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The Dying Teach Us

      How To Live

About the Book - The Dying Teach Us How to Live

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Artwork from the Heart

The Dying Teach Us How to Live Video


Why I Wrote and Illustrated Books with Life and Death Topics 


I embarked on my enforced death and dying journey at age 30 with the sudden death of my 54 year old father after a motorcycle/car accident. My 32 year old brother-in-law died in an explosion on an oil rig in the Philippines ten days later. Two family deaths in such a short time shattered our lives. Instantly, grief engulfed our existence. There was no support system such as hospice, no grief counseling and no knowledge of where to turn for help. I didn’t know that what I was experiencing was expected and normal for the situation. It seemed as if time stopped for me and I couldn’t understand why life for others continued on. My faith in God anchored me as I struggled to take one day at a time and find meaning in death.

I yearned to make a difference for others. I believed that other people could cushion their grief process with support services. My first job as a social worker was with a hospice. I embraced the joy of sharing hard-earned coping skills with the bereaved.

After two years, I needed to enter other social work systems while I raised my family. Hospice grief work encompasses long, emotionally charged days and nights that challenge a normal life at home. I worked in nursing homes, adult daycares and in community organizations. Hospice has always been my passion and I returned to share in the last days of each unique hospice patient and his or her family.

As a young mother, I became a childbirth educator for ten years. At one time I worked at hospice full-time and part-time teaching childbirth and breast feeding classes. One night, I was present at the same hospital for a birth and a death. The circle of life was complete: one person was entering the world and one was leaving it. It was a time of faith and appreciation for the miracle of life.

In the sidebar, is a picture of Alice, one of my patients. She was very ill but she refused to die until her great-grandchild was born. She was able to make that wish come true.

I have worked twenty nine years as a social worker. In the seventeen years as a Hospice Social Worker, as I listened to the final thoughts, feelings and faith of the dying, I was privileged to have them share near death experiences. They educated me about life and death. I used the stories I heard to teach, provide comfort and give hope to other patients and families. they often told me, “You should write a book.” I wrote “the Dying Teach Us How to Live” to make their lives and courage continue on. God has given me the talent to paint. I often created paintings of patients to give to families after their deaths. I am including a collection of my paintings and drawings as the illustrations for this book that is the culmination of my life’s work.


My second book, currently unpublished, is titled, "God Winks, Steppingstones in the Storms of Life." This book contains original artwork and stories about God Winks that have happened in my life. These "coincidences" are messages to remind us that God is always present in our lives, especially during the most difficult times. The worst times of our life are opportunities to grow spiritually as we learn to rely on God and others who answer our prayers.  

My third book is about near death experiences, out of body traveling and experiencing deceased and living individuals in unique ways.  The artwork enhances the messages and attempts to visualize concepts difficult to comprehend.  It is about light, angels, incredible beauty and peace. 

Pat Acker MS, LSW
Former Hospice Social Worker

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