Lessons for the Living
Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life
By Stan Goldberg
(Trumpeter, Paperback, 9781590306765, 192pp.)
Publication Date: June 9, 2009
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When Stan Goldberg was diagnosed with cancer, he chose to face his fear by helping others who were already in the process of dying: Stan signed up as a hospice volunteer and spent several years at the bedsides of the terminally ill. In this book, Stan shares the remarkable stories of people he met who were facing the end of life. Their stories shine a light on the human capacity for beauty, insight, forgiveness, and gratitude, as we see how people like us deal with anxiety and sadness with bravery and love.
But what's especially remarkable is that the bravery and love aren't as much expressed in grand, dramatic gestures as they are in ordinary acts and small accomplishments: in simple efforts at kindness, in asking for and receiving forgiveness, in the abandonment of anger, and in learning to speak directly from the heart—and to listen in the same way. What Stan ultimately discovers—and shares here—are not lessons in dying, but rather, lessons in learning how to live.
Stan Goldberg, PhD, coaches individual and corporate clients in how to effect change more efficiently. He is also Professor Emeritus in Communicative Disorders at San Francisco State University. He has authored six technical books in that field.
He is an experienced public speaker and has published articles, poems, and plays addressing end-of-life issues. His three-act play, Choices, won first place in the 2007 Festival of New Work at the Oxford International Institute for Documentary and Drama in Conflict Transformation.
He is one of six essayists who were asked by NPR to read their “This I Believe” essay at a public gathering in 2007. He lives with his wife in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information about him, visit his website at <a href="http://www.stangoldbergwriter.com">www.stangoldbergwriter.com</a>.
“Lessons for the Living is that rare self-help book that actually lives up to its title. Engaging and enlightening, but never pedantic, Goldberg imparts basic life lessons on the importance of giving, communicating, loving, and forgiving. It took a lethal disease and time spent as a hospice volunteer caring for persons he came to know and love for Goldberg to learn these important truths. Unfortunately, many other persons do not learn them until the end of life approaches, if at all. Readers of Lessons for the Living are fortunate that Goldberg has learned and lived these lessons and can share them so ably.”—Sacramento Book Review
"This is not a book to be taken lightly, nor one to be read to pass a summer's day. This is one to read in order to change how you plan on living out the rest of your days. . . . You don't have to be dying from cancer to find this book valuable. You just have to be dying from lack of life."—MyShelf.com
“This book draws aside the veil of frightening taboos about death and dying. As Stan Goldberg faces his own cancer by comforting the terminally ill, his deeply personal journey is both an inspiration and a compassionate guide for others.”—Louise Branson, editorial writer for USA Today
“In this book, we learn what Stan Goldberg has learned about death’s many gifts, and a plain truth: living is not about triumphing over death; it is about embracing it. Despite all our efforts to avoid it, there is wisdom in death that deepens our life.”—Mark Trautwein, editor of KQED’s Perspectives
“Stan Goldberg’s compassionate look at being present with those who are dying gives us a rare glimpse into lessons learned by being a witness to—and fully engaged participant in—the end of life. This encouraging book shares insightful awareness that the end of life presents opportunities for emotional and spiritual growth for all of us on life’s journey.”—Mary Jo Gediman, outreach director of public radio’s This I Believe
“The greatest wisdom in this world comes from children and adults who are facing their own deaths. Stan Goldberg shares his own experience of mortality and the wisdom he gained from hospice patients in this remarkable book. I recommend it for anyone who hopes for connection and joy in this life.”—John Golenski, executive director, George Mark Children’s Hospice
“A wonderful, wise, and deeply personal book that brings you closer to the bone of life.”—Joan Halifax, author of Being With Dying