Today that Validated my experience of having lost a gay teacher
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 08:56 PM by Mike 03
AIDS in the mid80s.

This book meant a lot to me; so much so that I just ordered a few extra copies.

It is called "The Needs of the Dying" by David Kessler, who works for Hospice.

A few of the stories in this book really resonated with me so strongly; they involved his involvement with people dying of AIDS in the 80s, when there was such a secretiveness and shame about that.

These stories made me very sad, but at least it reminded me that those of us who cared for someone who had AIDS in those days were not alone in missing someone, or feeling extreme feelings of grief for not being able to say goodbye.

The story that haunts me the most is story that could have been about my favorite writing teacher, who just 'vanished'.

There is a person in this book who was dying of AIDS just at the time when my teacher would have been alive and quit teaching, who had NO ONE. He was dying alone. Even his parents disinherited him. So shameful. But this hospice worker found him on his death bed and would not permit anyone he ever found to die alone.

There is a part of me that hopes this person might have been my teacher. He lived in the same city, he was the same age, and this was the year my teacher "vanished."

But it's so very sad to me that anyone, any human being, had to experience such loneliness during death in those days when AIDS was poorly understood.

This book is awesome because there are so many stories. If you have lost a loved one or are worried that you will lose a loved one, this is the best book I have ever read. It is so comforting and validating.

I wish I could go back in time and say "goodbye" to my precious writing teacher. And to this day I feel so despondent that he died alone, rejected even by his own parents.

I wish I could properly articulate what this teacher meant to me, and how gifted he was. And how sad I am, all these years later, that I was unable to express my gratitude to him. The notion that he died alone horrifies me to this day.

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FreeState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 04:15 PM
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1. Thanks for the recommendation...
I have never heard of the book but its now on my Amazon wish list. :)

Editorial Reviews
"A Remarkably compassionate,uplifting book. We encourage all patients and their family and friends to read his words and thoughts." -- Ted Mann Cancer Center at UCLA

"David Kesslers work has made a significant contribution in helping us understand the needs of the dying." -- American Cancer Society

Product Description
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 communication with doctors, with hospital staff, and with each other, 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, including new accounts about Michael Landon and Anthony Perkins, he provides information to help us meet the needs of a loved one at this important time in our lives.
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