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What Our Last Words Reveal About Life, Death, and the AfterlifeA person’s end-of-life words often take on an eerie significance, giving tantalizing clues about the ultimate fate of the human soul. Until now, however, no author has systematically studied end-of-life communication by using examples from ordinary people. When her father became terminally ill with cancer, author Lisa Smartt began transcribing his conversations and noticed that his personality underwent inexplicable changes. Smartt’s father, once a skeptical man with a secular worldview, developed a deeply spiritual outlook in his final days — a change reflected in his language. Baffled and intrigued, Smartt began to investigate what other people have said while nearing death, collecting more than one hundred case studies through interviews and transcripts. In this groundbreaking and insightful book, Smartt shows how the language of the dying can point the way to a transcendent world beyond our own.
“Words at the Threshold is a treasure trove of experience and insight around the last words spoken by the dying, as revealed through the mind of a linguist, proposing that birth and death are different facets of the same process, that both are essential in the cycle of life, and that our soul connections do not end with death. The words of the dying provide some of the most salient clues as to how we can best live our lives on earth.”— Eben Alexander, MD, neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven and The Map of Heaven“With Words at the Threshold, Lisa Smartt has given the world of near death studies a fresh new path for research. Deeply moving and meticulously researched, this book offers a feast of fresh information about communications with the other side that may take place at the time of death. This is an insightful book worth reading.”— Paul Perry, coauthor of Glimpses of Eternity“Rarely can we say a book has the ability to profoundly affect the way we live and think, but Words at the Threshold is truly such a book. The research is impeccable, and the insights that Lisa Smartt gives us into the realm of the threshold open doors of perception that help us understand what it is to be part of the human experience.”— Michael Wayne, PhD, LAc, author of The Quantum Revolution and producer and host of Interviews with the Leading Edge“Words at the Threshold marks a new era in the understanding of the process of dying. Lisa Smartt’s work has profound psychological, spiritual, and clinical implications for the care of terminally ill patients and their families. And I believe that her work also opens unexplored pathways for the genuinely rational investigation of human kind’s deepest mystery: the prospect of life after death.”— from the foreword by Raymond Moody Jr., MD, PhD, author of Life After Life“Lisa Smartt gently invites us to listen to the utterances of the dying with an inner ear attuned to another kind of reality. She charts how the dying use eerily familiar metaphors, symbols, time loops, and more to express their expanded, nonlinear experiences. In so doing, Smartt affords us a precious glimpse of their inner worlds as they linger at the threshold of death. Through her linguistic analysis of ‘nonsense’ on the lips of the dying, the underlying creativity and purpose of final words are revealed. Words at the Threshold is a significant step toward transforming the current views of dying from a process of failure into a process of ever-deepening meaning and wonder.”— Julia Assante, PhD, author of The Last Frontier“At the end of life, the curtain between worlds tears. Words at the Threshold documents what the dying say and see and hear in that moment of truth. This book is a gift to all of us who seek to peer past death into the world of spirit.”— Matthew McKay, PhD, author of Seeking Jordan“The many suggestions about engaging loved ones as they die and the cogent advice on ways to provide a more peaceful passing give the volume considerable value.”— Booklist“Books like Words at the Threshold by Lisa Smartt only come along every now and again and when they do they shine out as publications that genuinely break new ground and greatly expand our understanding of the mysteries of life and death. Highly recommended as an essential read.”— Spirituality Today“Words at the Threshold has the potential for profound implications on the care of terminally ill patients and their loved ones, and is a wonderful, comprehensible, and sensitive starting point to a topic and experience that many . . . have found hard to approach.”— Unravel: The Accessible Linguistics Magazine