BEYOND KNOWING Mysteries and Messages of Death and Life from a Forensic Pathologist ~ Dr. Janis Amatuzio

Working as a medical examiner, Dr. Janis Amatuzio has found that by listening and talking to loved ones of the deceased, she can offer them a sense of closure. In doing so, she has heard — and here retells — extraordinary stories of spiritual and otherworldly events surrounding the transition between life and death.

As in her first book, Forever Ours, Dr. Amatuzio presents the amazing, heartfelt accounts told to her by grieving family members, patients, doctors, nurses, clergy, and police officers. Along with these stories, she shares her own story — reflecting on the course of her career, the bonds she has formed over the years, the lessons she has learned, and her conclusion that “Everything truly is all right.”

This powerful book honors the mystery of life and death, exploring the realms of visions, synchronicities, and communications on death’s threshold. Told in the voice of a compassionate scientist who sees death every day, these stories eloquently convey the patterns of truth Dr. Amatuzio has found in what she sees and hears. Beyond Knowing explores the wisdom the living might find in these accounts and shows how that wisdom changes lives.

Janis Amatuzio, M.D. trained at the University of Minnesota, the Hennepin County Medical Center, and the Medical Examiner’s Office in Minneapolis, Minnesota before founding Midwest Forensic Pathology P.A. Board certified in anatomic, forensic, and clinical pathology, she is a recognized authority in forensic medicine and has developed many courses in topics such as death investigation, forensic nursing, and forensic medicine in mortuary science.

Dr. Amatuzio serves as Coroner and a regional resource for multiple counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Often called the compassionate coroner, she is an exemplar for the compassionate practice of forensic medicine. As someone whose life’s work has been speaking for the deceased, she has now also provided a voice for family and friends by allowing their stories to be heard in her book, Forever Ours.


Known as the “compassionate coroner,” Dr. Amatuzio writes and speaks about her personal experiences and insights regarding life after death and how to apply those lessons to live a richer, more rewarding life. She is a board-certified forensic pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner of Minnesota’s Anoka County system. Midwest Forensic Pathology, the company she founded, provides private autopsy services to numerous counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Her books, Forever Ours and Beyond Knowing, feature heartfelt stories of otherworldly experiences from patients transitioning between life and death, their grieving loved ones, police, clergy, and others.

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Not Seeking Approval ~ Byron Katie

The Master can’t seek fulfillment…
She’s already filled to the brim; there isn’t room for a drop more. When you have what you want — when you are what you want — there’s no impulse to seek anything outside yourself. Seeking is the movement away from the awareness that your life is already complete, just as it is. Even at moments of apparent pain, there’s never anything wrong or lacking. Reality is always kind; what happens is the best thing that could happen. It can’t be anything else, and you’ll realize that very clearly if you inquire.

I have a friend whose wife fell in love with another man. He had been doing The Work for a while, and instead of going into sadness and panic, he questioned his thinking. “‘She should stay with me’ — is it true? I can’t know that. How do I react when I believe the thought? Extremely upset. Who would I be without the thought? I would love her and just wish the best for her.”

This man really wanted to know the truth. When he questioned his thinking, he found something extremely precious. “Eventually,” he said, “I was able to see it as something that should be happening, because it was. When my wife told me about it, she didn’t have to censor anything to protect me. It was amazing to hear what it was like for her, without taking any of it personally. It was the most liberating experience I ever had.”

His wife moved in with the other man, and he was fine with that, because he didn’t want her to stay if she didn’t want to. A few months later she hit a crisis point with her lover and needed someone to talk to. She went to her best friend — her husband. They calmly discussed her options. She decided to get a place of her own where she could work things out, and eventually, after many ups and downs, she went back to her husband. Through all this drama, whenever my friend found himself mentally at war with reality and experiencing pain or fear, he inquired into the thought he was believing at that moment, and returned to a calm and cheerful state of mind. He came to know for himself that the only possible problem he could have was his unquestioned thinking. His wife gave him everything he needed for his own freedom.

I often say that if I had a prayer, it would be this: God, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen. I don’t have a prayer, of course, because I don’t want anything but what I have. I know the benevolence of life. Why would I pray for something different, which would always be less than what’s coming? God is another name for reality. It’s complete, it’s perfect, it fills me with the utmost joy. The thought of asking for what isn’t never even arises.

But if I still believed my thoughts, I would pray for one thing first: to be spared from the desire for love. This desire causes nothing but confusion and misery. It shuts down the awareness of what you already have in reality. It’s painful to seek what you can never have outside yourself. I say “can never have” because obviously you don’t understand what you’re seeking. If you understood it, the seeking would be over. Because you think you know what love looks like, what it should or shouldn’t be, it becomes invisible to you. It’s the blind seeking what doesn’t exist. You beg, you plead, you bend over backward and do all sorts of other emotional acrobatics in this unending search for happy endings. Only by seeking the truth within will you find the love you can never lose. And when you find it, your natural response is appreciation.

This would be my one prayer, because the answer to it brings the end of time and space. It brings the energy of pure unlimited mind, set free in all its power and goodness. When you stop seeking love, it leaves you with nothing to do; it leaves you with the experience of being “done,” in a doing that is beyond you. It’s absolutely effortless. And a whole lot gets done in it, beyond what you think could ever have been accomplished.

When I don’t look for approval outside me, I remain as approval. And through inquiry I have come to see that I want you to approve of what you approve of, because I love you. What you approve of is what I want. That’s love — it wouldn’t change anything. It already has everything it wants. It already is everything it wants, just the way it wants it.

Source: The Huffington Post

Let’s Talk About Death: Asking the Questions that Profoundly Change the Way We Live and Die by Steve Gordon (Author), Irene Kacandes (Author)

Experts in end-of-life care tell us that we should talk about death and dying with relatives and friends, but how do we get such conversations off the ground in a society that historically has avoided the topic? This book provides one example of such a conversation. The coauthors take up challenging questions about pain, caregiving, grief, and what comes after death. Their unlikely collaboration is itself connected to death: the murders of two of Irene’s closest friends and Steve’s support in perpetuating memories of those friends’ lives and not just their violent ends.

The authors share the results of a no-holds-barred discussion they conducted for several years over email. Readers can consider a range of views on complicated issues to which there are no right answers. Letting ourselves pose certain questions has the potential to profoundly change the way we think about death, how we choose to die, and, just as importantly, the way we live.

Steve Gordon is a massage therapist and the founder, executive director, and primary massage therapist for a nonprofit program called The Hand to Heart Project (launched in 2007), which provides free in-home massage and compassionate touch to people with advanced cancer, including people in treatment as well as people nearing the end of life. Previous to becoming a massage therapist, he was a newspaper writer and editor, working for the Keene Sentinel (Keene, NH) and the Valley News (Lebanon, NH).

Irene Kacandes is the Dartmouth Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, where she is also involved in the Medical Humanities Initiative. President of the German Studies Association, Kacandes also chairs the Division of Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing of the Modern Language Association. She’s authored two previous books and numerous scholarly articles, as well as edited anthologies, journals, and other books.

Honest, probing, sensitive, and even humorous at times, the completely open discussions in this book will help readers deal with a topic that most of us try to avoid but that everyone will face eventually.

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