David Kessler (writer)

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David Kessler (born February 16, 1959) is an author, public speaker, and death and grieving expert. He has published many books, including two co-written with the psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living, and On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Grief. His first book, The Needs of the Dying, received praise from Mother Teresa and Marianne Williamson.[1]


Kessler was born in Rhode Island. He did his undergraduate work at USC and graduate work at Loyola Marymount University in Bioethics. His mother died in 1973, an event that influenced his later work greatly.[2] Now as a modern-day thanatologist he follows death wherever it may occur. Therefore, his work is a hybrid of several occupations, including working with the dying in hospitals and hospice, volunteering as a reserve officer on the police trauma team, and participating with the Red Cross on aviation disasters as well as its disaster team.[3]


Kessler concentrates in hospice, palliative care, grief and loss. His latest work includes interviews about afterlife, near death studies and near death awareness. He also is chairperson for the Hospital Association of Southern California Palliative Care Committee.[4] His experiences have taken him from Auschwitz concentration camp to Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying Destitute in Calcutta. He also worked with Anthony Perkins, Michael Landon and industrialist Armand Hammer when they faced their own deaths.[5]

Relationship with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross[edit]

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., was a psychiatrist and the author of the book On Death and Dying. She was one of the world's foremost authorities on the psychology of dying and is credited with changing attitudes towards the terminally ill.[6] In 1995 she suffered a series of major strokes, which left her paralyzed and facing her own death. It was during this time that she and David Kessler wrote their first book together, Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living.

Kübler-Ross died in 2004. Her last book, co-written with David Kessler, On Grief and Grieving, was completed one month before her death. David Kessler worked closely with Elisabeth for ten years and was with her as she was dying.[7] He feels it is part of his mission to keep her work alive for the next generation.[8]


  • Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief (Scribner 2019)
  • Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die (Hay House 2010)[9]
  • With Elisabeth Kübler Ross, On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss (Simon & Schuster 2005)
  • Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach us about the Mysteries of Life and Living (Simon & Schuster 2001)
  • The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life’s Final Chapter (HarperCollins 1997 and 2007)


  1. ^ "Dellinger, R.W. The Tidings, Catholic Weekly Newspaper. 9 July 2010. http://www.the-tidings.com/2010/070910/books.htm Archived 2010-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ David Kessler The Real Mother's Day Gift Is Mom. Oprah.com 2 May 2010
  3. ^ The Needs of The Dying. David Kessler. Harper Collins. 2007.
  4. ^ "Citrus Valley Health Partners’ David Kessler Celebrated in 10th Anniversary Edition of “The Needs of the Dying.” CVHP. Web. 25 July 2010. http://www.cvhp.org/About_Us/In_The_News/Articles/Needs_of_the_Dying.aspx
  5. ^ Foreman, Jacqueline. PRLog. 13 August 2008. http://www.prlog.org/10104021-david-kessler-co-author-of-on-grief-and-grieving-with-elisabeth-kubler-ross-to-be-interviewed.html
  6. ^ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Telegraph. 26 August 2004. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1470196/Elisabeth-Kubler-Ross.html
  7. ^ "The Extraordinary Ordinary Death of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross." American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. November 2004.
  8. ^ The Grieving Relative. Margo Hammond & Ellen Heltzel. Good Housekeeping Magazine, December 2005. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/books/books-2005-holiday-dec05?click=main_sr
  9. ^ Books in the News. Ciuraru, Carmela. LA Times. 29 June 2010. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/29/entertainment/la-et-book29-20100629

External links[edit]