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INTRODUCTION

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Woody Allen said he didn’t mind the thought of dying; he just didn’t want to be there when it happened. You can put your hands down; most of us feel the same way.
Death frightens us and fascinates us, often in proportion to belief systems, set up through a lifetime of learning and societal input. But the basic fear of death is innate within us all. That fear helps to keep us alive. It makes us look before crossing the street.
Nevertheless, death stands silently in the corners of our lives, constant, yet ignored or forgotten. For most, death (and the act of dying) is a topic to be avoided. Many view death as an option, believing modern medicine to be capable of curing and fixing all. But when we defy death with erroneous attitudes, we also shun death by finding its mention impolite or too emotionally charged to be spoken of in public. Even in the privacy of our homes death is rarely discussed with any real degree of honesty. Yet everything dies. Every known living organism dies. Mountain ranges, rivers, stars, even galaxies die. As with life, death is a natural process inherent within our universe.
Death is a deep and amazing subject surrounded by fascinating experiences and meaningful moments that touch and affect our lives. Death is also a powerful, emotional teacher that often pushes us through knotholes none would approach on his own volition. In this book, I will attempt to take you through many such narrow spaces to the serenity and understanding that lies beyond. It is not an easy ride but worth the trip.
PASSINGS is not laid out in a preplanned, formulaic fashion so as to take the reader from part A to part B and so on. Rather, it is life as lived in its rawest form. There are no false punches or platitudes within.
PASSINGS approaches W.C. Field’s “man in the long white nightgown” in the order directed by the Queen of Hearts: "Start at the beginning, go to the end, then stop." And so it is that the multiple deaths detailed in PASSINGS are presented in chronological order. A benefit arises from this in that PASSINGS takes readers back to their childhood, to the time when they first perceived death and reconciled its seeming finality in accordance with perceptions elicited by the experience and the beliefs of their society. After crawling through early memories, pondering wondrous things and examining what science can tell us, the reader can stand and walk with less trepidation through the book’s often difficult labyrinth.
If my story were simply to let you know and understand more about death, the many forms it takes and the complexities of healing, I would have quite a tale to tell, but woven within the threads of every death were anomalous occurrences that my pragmatic, science-loving brain couldn’t explain. And so my quest was set.
Science, with its logical, narrow paradigm, is totally incapable of looking into dimensions that appear to be contrary to the three known dimensions of our world and the fourth dimension, time, which fills the imaginations of our minds . . . and that’s all right. As far as we’ve come, we still have a long way to go. So it is that PASSINGS explores many deaths, intense human emotions and mind-bending occurrences universally experienced in proximity to death, all encompassed within a cocoon of research.
The phenomena that accompany the deaths herein work to form a braided backbone for PASSINGS. As the book progresses, similarities, as well as differences, are uncovered. With science, medical data and research offering explanation and posing questions, death and its attendants are explored from every possible angle. Throughout, PASSINGS flows on an undercurrent of love. Because we love, we care, and because we care, we grieve. Fortunately, we possess qualities that bring us through. We are survivors. PASSINGS illuminates this global truth.
—CAROLE  A. TRAVIS-HENIKOFF

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