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About this Book


In our death-denying culture, most of us—the dying and those closest to them—are cheated of the extraordinary possibilities that can arise as someone lets go of their life. Dying into Grace intends to change that. It breaks ground by treating the caregiver and dying person as partners in a dance toward wholeness that nurtures the realization of dying's mutually transformative potential—which, if experienced, becomes unthinkable to have missed. By inviting us into the profound dance of caregiving, dying, and healing that she shared with her mother, the daughter/author introduces a relational paradigm for dying well while expanding what "dying well" can mean and coaching caregivers about how to dance.

This beautifully written, richly layered story unfolds like a riveting mystery novel. Woven around a mother's journey Home in the embrace of her daughter's caregiving, its central narrative of healing and dying etches an indelible portrait of a woman who rose from the ashes three times and looked death in the face in the same practical ways as she did life. Backstories progressively reveal undercurrents of loss, disrupted narratives, and shadow grief which have rippled from one generation to the next, shaping the psycho-spiritual journeys of mother, daughter, and grandmother, and the daughter's need to engage their shared losses. Mother and daughter heal themselves, each other, and a lineage haunted by the grandmother's traumatic death, and the mother flows into a state of grace that is enduringly transformative for both of them.

Practical guidance (e.g., re hospital-induced disorientation, keeping an elder out of a nursing home, shifting to a palliative care paradigm, partnering with hospice, building a caregiving family, letting go of one's life [for the dying and the caregiver], reconstructing an "orphaned" adult child's identity) unfolds within the author's nonjudgmental lens which honors and learns from the consciousness of the dying rather than "correcting" it, and her capacity for providing an embracing, witnessing presence for her mother's becoming her truest self while letting go of her life. Within this web, the earthly flows seamlessly into the spiritual, the ordinary into the extraordinary, and the sacred is revealed in the seemingly mundane.


The central narrative (Parts I-III) intertwines the story of Olwen and her journey Home with Artemis' caregiving story. Driven by their joint efforts to keep Olwen out of her nursing home nightmare, both partners struggle with the central question of caregiving/dying—"How do I let go of my life?"—while encountering the sacred and discovering each other at the deepest levels. Her narrative having been ruptured by life-altering losses, the young and middle-aged Olwen forged an independent, pragmatic path on which she did not engage her shadows. Her daughter, by contrast, feels compelled (like the Sumerian Inanna) to journey to the "Underworld" to retrieve their story, embrace and release the pain/past, and enable recovery of their wholeness. Her commentary, insights, and earned wisdom emerge transparently, expanding the story's reach without pulling us out of the narrative.

Olwen's death is the end of her life's journey but not the end of the story. In Part IV, the healing process creates an opening in her former husband's relationship with his first family, and Artemis experiences the perfection of her parents' difficult gifts for her own journey in the wake of their loss months apart. Following her intuition that her roots and her future are one and the same, she returns to the old country where her mother had been born. The last of her line, the daughter reconstructs the family story,  reconstitutes her familial identity,  and appreciates that her lineage has endowed her with what she needs to complete something for all of them and to fulfill their legacy by bringing her life's work into the world.

Part V brings the daughter's intuitive dance with her mother into the realm of conscious discussion by mapping the territory, articulating dance steps, and coaching us how to dance. She brings to bear acute observational skills and her gifts for inductively extracting guiding principles and transferable learning from unique cases—gifts honed by over 20 years conducting field studies and becoming an organizational storyteller for Harvard Business School, executive education programs, and healthcare innovators. Guiding principles that could seem unattainable in an expert’s third-person account are grounded in her accessible, illuminating story, distilling the form and movement of the dance into discussable principles for family and professional caregivers as well as those who support and train them.

Diverse professionals will recognize that March and her mother intuitively lived—and thus exemplify—core themes in several leading-edge discourses and movements (relational psychology, disrupted narratives, hospice and palliative care principles, integrated care for the whole person, dying well, and seamless synthesis of all dimensions of dying), making Dying into Grace an excellent addition to diverse curricula. Rather than talking about these ideas, March inscribes in our consciousness their impact on shaping and transforming a human life.


"Profound yet practical, this book is essential for anyone involved with end-of-life care."
Sandra Bertman, PhD




All images and content Copyright ©2014-2016 Artemis March. Webdesign by Jessica Smith.