Pat McNees

Writer, editor, ghostwriter, personal historian

Dying: A Book of Comfort, the small beautiful hardcover gift edition ISBN 9781568651576 $17.95, shipping included (discounts on quantity orders) Currently available only from Pat McNees and selected bookstores

Quick Links

Find Authors

Dying: A Book of Comfort

Healing Words on Loss and Grief

Selected and with an introduction and other material by Pat McNees


“This remarkable collection, coming from personal experience and wide reading, will help many find the potential of growth through loss.” ~ Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement

“I travel around the country presenting programs on grief, loss, and working with dying patients and their families. It was a stroke of luck that led to my purchase of Pat McNees's book. Dying, A Book of Comfort has become more than just another book in my library. It has become a companion, a vehicle for bringing others into touch with the broad range of emotions that make up the process of grief. I tell my audiences that if they can only buy one book this season, it should be Dying, A Book of Comfort. For those of us who are called upon to impart words of healing and consolation, this wonderful collection will become the vehicle for instilling hope and understanding in those who seek our support. On a personal level, it is the book I keep at my bedside. It is the book to which I turn in my own moments of darkness.” ~ Judith A. Skretny, Life Transitions Center, educator for the American Academy of Bereavement

“I've been devouring the book, which is strangely comforting in a way I can't put my finger on. I gave it to my mother and brother, too, to help them come to terms with my father's death, which seemed sudden even though he was chronically ill. The book's greatest gift for us was that it contained the perfect poem for my mother to read at the graveside for my father's unveiling. It was a real act of courage for her to read it in public, without breaking down, and because the words were so beautiful and so apt, the poem itself helped start her on the path to healing.”~ Robin Marantz Henig, author of How a Woman Ages and Pandora's Baby

“This lovely book is a wonderful resource not only for the bereaved, but also for those looking to reach out to show love and provide comfort. The readings are thoughtfully selected with enough variety to capture any mood from rage to sadness to acceptance and hope. There's poetry, philosophy, dialog, and even a joke from Woody Allen. I've sent copies to a friend whose son-in-law died, to a colleague whose husband drowned, to a friend and his wife who just learned that the wife has untreatable cancer. It's an appropriate gift for anyone, whether a close friend or stranger.”
~ Sarah Wernick, co-author of Strong Women Stay Thin and Lung Cancer

“...about dying and grief, yes, but more importantly, it is a book about understanding and healing. The deep truths and exquisite beauty will bring solace to many grieving hearts. A gem to be treasured.” ~ Rabbi Earl Grollman,author of Living When a Loved One Has Died

“A remarkable collection (331 pages) of quotations of comfort.” ~ Ernest Morgan, Dealing Creatively with Death

“Seldom have I read a book that exudes such comfort, such an embrace of genuine insight, care and support....The book’s gift, and it is a rich treasure for the reader, is that it embraces who we are.... The book can be read cover to cover, or just pick out a page. Something will leap off the page, a story, a quote, a reading, narrative couplings of diverse themes colorfully worded by the author/​scribe, to give you the needed word or embrace....This book needs wide circulation. The bereaved deserve this, and the book will help all of us.” ~ Rev. Richard B. Gilbert, director, World Pastoral Care Center, in Resources Hotline

“McNees has provided a remarkable anthology of insights, comforting words, stories, reassurance, and guidance for the journey of dying and grieving. Fourteen chapters delve artfully and compassionately into a full range of dying, death, and bereavement topics. An index by author ‘Names’ and another by ‘Titles and Selected First Lines’ make it possible to return and savor the many rich offerings she has gathered.” ~ Rev. Paul A. Metzler, The Center for Living with Loss, in newsletter, Association for Death Education and Counseling

“A friend gave me a copy of Dying: A Book of Comfort when my son-in-law died. I passed it on to my grieving daughter, bought a copy for myself, and then bought five more copies, so I would have something meaningful and healing to give to friends who were facing their own or others’ deaths. We never know when death will come to those we love. This valuable resource deserves a place on everyone’s shelf as a compendium of thoughtful reflections — by famous and lesser-known writers — that affirm life even as they help us cope with death.” ~ Sally Wendkos Olds, co-author of Human Development

"This is a wonderful gift book — better than flowers because it lasts longer. Once the company is gone and you're alone with your grief, the book is there to stay — and it's a great source of comfort."
~ Maggie Hudak

"For those who face the lonely reality of death, this book provides understanding and much-needed solace."
~ Claire Berman, author of Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents

"Dying, A Book of Comfort is THE book to press into the hands of those you love, read out loud in the company of others, and reflect on after they have all gone home. Pat McNees gently guides us as we reluctantly explore the far side of forever."
~ Lynne Lamberg, author of The Body Clock Guide to Better Health

“The subject of death is so rife with terror that it takes a calm and sure hand like Pat McNees’s to soothe, help us understand, and finally, rejoice in life. This is an important and very dear book.” ~ Sherry Suib Cohen, author of Secrets of a Very Happy Marriage

Contents page, DYING: A Book of Comfort


Books, articles, and more

Writing or telling life stories
Everyone has a story to tell. What's keeping you from telling yours? Become a storykeeper or personal historian or find one.
A loving testament, or legacy letter, sharing your life experiences and lessons with the next generation
Learn to write articles, reports, ethical wills, or life stories (memoirs and beyond).
Mom — hardworking, sassy, and full of surprises
Mutual support and discussion
Social history through the life of an ordinary Midwestern businessman.
Dancing, food, good books, and other diversions
Favorites of several book groups
What is the single lunch-bag item most hated by all children?
What heightens the caviar experience is the price of those little gray or black sturgeon eggs.
Links to dancing venues and calendars for the Washington, D.C. area.
Midlife "first dates"
Did she fall in love with the man or the waltz?
Also related: jive, hustle, hand-dancing.
All the dancing your feet can take
Choosing a school of dance
Contra, English country, international, Irish, Israeli, Scandinavian, Scottish
The big ones, with dirty stems
"A rich, varied, and highly rewarding collection," says Joyce Carol Oates
Ceilis (Irish dancing)
Medical mysteries, patient stories, and practical links
John Travolta played the boy in the movie. The real story ended far differently.
Thin little Marian had a cholesterol problem most people have never heard of.
You've probably never heard of this national research hospital and clinic. But someone you know may be able to benefit from it directly and all of us do, indirectly.
Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the debate on health care reform. Avoiding medical errors
Dying, mourning, and other inevitable events
"This remarkable collection, coming from personal experience and wide reading, will help many find the potential of growth through loss." --Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement
For those dying, for caregivers, and for the bereaved
Listen to samples of popular songs and music
Girls and science
Cool science sites
Best practices for teaching science--to strengthen the science workforce.
Some links and a selection
Practical matters
Identify children's learning styles and improve their ability to learn.
Six weeks to hassle-free homework.
Why parents should be concerned.
Public speaking is a craft, not an art. It can be learned.
Can you wash it if it says "dry clean"?
Fact vs. fantasy
One woman's story.
Don't focus on the fabric.
Organizational histories
A frank history of the Young Presidents' Organization.
The little lift truck that could — a story of brilliant marketing in America's heartland.
Online Shopping
Best places to shop online