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This heartfelt collection of stories celebrates the mystery of death and the changing awareness of those nearing end of life.  They are drawn from Barbara’s many years of work in hospice and her personal life experience.  Visual, kinaesthetic, auditory experiences are explored along with metaphoric language and the dreams of individuals close to physical death as well as the bereaved.  Acknowledging these experiences can aid in healing and more peaceful transitions at end of life.

The Book Can Be Purchased on Amazon

Barb talking at Campbell River to guests

-photo courtesy of Grant Jones photography

Editorial Reviews

"I recommend Honoring the Mystery to anyone who wants to gain greater insight into the expanding inner world of the dying, and particularly to health professionals as they implement a ‘person-centered’ holistic approach to care. This book is a valuable addition to the literature about people’s transcendent experiences in the ‘peri-mortal’ period – not only those of the dying but also of their families. Knowledge of these well-documented phenomena is relevant for all of us, whether young or old, physically well or close to death. In addition to providing still more evidence that, for the ‘Real Me’, death is a transition and not THE END, Honoring the Mystery emphasises the importance of active, empathic listening to enable us to better support loved ones, friends, and patients as they move towards and through the moment of physical death.

As Barbara says, "In the silence alone, when love is present, profound transformations happen. To listen without judgement, giving space to all that is occurring, may be the greatest gift anyone can give to another human being."

Let all who have ears to hear, let them hear – but read the book first."

—  Dr Robert Twycross

     UK Hospice Pioneer and Emeritus Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine,
     Oxford University

"In the midst of apparent confusion in our culture about the nature of death, hospice workers like Barbara Morningstar, who has spent over twenty years working with the dying, can offer some important answers. In this poetic and beautiful recounting of some of her more profound experiences, it is clear that we have nothing to fear about death, and that the lessons gleaned from that extraordinary boundary are most important for the gifts they offer about living a more complete and satisfying life."

—  Eben Alexander
     MD, Neurosurgeon and Author of 'Living in a Mindful  Universe'
     and 'Proof of Heaven'

"I loved reading this beautiful and valuable book.  In the hospice where I work, we have a little booklet called, "Signs and Symptoms of Approaching Death".  We offer this to families who are holding vigil with their loved one in their final days and hours.  It gives information to explain the physical process that is being witnessed in a simple way that lessens fear and brings reassurance.  From now on, I will be strongly recommending Barbara Morningstar's Honoring the Mystery as a companion volume.

In language that is clear and deeply respectful, Morningstar shares stories and insights from her professional and personal experience that illuminate aspects of the inner journey the dying individual is making and offers gentle guidance on how to respond with kindness and in a way that will bring encouragement and healing." 

—  Dr Michael Kearney is a physician specializing in hospice and palliative medicine.  Originally from Ireland, he now lives and practices in Santa Barbara, California. Additional information about Michael Kearney and his publications can be found at



"Barbara Morningstar’s Honoring the Mystery weaves together the many threads connected to end-of-life experience and the transpersonal dimension of death and dying. Morningstar writes with elegance, clarity and humility about the remarkable realm that exists at the threshold and awaits those whose eyes and hearts remain open. This is a volume I will surely share with those who want to know more about the great mystery and are curious about experiences that fall outside medical explanations of end of life. Thank you, Barbara Morningstar, for such a simply-spun and graceful collection that will illuminate lives and shed light on a topic that still remains shrouded in darkness."

—  Lisa Smartt, MA

     Co-founder with Raymond Moody of The Final Words Project

     Author 'Words at the Threshold'

"Barbara Morningstar is a beautiful writer. Barbara uses story to share a glimpse into the lives of those who are dying and those who care for them. Sacred space is shared and the reader is invited into experiences that enrich life and open doors to questions about life and the transition that we often call death.

For those who have cared for individuals who are dying,  or who work in hospice and palliative care, this book may help you gain further insight into your experiences, and/or will open the door to looking for these sacred moments. For those who have not journeyed with the dying, this book may open the door to new awareness of the dying experience and increase your comfort in being with people in their dying process."

—  Kath Murray, RN, BSN, MA, FT

     Life and Death Matters

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