Influential Past Teachers

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“When we have done all the work we were sent to Earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly. And when the time is right, we can let go of it and we will be free of pain, free of fears and worries-free as a very beautiful butterfly, returning home to God.” 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D was a psychiatrist and the author of the groundbreaking On Death and Dying. She has earned a place in history as the best-loved and most-respected authority on the subject. Elisabeth spent most of her life working with the dying. She was born in Zurich Switzerland, one of triplets. She graduated Medical School at the University of Zurich in 1957. She came to the United States in 1958. At the Hospital where she worked in New York, she was appalled by the standard treatment of dying patients. “They were shunned and abused, nobody was honest with them”, she said. Unlike her colleagues, she made it a point to sit with terminal patients, listening as they poured out their hearts to her. She began giving lectures featuring dying patients who talked about what they were going through. Her first book On Death and Dying in 1969 made Kübler-Ross an internationally renowned author. “My goal was to break through the layer of professional denial that prohibited patients from airing their inner-most concerns,” she wrote. She spent many years speaking to standing room only audiences and writing over twenty books on the subject. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. She is also the recipient of more than twenty honorary doctorates. In 1995 she suffered a series of major strokes, which left her paralyzed and facing her own death. At the time she said, “I am like a plane that has left the gate and not taken off. I would rather go back to the gate or fly away.” It was during this time that she and David Kessler wrote their first book together, “Life Lessons: two experts on death and dying teach us about the mysteries of life and living.” She said, “I wanted to finally write a book on life and living”

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross passed away on August 24, 2004. Elisabeth’s last book, co-written with David Kessler, “On Grief and Grieving” was completed one month before her death. “On Grief and Grieving,” is her final legacy, one that brings her life’s work profoundly full circle.

“On Grief and Grieving” was published in 2005 in harcover and 2007 in paperback. On February 6, 2007 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was chosen for induction intoThe National Women’s Hall Of Fame

David Kessler considers it an honor and privilege to have worked so closely with Elisabeth for ten years and to be with her during her passing. He feels it is part of his mission to keep her work alive for the next generation.

 
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