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Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We're Nearing Death

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Its very beautiful over there.
final words of inventor Thomas Edison

A persons last words often take on an eerie significance, giving tantalizing clues about the ultimate fate of the human soul. Until now, however, no author has systematically studied end-of-life communication by using examples from ordinary people. When her father became terminally ill with cancer, author
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Paperback, 225 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by New World Library
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Nikki ღ Navareus
This book was goosebumpy. The good kind! Insight into the magic of death bed experiences. I adored all the stories in this book!
Story Circle Book Reviews
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"As we bear witness to the language of the dying, we are invited to journey with our beloveds into new territory," Lisa Smartt writes in her fascinating, heart-opening book.

As her father was dying and in informal studies following his death, Smart observed that there was a change in language that wasn't "nonsense" but rather a "process of developing a new sense." Through her own research and other studies she has read, it's possible, she writes, "that as we die we move away from our usual
...more
Sue Ronnenkamp
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lisa did a beautiful job with this book and with telling the stories and experiences of so many - including a few of mine. Delving into the words of the dying with linguistic understanding and skills may also expand our communication with those with dementia and other types of cognitive impairment. Yes, there's so much to learn and wide open frontiers yet to explore.
Gina
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short but fascinating look at patterns in the last things that people say. It makes one look differently at metaphor and nonsense.

A lot to think about here.
Agnes
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
It's an interesting book, but very general in terms of scope and depth.
Also quite repetitive, could have been made of fewer pages
Quinn Fairfeldt
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This book deserves accolades for a novel subject, last words as seen from a linguists perspective. I would probably lean towards 3.5 stars if that was an available rating on here. That said, the book felt a bit thin and repetitive in areas, and was very vague on its spirituality. Still, the words compiled by the author, and her investigation of themes and metaphors, was endlessly fascinating for anyone interested in thanatology.
C Blake
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We lost our beloved 27 year old daughter to death almost 7 years ago. I was not raised in an overly religious home and had no clear feelings about an afterlife and had never had even a single experience of what could be termed supernatural or spiritual in nature. Our entire family began to experience some beautiful, inexplicable things immediately after her death and it was these small gestures that helped us all to survive this tragedy. Ive read nearly every book out there related to these ...more
Becky Bright
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was not at all what I expected but exactly what I needed. If you are expecting to hear witty last word quips this is not for you. The author delves into the often complex reasons for our end of life utterances, focusing heavily on linguistics, psychology, and personal experience to explain many of the most common themes behind last words. Masterfully and thoughtfully written.
T Love
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yes, its hard to believe a book written about final words uttered by those transitioning from this life could possibly be described as uplifting. I know that, but it is a most accurate description, for me. If you are skeptical at all, this research will hopefully provide you validation that there is more than just this physical life. If youre a staunch advocate that our life doesnt end but rather transitions us to a new realm youll truly enjoy this book. You will find comfort, peace, and youll ...more
Walkandread
Feb 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Entirely anecdotal and suppositional. Smartt attempts to weave coherence from random brain activity. No scientific process. Ignorant statements abound. High ratings from those who want to believe. Smartt insinuates a Berkeley Ph.D. but rather a MA from Community Colleges.
G. Lyons
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I first heard of this book and the Final Words Project when the author was interviewed on Beyond Reality Radio. That was months ago, and her interview stuck with me. This book is an important step in a seldom heard-of research: linguistics at the end-of-life. Though at times the structure of the book may feel a little unwieldy, I believe that's only due to the fact that so little has been written or explored on the subject. I am eager to investigate some other authors and researchers mentioned ...more
Eben
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it

Words at the Threshold is a treasure trove of experience and insight around the last words spoken by the dying, as revealed through the mind of a professional linguist, offering that birth and death are different facets of the same process, that both are essential in the cycle of life, and that our soul connections do not end with death. The words of the dying provide some of the most salient clues as to how we can best live our lives on earth.
Thomson
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
The source material (a corpus of people's final or near-final words, as reported by loved ones and compiled by the author) is rich, but the author's commentary felt kind of like a New Age spirituality slurry. I myself enjoy some "woo" from time to time, but the interpolated life-after-death narrative was really a bit much.

However, as someone interested in unusual mental states, it was very intriguing to view people's final words as indicative of the ongoing shift in consciousness (which dying
...more
Dewin Anguas Barnette
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. While it was somewhat repetitive at times and touched on a lot of things I was already aware of from reading Dr. Moody's work, among others, it did introduce me to some new aspects of the dying process, which I was excited to learn about. I did appreciate the linguistic background she brought to the topic, but I wish she had used it more throughout the book. But, overall, it was an interesting read, and I definitely came away from it more knowledgeable than I had been ...more
Joseph
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Books on spirituality and particularly the afterlife are one of my go-to subjects for books. However, this is the first I've seen on this subject. The subject is fascinating and the book well done. I look forward to more in this area.
Laureen Nowakowski
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book because the title was so intriguing. I thought it was a little dry but I plowed through it. There was some very interesting information, and maybe some of it was over my head. My favorite chapter was the last one - Ill Call You When I Get There. ...more
JERI B GROVES
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enlightening

There was a little repetition which I found confusing, but it was interesting to see the many similarities of experience among the dying.
Kim
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
End of life and the language spoken.
written by a linquist from uc Berkeley.
Jan might be interested in this book.
Cindy
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an interesting catalogue and examination of what people say in the time leading up to their death.
Deb
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting,
Licking County Library
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: staff-picks
Recommended by Kristine, Main Library Adult Services Department, Four Stars, July 2017.
Karen
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
If you can read this with an open mind, you can gain peace to help you in your grief, or as you approach your own death.
Dominic Wong
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book...one can only find out if it's true when he gets there.
Max
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Due a reread. A well put together compilation of subject matter. Not a coffee table book but one to contemplate and relate. Get it, read it, help someone pass over and send yourself off when the time comes.
Tristy at New World Library
Endorsements:
Words at the Threshold is a major breakthrough in the study of death and dying. Lisa Smartts fascinating research on final words may well open a window onto the afterlife.
Raymond A. Moody Jr., MD, PhD, author of the bestselling Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon - Survival of Bodily DeathLife After Life
...more
Alisyn
rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2019
Marlou
rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2019
Ingrid Papageorge
rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2018
Michael A. Quinn
rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2018
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