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Teaching Death and Dying$
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Christopher M Moreman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335224.001.0001

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 Love Letters to the Dead: Immortal Gifts for the Lifelong Learner

 Love Letters to the Dead: Immortal Gifts for the Lifelong Learner

(p.227) 14 Love Letters to the Dead: Immortal Gifts for the Lifelong Learner
Teaching Death and Dying

Dorothy Lander

John Graham‐Pole

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the “reflective practice” of letter-writing to the deceased. It reviews the literature of this unique form of epistolary communication, as a prelude to writing letters to the chapter's authors' beloved dead. In subsequent dialogue, the chapter reviews the potential of this autoethnographic and holistic methodology for death education, as well as for research and care work, in both formal and informal palliative care settings. It is argued that death and mourning are hard to teach through didactics and need to be interwoven with arts-based personal story, self-expression, and dialogue. The chapter proposes that such direct, non-mediated, communications can offer a vital, although largely unexplored, form of lifelong pedagogy as well as serving as a source of direct healing for bereaved people, whether personal or professional caregivers.

Keywords:   reflective pedagogy, letter writing, continuing bonds, lifelong learning, dialogue

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