Sunday Book Review – On Life After Death -Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Since my husband’s illness, and consequently, his passing, I’ve found it difficult to read books with my lack of concentration as my mind drifts back and forth to grief. So I’ve found that reading books on the topic of grief are somewhat comforting because I can identify well with that topic that I’m living daily. And hey, if there’s something that is going to teach me how to roll with the waves, I’ll take all the help I can get.

This week’s book is, On Life After Death by Dr. Elisabeth Kuber-Ross who is well known for her books on grief, dying and afterlife.




A collection of inspiring essays with frank and compassionate advice for those dealing with terminal illness or the death of a loved one, from the pioneering author of On Death and Dying and On Grief and Grieving

As a pioneer of the hospice movement, Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was one of the first scholars to frankly discuss our relationship with death. By introducing the concept of the five stages of dying, her work has informed the lives of countless people as they face the grieving process. This classic collection of four essays—based on Dr. Kubler-Ross’s studies of more than twenty thousand people who had near-death experiences—illuminates her sensitive, original, and even controversial findings on death, dying, and the afterlife.

Now with a new foreword from Caroline Myss offering a personal perspective on Dr. Kübler-Ross, On Life After Death presents writings that challenge and encourage us to approach the end of life not with trepidation, but with clear-eyed, compassionate love.


My 5 Star Review:

Four inspirational essays on death and dying by Dr. Ross who was considered a pioneer of the hospice movement. Dr. Ross studied over 20,000 cases of people who faced near-death experiences and came back to tell, participating in as witness, and in these stories she shares her discoveries. She describes the stages of a person’s passing as they walk through the light and the deceased begins to play a whole movie reel of their entire life as they transcend.

Ross says, ‘It’s a blessing to be able to sit at the bedside of a dying person.” Personally, I’m no amateur at this as I’ve been to my share of beloved bedsides, including, recently, my own husband’s. I’m not sure if the blessing is for the one leaving our world because the only blessing I felt was that he was no longer suffering, but the aftermath of me and my loss certainly doesn’t feel like a blessing.

We are told that when the person is passing on their guardian angels, guides and past love ones are greeting  them to help with the transition. Dr. Ross said these events have been verified by her as a scientist. “There will always be someone there to guide the leaving soul to transcend.”

One example of watching a near death event, Dr. Ross watched a blind girl slip away. She came back to the land of the living and explained that she watched from above the doctors bringing her back to life. She explained that she saw everything from above, told Dr. Ross of the colors of clothing people were wearing in the room. She was spot on. When she returned to the land of living, so did her blindness.

I think we are all curious to know what really goes on in the other side after life on earth, and we have much to learn from those who’ve been to the precipice between two worlds, yet somehow made it back to the land of the living. This is a short book with stories of people Dr. Ross has witnessed their near death experiences, which she shares openly. There are no big jargony medical words or terms to navigate, merely stories of survivors who came back to tell.

Poignant Quotes:

“Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding the cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh and to grow.”

“Everything can be bearable when there was LOVE.”

“…dying is only a transition to a different form of life.”





48 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – On Life After Death -Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

  1. I totally believe there is an afterlife, as I’ve had proof of it too. I am glad this book has given you comfort, Debby. I once read there are several stages of grief, from denial and anger at first, through to depression and then eventually acceptance. All of us make the same journey in our own time. x


    1. Thank you for affirming with your own situation Stevie. Funny you mention the 5 stages – as my next article going out at Sally’s Blog Magazine refers to these 5 stages of grief. ❤


  2. Debby, your strength and courage has me in awe and I’m gladdened for see you back here, sharing books which understandably touch your deeply. The story of the blind girl is one i readily believe as my mother died for a fraction giving birth to me, she could see from above the chaos below as they tried to save her and me and recalled the moment a doctor pushed a nurse strongly to the side. The doctor was later shocked and aghast how my mother had seen this as her heart had stopped!

    My dear friend, be kind to yourself. Thinking of your very much in these most impossible days. Hugs winging their way to you. Xx


    1. Annika, thank you so much for visiting and sharing a piece of yourself too. These stories really help me put some things in a better light. ❤ xx


  3. It sounds like a fascinating book Debby and one that will bring comfort as well as provide a different perspective to the doom and gloom offered by so many as to the afterlife.

    I had a profound experience when I went in to anaphylactic shock after meeting a nest of fire ants and I found myself looking down on the team in the emergency room as they fought to revive me.. I remember thinking how hard they worked on a stranger brought in wearing a bathing suit straight from the hot tub with no documents to prove I had insurance. It changed my perspective on death and when I was with both my parents I was able to reassure them that as I held their hand, there would be someone on take the other when they passed.

    This is so raw for you and thank you for sharing your experience which is so meaningful for those who have experienced grief, and those who know at some point they will too. Part of life and the price of loving..

    love and hugs ♥


    1. Sal, thank you for sharing your own ‘out of body’ experience. I remember clearly reading about your ‘fire ant’ encounter. Yes, I need these books right now, and I will continue to read until I’m ready to go back to fiction. There is a small comfort for me. ❤ xx


  4. Hi Debby – I can totally understand your perspective on life right now … and Kubler-Ross’ books have been standbys for many … and as you mention it’s the right time for you to read her and appreciate her thoughts and understanding of being with many who are on their way to a new world. With thoughts for you to be peaceful at the moment … and all the very best – Hilary


  5. Way back in the day when I attended college, I took a class called “Death and Dying.” The main text that we used in the class was one of Kubler Ross’s books. I remember that she dealt with a subject that few people like to think about in a caring and sensitive manner.


    1. No doubts Pete. She was an amazing woman. I have a few of her books now, as well as as few others on the topic. Of course, I’ll be reviewing as I read them. ❤


  6. Thank you for sharing about this book, Debby. It is good to know where to look of help and advice when you need it. Thinking of you.


  7. I’ve heard of this book but haven’t read it as of yet. This sounds absolutely intriguing, Deb. Also, I can see how it would provide some comfort for you at this time. Thank you for sharing your review. I totally believe that spirits of our loved ones already gone will be there to greet and guide us when we transform into the next phase. The quote is wonderful!


  8. Sis, there is so much to be said about the afterlife. Have you read the Bardo? This is the Tibetian view of reincarnation which you know is part of my belief system. This sounds like a brilliant read. I know reading these types of books will help you cope. I’m always there for you. Love and hugs. ❤


  9. Beautiful. 💗 I’ve heard of this book and know the author but will add this to my list ASAP. Think of you often. 💗


  10. Intereesting. I remember once reading that the dead can communicate through electricity. When my sister died, we were told to leave her bedside and wait in one of the hospital’s waiting rooms while they prepared her body for viewing.
    As we sat there in silence the lights, only in that room, turned on and off. It felt as if my sister was in the room.
    May your readings, Debby, bring you the comfort you need at this time. xxx


    1. Thanks so much Carol for sharing that about your sister and the electricity thing. Spirit is energy so it’s no surprise it plays with electrical things. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your good wishes. Yes, these kinds of books are helping me stay grounded. Hugs xxx


  11. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is the perfect read for this turbulent time in your life. Her thoughts are authentic and stabilizing. I am absolutely certain of a life after this one. As Scripture affirms and Emily Dickenson echoes:
    This World is not Conclusion.
    A Species stands beyond –
    Invisible, as Music –
    But positive, as Sound –

    Dr. Kubler-Ross has written on the Stages of Grief, which I’ve read, but I do know they are not necessarily sequential and they are recursive.

    I am thinking of you, always surrounding you with love and good thoughts. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much Marian. I love your words of encouragement and wisdom. And funny you mentioned that the stages aren’t necessarily sequential and are recursive, because I just finished my next article for Sally’s blog column next week about those stages. But ultimately, I do believe acceptance is always the last stage. 😦 Hugs and thank you. xx


  12. Dear Debby,
    So good to see you back within the blogsphere again, The book share is one I can whole heardedly relate to, as you know I have knowledge of the afterlife, and it is but a stepping stone through a door we have all yet here this side have yet to step through..
    Sending you lots of love… Take your time, nurture yourself Debby, and sending you love and peace my friend…
    Take care of you, as you navigate your way through this time of grieving..
    Lots of Love
    Sue ❤


  13. I’m pleased Kubler-Ross’s book is offering you some comfort, Debby, as you navigate your grief. I am aware of her work on stages of grief but not on the transition that this book seems to be about. I think I’ll investigate as I am quite curious about these stories. I have been at the bedside of some who have passed but none have returned.
    Look after yourself. Use whatever means you can to make the rest of your journey more comfortable.


  14. Dear Debby,
    I remember being in early grief and having a scattered attention span. I am sure you know that this is normal and will pass. Sometimes it is goodto have a reminder.

    Elizabeth Kubler Ross is one of my favorites. I have studied her greatly for grief therapy, but also I learned a lot personally about my own grief from her. I am glad her work is bringing you comfort.

    Thanks for sharing

    Many Blessings
    Lisa xoxo


    1. Thank you so much Lisa. I am currently absorbed in her last book before she died, she wrote together with David Kessler, and a most beautiful foreword written by Maria Shriver – On Grief and Grieving. She was certainly an amazing person who ironically, suffered herself for the last few years of her own life. ❤ Blessings back to you my friend. xox


  15. I’m heartened that you’ve found a book that provides you with a measure of comfort, Debby. Through the ebbs and flows of grief, it helps to have access to a resource that can explain what’s happening and provide assurance that there is light at the end of the process, both for those who grieve and for those who have left us.


    1. Thank you so much Amy. Yes, I’m grateful for the books who share the experiences from those who walked here before me. Although nothing right now feels consoling, books offer a comfort in the way, we are not alone in our grief. ❤


  16. What a wonderful review, Deb. I’m glad it is helping you get through this terribly sad and difficult time. I think there is something special as you go through the period of passing. You put it so well that once they are gone, all that is left is the relief that they no longer suffer and our own hurt and extreme emptiness. You are a writer and you will find a way to write about your growth during this period because that is who you are and what you do. You live to inspire and help others even in your grief. On that road, I know you will find much solace, comfort, and healing. There is no shortcut through the grieving process, but the many people you have helped over the years are still there in various positions behind the curtains of the stage of your life. I see their love in the many comments left here on this post. God bless and sustain you as your needs demand. Lots of love and hugs.


    1. Marsha, thank you for your encouragement with your beautiful words. I know what you say is true about this road through grief. It certainly isn’t for sissies. One of the hardest jobs in my life. ❤


  17. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and personal review, Debby. It’s good to know that you’ve found comfort in books as well. We are all so different when it comes to that. Some look for distraction and some try to dig deeper into feelings and knowledge. Even as part of my medical training, we were taught very little about death and dying (yes, the stages of grief, but little else), and I don’t have direct experience of reading this book, although I’ve read some articles on the topic. I’ll have to have a closer look at this. Thinking of you.


  18. Hi Debby, thanks for sharing this book. It sounds like one to have on hand. I’m glad you’re reaching for books that may help you through this difficult time. Sending hugs, dear friend. xo


    1. Thank you Lauren. Yes, I mention this in my tomorrow’s book review. Recommended reading for that proverbial day when we will all walk in these heavy shoes. ❤


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