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Candlelight & Blessings: Symbols and Rituals for Death and Grieving

Death is inevitable, mysterious, and often confusing.

At the deathbed, patients and those gathered seek meaning, and many long for a sense of the Spiritual. Yet chaplains and spiritual caregivers have minimal information by which to determine how to provide support, limited time to develop rapport, and varying expectations from those they serve.

Regardless of the religious background of the patient and the loved ones gathered at the deathbed, there are elements of symbol and ritual that take on a pronounced role and a greater importance as one is facing the end of life.


Such a beautiful book. I wish I had this 21 years ago when my dad passed. David addresses the emotional needs of the dying, the grieving families, and even the chaplain offering the blessings. He addresses all the many faiths, the non-christians, and even those like me, an atheist. I have always been obsessed with collecting rocks at the many funerals I have attended over the years, and now it makes sense. Instead of making me feel sad about the subject that we all experience in our lives, David teaches us how to embrace the natural process of dying and grieving. Many years ago, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a wonderful book I embraced. Today, David’s book will be the new standard on dealing with dying. The research and the small personal vignettes into his blessings, made the book so much more personal. I felt David was talking to me. I have gone back to reread this book since receiving news about my mother in law, who has terminal cancer. It is helping us plan the transition she wishes to have, and it has given me a sense of peace with the upcoming transition in all of our lives. – Amazon Reviewer

Timely, relevant, and appropriate for multiple faiths, cultures, and traditions. This will surely fill a need for chaplains and others who assist through the process of death and dying. It provides relevant and imaginative strategies to support individuals of many faiths, or of no faith. Multiple aspects of the dying process are addressed. The materials in the appendix are priceless, and I will use them in the future. The text is well-written and easy to read. It is also easy to use the book as a reference, returning to the relevant sections. I think it would be a great gift to a clergy person, chaplain, or caregiver. – Amazon Reviewer

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