Anne Geraghty was a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist when her son, Tim Guest, author of My Life in Orange died suddenly. Her old life ended. She went on a search for her lost son. Where was he? What was he? Did he live on in some other realm? Or had he fallen into the darkness of oblivion? Her search for Tim became an exploration into the nature of death itself.
We die as we have lived. Our lives are not like those of a C12th Tibetan, a C15th Cardinal or a Zen monk; we cannot, therefore, simply turn to old maps and myths of what happens when we die. We need a new narrative of death that embraces our modern understandings of our humanity and the workings of the universe.
This book is the story of a grieving mother looking for her dead son, an investigation into death in our modern world, and an exploration of our struggles to live well in the ever-present shadow of death. It is not a book with answers; it is an invitation to look at death differently. This book offers fresh and original ideas about death and dying. And it will radically change your understanding of what death is.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Death: The Last God is difficult to easily categorize: at first it looks like a story of grief and bereavement (the author's son suddenly dies) - but it's more. It looks like a new age read as she embarks on a spiritual journey to search for her lost son and consider the meaning and realm of death - but it's still more. And it seems like an investigation into spirituality and the presence of death in modern society - now we're closer to the mark. In fact, this book embraces all three approaches - memoir, new age spiritual journey, and examination of how death is treated in modern societies - and offers new insights about not only death and dying, but what death really is. This is no scholarly treatise; it's an emotion-driven survey from a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who attempts to heal herself in the aftermath of her son's demise. As such, it examines myths, theories, the language of death and loss, and more in an unusually multi-faceted, recommended pick for any exploring grief and loss. ~ Midwest Book Review, Bookwatch April 2015
‘This is one of the most profound books I know about death and its relationship to love and life. It offers a rare level of insight into the dynamics of life and death and the way in which the love we create can transcend death. There is much more I could say about this epic book, but I encourage readers to make their own deep journey through it and reflect on how it applies to each of us. The book is subtitled ‘a modern book of the dead’ and I think it more than lives up to its title with invaluable insights that can be gleaned from it as a guide not only to death, but ultimately to living our lives to the full.’ ~ David Lorimer, Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network and Editor of Network Review
‘I have been truly moved by this book, especially for creating a subtle sense of death and life that is restrained and intelligent. It isn’t easy to stay on the borders of fact and wonder, but Anne does this in a marvellous way. She writes well and beautifully blends the story of her son with her rich ideas. I’ve enjoyed this book and learned from it. I’m so glad to have read this. I found this book the most exciting that I’ve read in a long time. I don’t have that reaction frequently. I rarely find a contemporary spiritual book that really instructs me and helps me think something through.’ ~ Thomas Moore, Spiritual writer, author of many books including best-selling Care of the Soul
‘Death, the Last God’ is one of those invaluable books that after reading we discover has changed us forever. It is a brilliant contribution to a modern dialogue on the meaning of death. Anne integrates ideas from many sources but in such a way a whole new perspective on death is explained, one that reflects the complexity of our modern lives and thus speaks to us of the meaning of life and death now. I will be recommending this book to anyone interested in not only in death, but also in life. ~ Rev. Aleine Ridge, Interfaith Minister and Director of Spiral Holistic Therapy Centre.
Anne Geraghty has written a book for our time. Death, The Last God is a rigorous inquiry into contemporary views of death. Having endured the unspeakably premature loss of her son, Anne courageously presents a personal documentary of a mother’s grief, and then combines this with a vivid and multi-layered inquiry. A scholar’s mind, a mother’s heart, and the grit that comes from honouring unconscious forces, all work together to help us ask ourselves questions about beliefs, ancient and modern, and to raise further questions for which there are seemingly no answers, but which bring us - each in our own way - to an exhilarating and challenging edge within ourselves. ~ Barbara Brown, Psychotherapist & Author.
Anne Geraghty has written a book for our time. Death, The Last God is a rigorous inquiry into contemporary views of death. Having endured the unspeakably premature loss of her son, Anne courageously presents a personal documentary of a mother’s grief, and then combines this with a vivid and multi-layered inquiry. A scholar’s mind, a mother’s heart, and the grit that comes from honouring unconscious forces, all work together to help us ask ourselves questions about beliefs, ancient and modern, and to raise further questions for which there are seemingly no answers, but which bring us - each in our own way - to an exhilarating and challenging edge within ourselves.
Barbara Brown is a psychotherapist who also teaches qi gong. She has named this combination of contemporary psychological wisdom with ancient Chinese practices of body-and-energy work bodytao. Barbara has been a student of the Ridhwan Spiritual School for eleven years, and has written three books: Qi Gong, the Chinese Art of Working with Energy, was published by Harpercollins in 2001; Looking for Doris was published by The Tenth Bull in 2008, and her latest novel, Han Returns to Earth will be published in autumn 2013.
This book is on a new and transformational level of what has already been written about the process of grieving, dying, and what it means to be alive. It makes a paradigm shift to a new way of thinking. It refreshingly challenges readers to look at living and dying from a different perspective. It explains how to build a new relationship with life, and death, not to push them away.
Anne is accomplished writer and much respected in her professional field as a psychotherapist. But it has been her going deep into her own very private pain, into corners of utter darkness and despair to live a total truth that has formed her wisdom, profound understanding and the ability to see deeply into the meaning of life and death. With a seer's vision she shows how both are interwoven, interchangeable, like the comfortable marriage of two soul mates. She never dilutes or skims the surface, but goes right into the heart of what it means to be alive, and that means to live consciously with the reality of death.
In our death denying culture, death can be an unpopular or rather unsexy topic. Anne brings grace, beauty and a deep understanding that death is a gift and a chance for profound transformation, our own and the death, and the death of those we love.
Not only is Anne a gifted writer, she is also a talented speaker. She conveys complex ideas with humour and compassion. She has travelled and lived on every Continent. Her wisdom is not influenced by one particular race, creed, generation or the current poplar belief system, but transcend these, to go right into the hear of what it means to be alive and human.
This book will appeal to anyone going through a bereavement, facing their own death, or who wants to look at life from a new and bold perspective. ~ Sandra Hailes, Psychotherapist and Bereavement Counsellor
The day my spiritual teacher Osho Rajneesh died, 19/1/90, my daughter San Chi was born. So it was, simultaneously, ‘Death of a Master, Birth of a Child’. The two together – certainly in me. Anne Geraghty took the hard way to realize that union, after the untimely death of her son, Tim. She was haunted by this, looked also to her own responsibility for what had happened: that such a stirring young life should end so suddenly and dramatically, and to such a fine and so much beloved man. In this book she records her way out of this so-personal disaster, drawing on views from many times and many places, and interpreting them herself to gain succour and finally to convince herself that, yes, death is the last god, and also very much part of life. Not the duality it is mostly taken to be, but hand in hand - like Osho and San Chi – but too, in the very same person. Her Tim. ~ Michael Barnett, Internationally renowned Cosmic Energy Master
I have known Anne for more than 30 years and have found her unusual breadth of vision always increasing. When her son died unexpectedly at the age of 34 it seemed that she became able to move into altered states - even other worlds, in her willingness to go to Hell if necessary to find her son.
Her latest work is informed by these experiences and seems to me to enter a new league in its extraordinary vision. It has helped me with events in my life and also with crystallizing my creative process, in which I love to combine my enjoyment of the present with a sense of the eternal.
I feel this is a very important book with something new to say to all of us. ~ Helen Hargreaves, Ceramic Artist.
The book you hold in your hand is no ordinary story. Anne once described the journey she took during the dark days after her son, Tim’s death as ‘walking through the Valley of Death over sharp stones in bare feet’. The book describes what happened to Anne, faced with the fact Tim was no longer with her in body and yet he was in spirit. As tragic as that event was, the book is not a sombre read but sprinkled with humour and poignant stories about Tim who was a rising literary star and being feted by Hollywood greats for the film rights to his books. Throughout the book Anne goes all the way, tackling the subject of death in its entirety, drawing upon ancient traditions, religions and her own experiences. To anyone who finds books on death and dying a daunting prospect to read and yet feels they want to know more, Anne’s knowledge and wisdom makes this subject accessible, interesting and I personally found a great comfort to read. ~ Jane Wingrove, Counsellor & Spiritual Seeker.
When I met Anne, almost thirty years ago now, it was love at first sight. I saw in her eyes a dimension of some mystical realm that moved my heart to open. My mind could not understand my feelings, I only knew that I hungered for the depth of love and gift of seeing, that I saw in Anne’s eyes. Since that first meeting, I have been so blessed in journeying with Anne, as my therapist, spiritual teacher, wise mentor, guide, ally and now, dear friend. And through all these years, Anne, has verily confirmed the depth I saw in her eyes the first time we met. Anne lives life with impeccable integrity and a total commitment to love and to life. That her beloved son died four years ago, changed nothing in her resolve to maintain an open heart and face the shattering reality of the worse loss a mother can endure. Through Death, The Last God, Anne shares her unfolding experience with grief, her poignant and often humorous on-going relationship with Tim, and she offers a profound inquiry into what happens when we die.
Like a deep sea diver, Anne journeys into death’s dark portal and gifts us with the insight of her discoveries. Her story of connection with Tim brings tears and her unraveling the dense theme of death opens up vistas and possibilities unseen before. For me, reading this book feels like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. I am awestruck and opened up by the magnificent view. This book is a dance between poetry of a grief struck heart and intensive inquiry of a bright and intelligent mind. A marriage of soul and spirit is expressed through this great and tender book, and exemplifies Anne’s experience and discovery, that truly, “love is greater than death.” This book is fascinating, engaging, multicultural and multidimensional in approach, and leaves you, the reader with vital questions to ask about your life and your death. My favorite, “Did I love well?” This book is a gift to humanity.
~ Jenny Suzumoto MA in Counselling Psychology, Spiritual Director, Portland, Oregon, US.
I have known Anne for over twenty years; she has been a source of support and wisdom ever since. She is that rare person who combines a depth of knowledge with generosity of spirit and her book, Death, The Last God, also contains intellectual understanding as well as personal wisdom – and much more. This really is a modern Book of the Dead. In it she analyses ideas of death throughout history and in different cultures; she creates a map of what death means to us in our modern culture with our current understandings of the human psyche and the workings of the universe, and she uses her extraordinary experiences after her son’s sudden death to give humanity and depth to her ideas.
Death The Last God is unlike any other book on death. It is not an easy read because it confronts many of society’s assumptions about death and challenges the reader to think for themselves. Yet whatever we conclude about death after reading this, one thing is for sure, we will never see death in the same light again. This is a book for our times.
~ Maggie La Tourelle, Psychotherapist & Author.
Anne brings a depth and openness to her exploration of this challenging topic that goes way beyond traditional religious and spiritual beliefs and even contemporary approaches. The result is a fresh and illuminating conversation that touches the soul and asks us to expand our idea of what is possible amidst the great mystery of death...and life. ~ Amoda Maa Jeevan, Spiritual Teacher and Author of ‘Change Your life, Change Your World’ and ‘How To Find God In Everything’.
This book is a wonderful reflection of Anne herself. In it she weaves together a tapestry that grounds and brings together the Eastern wisdom traditions, western science and psychotherapeutic knowledge with the raw very human experience of death, and our deep longing to understand and make peace with death – and includes her wild, unbounded journey into the world of myth, dreams and possibility. She shares this generously in her writing - leaving us, the reader, enriched, soothed , held lovingly even in the face of a subject as terrifying as death. The result is both a unique contribution to our understanding and a comforting embrace of death’s possibilities. It’s a book to feed every part of our being – from the depths of our belly and heart, our mind and our soul. ~ Jan Day, Creator and Director of ‘Living Tantra’.
Anne Geraghty is an experienced therapist and group facilitator who found herself in shock and despair when her only son unexpectedly died. In desperation she left no stone unturned searching for contact and meaning, and perhaps solace. This book results from her explorations of ancient and modern wisdom and practices – it reveals a deeply personal journey and, after a period of gestation, a new understanding of Living and Dying. As a twenty first century companion to Sogyal Rinpoche’s classic “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” it draws on a wider range of faith traditions and folk wisdom.
The book’s key message is “How we live is how we die”, and strangely it has some of the suspense and pace of a detective novel in search of a dénouement – which is not whodunit, but that love conquers fear, and death brings meaning to life. It contains a wealth of ideas that I can already envisage using in my teaching and facilitation.
~ Dr. Mike Fitter, Consultant Psychologist, Amida Buddhist.
Springing from her experiences after the death of her grown-up son, this passionate and deeply felt book travels through the underworld of extreme grief and emerges with real wisdom. Anne Geraghty takes a bold, investigative line, never relying on platitudes but offering a vivid, individual vision of the great mystery of death She respects the great spiritual traditions but also looks beyond them. Recommended to all who are facing or thinking about death.
~ Lyn Webster Wilde, Author of ‘Becoming the Enchanter'.