In this book Stephanie Wilson shares her discoveries about the mystery that is death.

This is a book for the living and the younger the better. In spite of her profession as a pathologist, the author had given little thought to the mystery that is death until challenged by a lecture. In this book she shares her discoveries, which she describes as “a personal revelation”.

The challenge raised a number of questions: What does death mean? Need we fear it? Is there a heaven, and if so, what might it be like? How can we learn to face the fear of death? What can we do now to influence what happens as the end approaches? Is there such a thing as reincarnation? What is Life?

Seeking answers, she turned for guidance and support to the words of the wise of various faiths and philosophies. She was delighted to discover how much they had in common. The quotations chosen, with linking commentary, seek to illustrate how death can be approached in a positive manner, dispelling some of the fears associated with it, allowing hope and tranquillity to permeate the mind and bringing peace to the soul.

She explains this change of perception by reference to an ancient story: Walking in the dark someone stepped on a rope, and, thinking that it was a snake, trembled with fear. Realising that it was only a rope, the fear instantly evaporated. Her purpose in this book is to suggest that death is not a snake but a rope.

The quotations chosen are arranged in response to the above questions, so the book may be read from cover to cover, or to find answers to particular concerns, or, with the aid of the index, specific sources may be studied.


Stephanie Wilson, now retired, qualified as a doctor at Trinity College Dublin, and practised as a consultant histopathologist at St Mary’s Hospital London for many years. Brought up a Christian, she developed an interest in other religions when young, an interest which remains to this day. It brought new meaning to her work which, while dealing with disease and death, led her to discover a profoundly positive approach to Life.


“This book is extraordinary. Death is a dark subject for most of us. I found, almost despite myself, the quotations so liberally scattered throughout the book worked a kind of quiet, unexpected magic inside me …instant pure sunlight – and freely available `now’, rather than as a buttress against some grim future event.”
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“[Performing autopsies], I began to realise that there was much more to death than its physical reality. The vitality, the personality, the soul had departed from the body, but where had it gone? I knew that only the body died. The living part of the person could no longer be in the body, but it must be somewhere.”
From the Introduction, Stephanie Wilson