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Final Conversations
Helping the Living and the Dying Talk to Each Other
by Maureen P. Keeley, PhD and Julie M. Yingling, PhD


Note on Terminology and Editing
1Real People: Setting the Stage for the Book
The Source of These Final Conversations
What Are Final Conversations?
Americans and Death—Why Is It So Difficult?
Why Communicate at the End?
Why Look at the Livings’ Perspective on Communication at the End of Life?
2I Love You: Goodbye
Loving the Dying in Close Relationships
Don’t Leave Yet!
Nothing More to Say
Benefits / Summary / Advice
3Everyday Messages: Taking Care of Business
I’m Not Dead Yet!
Maintaining the Relationship for Now
Preserving the Relationship into the Future
Problems with Everyday Messages
Benefits / Summary / Advice
4Grace Happens: Spiritual Messages
Witnessing Faith
Faith Challenged, Faith Found Again
Experiencing Spirit
Creating Community
Benefits / Summary / Advice
5Beyond Words: The Power of Nonverbal Communication
See Me, Feel Me, Hear Me, Touch Me
The Meaning of Space and Time
The Importance of “Stuff”
Benefits / Summary / Advice
6Heartache Released: Healing Damaged Relationships
Cleaning Up the Mess
Letting Go: Forgiving, Accepting, and Acknowledging
Receiving the Surprise Apology
Closing a Door, Opening a Window
Don’t Make It Worse
Benefits / Summary / Advice
7Growing Up: Maturing Through Final Conversations

Children’s Final Conversations with the Dying: Being Real
Teens’ Final Conversations: A Crash Course in Adulthood
New Adults’ Final Conversations: Challenges in Changing Times
Mature Adults’ Final Conversations: Role Changes and Getting Real (Again)
Benefits / Summary / Advice

8Going on: New Directions for the Living
A New Attitude: Lessons Learned
New Plans, New Paths
Benefits / Summary / Advice
9You Can Too: Communication Skills for Final Conversations
Why Engage in Final Conversations?
How to Get Ready for Final Conversations
How to Communicate Skillfully
When to Ask for Help
Epilogue: Final Thoughts and Reflections
Appendix: Research Participants and Graphics
Suggested Readings and Resources
Index to the Living

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