lived for more than a year." As a result
of this woman's experience, Dr. Kubler-
Ross studied hundreds of cases of individuals who had actually been declared
dead and survived. In each case, she
found that the dying person was very
much aware of leaving the body.
"The only thing you lose when you
die is something you don't need anymore—your physical body " concludes
Dr. Kubler-Ross. "Dying is simply a
transition into a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, to be
able to grow. Not one of my patients
who's had this experience was ever again
afraid to die."
That is not to say, however, that
death is not a frightening experience
for those who have never had the experience of dying. Dr. Kubler-Ross
places the blame for this situation on
our society's withdrawal from death.
She feels that the entire experience
should be communicated openly. "Hospitals should open their doors to visiting
children; children should visit their
relatives in nursing homes. Even if they're
never told, children know when a parent
or brother or sister is dying. They need
to talk to them. Visits from children
also bring relief to the dying. It gives
them inner peace instead of chemical
Indeed, Dr. Kubler-Ross is concerned
about children and death. And her observations about children can well be
applied to those of all ages who are dealing with death.
"I take all my patients home to die,"
she declares. "Most of my patients are
children. I put their bed by the biggest
window in the house. Often it's in a front
room, and there the child has lots of
communication. All children are afraid
to be alone and the dying child especially
Dr. Kubler-Ross spoke of one little
girl, close to dying, who had a very
loving and cooperative family. There was
some reason, however, that she was not
ready to die. According to Dr. Kubler-
Ross, "She was a very bright student. She
loved school, and she finally admitted
that not being able to return to school
that year was painful. She felt God was
mad at her, that she had somehow failed
to please God. I asked her if her teacher
ever gave students especially hard assignments. She replied that the teacher
only gave hard assignments to the very
best students, and she was one of those
students. I asked her then if she thought
her illness was a hard assignment, and she
was able to reply with a smile that she
thought it was one of the hardest anybody ever had. Very soon after that
conversation the little girl died peacefully. Communication was the key that
unlocked her feelings of guilt."
Communication was apparently rare
in Dr. Kubler-Ross' childhood. As she
tells it, "My parents wanted a beautiful
10-pound baby. They certainly didn't
expect triplets, but triplets they got.
At two pounds, I had to be a disappointment to them. Since the other
two were so much larger, they commanded a great deal more of our parents'
respect and attention. I found myself
the 'odd child out'."
To compensate for her lack of parental
comfort, Kubler-Ross turned to her pet
rabbits. They became the objects of her
love and concern. It was through these
pets that she learned her first lessons
about death. Her pets were butchered
for food for the family, and Kubler-Ross
experienced the loss firsthand.
There were other episodes in her life
that made death a reality to her. She
relates her experiences this way, "When
World War II was over, I wanted to do
something for this world. I promised
myself that I would walk all the way to
Poland and Russia and start first aid
stations. I kept that promise. That is
where I think this work on death and
dying began. I personally saw the concentration camps. I saw the trainloads of
baby shoes and trainloads of human
hair from concentration camp victims
going to Germany to make pillows."
It was such experiences that led
Dr. Kubler-Ross to form her own opinions about human suffering. "We only
call it 'stages of dying' for lack of a
better term. If you lose a job or a loved
one or have to move away from where
you've always lived, or lose a pet or even
a contact lens—all these are stages of
dying. This is the meaning of suffering."
And suffering is the very thing that
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has helped to
alleviate in the world today.
Berkeley women's music collective
Tryin' To Survive
We are pleased to announce the
release of our second album available
through Olivia Records, 2662 Harrison,
Oakland, CA 94612. For one album
send $6.00 plus $1.00 for mailing. For
more than one album, mailing fee is
10% of total record cost.
LIFE INSURANCE OPPORTUNITY
Major property-casualty insurance company staffing Woodlands office
in early 1979, requires experienced life sales supervisor to call on
independent agents in a number of Houston suburbs. Salary bonus,
company car, expence account. Mail confidential resume to:
ROBERT O. FELKER, CLU
P.O. Box 2786
Houston, Texas 77001
An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F
The car that deserves
a second glance.
At first glance, you might think an Avis Sale Car is a new car.
But it's a young used car, a year old or so. Maintained under
Avis' Car Care Program and Quality Assurance Inspection as a
Rent-A-Car. And we've even added a limited powertrain
warranty. So remember: Avis sells used cars — kept young by
Avis Car Care Maintenance.
WE TRY HARDER
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Over 30 \/ears experience
New Roofs Installed
Leaky Roofs Repaired
or leave message at 644-4759
Will hire and train roofers
Art & Donna V. Adair announce the formation of
THE WRITING COMPANY
serving the writing and editing
needs of business and industry
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For the Finest in Classic Guitars,
Guitar Instruction, and Music
and Accessories for the
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DECEMBER/JANUARY 1979 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH