Review: Kenneth Ring – Waiting to Die

Waiting to Die:
A Near-Death Researcher’s (Mostly Humorous) Reflections on His Own Endgame
Kenneth Ring

“During his many years researching the near-death experience (NDE), Dr. Kenneth Ring was concerned with answering the question, “What is it like to die?” In this book of fifteen sparkling and delightfully witty essays, his question becomes more personal, “What is it like waiting to die?” More specifically, what is it like for an octogenarian who has spent half his life studying and writing about NDEs to face his own mortality? ”

I was offered this book to review, and I was attracted to it because the author writes and researches near-death experiences (NDEs). Cool! I thought to myself. I’ll get some interesting insights from this book of essays. The earlier essays were entertaining and informative, and I enjoyed reading them. As I went through them however I enjoyed them less. Perhaps I just don’t relate well to an aging man with prostate problems?

I’ve never feared death, so NDEs don’t freak me out. I think for someone who might be facing death presumably sooner than I would appreciate it! Growing old is a process, and I suppose dying of natural causes is also. The thing that resonated with me the most was that Kenneth reflects on being one of his last friends standing! Old age kills off your friends and family.

Something else the book raised for me was the research into near death lucidity, where people with dementia or similar mental losses suddenly revert to their old selves when dying. A fascinating concept that I would like to read more about for sure. I’m interested to read more of Kenneth’s professional work, even if ultimately this collection was not for me.

I’ve never been one for reading books of essays, any more than I like short stories. I like to have something really meaty to sink my teeth into. So that might have been one of the problems with this book. I think that different people are going to get different things, and not all of them are going to enjoy or appreciate all the essays. I’m on vacation right now, so I’m going to be releasing it into the wild. I hope that someone else enjoys it more!

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