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A Reflection of The School of Dying Graces

Shabnam Mashinchi

Azusa Pacific university

GNRS 505

Professor Renne Pozza


A Reflection of the School of Dying Graces

"The School of Dying Graces," authored by Dr. Richard Felix, is a poignant and eloquent literary work that chronicles his spiritual odyssey and the final stages of his spouse Vivian's fatal ailment. Dr. Felix has made a significant finding regarding acquiring distinct capabilities, commonly known as living graces. These abilities are granted to individuals who demonstrate resilience amid challenging circumstances, as shown by Vivian's courageous battle with cancer. This narrative, which stimulates contemplation and motivation, presents profound insights for individuals striving to achieve triumph in their lives.

A fundamental lesson extracted from the book pertains to the significance of recognizing mortality as a natural element of being. Dr. Felix is presented with the integrity of mortality and acquires a more profound comprehension of life's delicacy due to his spouse's ailment. This statement serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of acknowledging human mortality and maximizing the utilization of the finite time available to us.

The narrative presented by Dr. Felix details his personal experience of grappling with the fear of mortality and the inclination to evade introspection on its inescapable nature. The apprehension expressed by individuals towards death is a commonly shared sentiment, given the tendency of society to avoid or attach a negative connotation to this subject matter. Dr. Felix is compelled to confront his apprehensions and reconcile with the inescapable reality of mortality due to his wife's illness. This disclosure functions as a potent prompt that mortality is an inherent component of our being, and by recognizing its existence, we can more effectively value the value of life.

The book delves into a significant theme regarding the importance of treasuring every moment and optimizing its potential. Before Vivian's diagnosis, Dr. Felix had not fully appreciated the value of time, as he had postponed significant endeavors and disregarded his well-being. The subject exhibits a proclivity towards deferring engagement in significant endeavors, functioning under the belief of boundless temporal assets (Felix & Wilkins, 2004). Witnessing his partner's difficulties prompts him to re-evaluate his perspective and recognize the significance of every fleeting instant. The recognition of time as a finite resource is a stimulant, motivating individuals to maximize their experiences and participate in activities that yield a feeling of contentment and joy.

Comparing my life to the reading, it drastically changed when I moved to the US seven years ago as a nursing student. My fast nursing program and inability to work have left little time for personal affairs. My long-distance relationship with my lover in Iran added to the stress. He arrived one year ago after nearly seven years of waiting for his visa. However, my nursing program started simultaneously, causing us both worry.

"The School of Dying Graces" made me realize I had neglected my guy. Last year, I neglected our emotional relationship to focus on myself and my studies. The novel was a wake-up call that life is unpredictable and unforeseen events can transform our lives. It reminded me to prioritize my important life events, such as cultivating my long-awaited relationship and supporting my parents in Iran. It reminded me to make time for these vital relationships instead of making excuses.

The recurring motif within the book pertains to the concept of attaining triumph while persevering through hardship. Dr. Felix notes her resilience, persistence, and unwavering commitment throughout his spouse's cancer battle. Vivian's ability to embrace life fully despite her circumstances is a source of inspiration for Dr. Felix and offers valuable insights into the resilience of the human spirit. Identifying meaning and purpose in the face of adversity resonates, emphasizing that our responses to challenges can shape our perspectives and transform hardship into an opportunity for growth (Felix & Wilkins, 2004).

The text emphasizes the importance of empathy and companionship, as elucidated in the literary work. Dr. Felix fulfills the position of a hospice chaplain and interacts with individuals in the terminal phase of their lives. Through these interactions, he gains insights into the importance of empathy and assistance to those experiencing hardship. The observer directly observes the effects of compassionate presence and the deep solace it provides to individuals requiring assistance. This statement highlights the importance of demonstrating empathy towards others and actively participating in interpersonal relationships during pivotal situations. The statement underscores the significance of cultivating interpersonal relationships, especially during periods of fragility and ambiguity.

Furthermore, the literature emphasizes practicing mindfulness and cultivating present awareness. Dr. Felix expounds upon his personal experiences with anxiety and apprehension and elucidates how his spouse's ailment presented a chance to foster a mindset of mindfulness and attentiveness toward the present. Notwithstanding her ailment, Vivian's capacity to derive aesthetic and pleasurable experiences from mundane instances motivates her. Dr. Felix appreciates the present moment and relinquishes the inclination to exert control over all facets of existence. As a result, I can make time for my critical relationships by being more intentional with my schedule and setting aside time for interaction. The mindfulness approach employed by the individual enables the mitigation of apprehensions and preoccupations about future events, thereby fostering an enhanced state of tranquillity and overall welfare.


The academic text reads as follows: The educational institution known as "The School of Dying Graces" provides a stimulating and motivational examination of concepts on the inevitability of death, valuing every instant and adopting a mindful approach. This book has helped me ponder my life, relationships, and mortality, cherishing each moment, empathy, and mindfulness. It made me rethink my priorities and respect my relationships more. I am glad for this book's perspective, and I am determined to incorporate these teachings in my daily life as I continue my nursing student path with its challenges and delights." The book offers significant perspectives on leading a purposeful and dignified life by drawing from Dr. Felix's personal experiences and his spouse's terminal ailment. This statement highlights the significance of recognizing mortality as an innate aspect of being, optimizing the worth of each moment and demonstrating compassion towards others.


Felix, R., & Wilkins, R. (2004). The School of Dying Graces: A journey of extraordinary intimacy with god. SaltRiver.

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