Sharon Prentice, PhD is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor and a Board-Certified Spiritual Counselor. Soon after completing her graduate studies in psychology, Dr. Prentice found the world of secular psychology lacking – her patients needed “something more.” She set out to investigate and explore alternative methods in the field of mental health that would incorporate that “something special” she believed existed in each and every individual soul. Because of her unusual experience with death, she developed an interest in death and dying and investigated and interviewed patients who were in the dying process and people who had experienced Near Death Experiences or Shared Death Experiences. Her new book “Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light” is a thought-provoking book that opens the conversation regarding the afterlife, including NDEs and SDEs.
A Near Death Experience is defined as a personal experience associated with death or impending death that includes feelings of detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security and warmth, among others. A Shared Death Experience is similar, but occurs not to the person dying, but to someone who is physically well and completely unaware that a loved one is close to dying. They witness the aftermath of death via powers outside their control. The author experienced such an SDE which was tied to the passing of her husband.
“Becoming Starlight” begins with A Note from the Author and a Foreword by Dr. Raymond Moody where he explains that, aside from discussing NDE and SDE, “the book will also bring comfort to those who are feeling unrelenting grief over lost loved ones.” The Introduction serves to define what NDEs and SDEs are and how they are similar. There are fifteen chapters in all and the first few chronicle her personal life and the deep losses that brought her to the point where she was angry at God and viewed death as cold and inflexible. Chapter 11: Becoming Starlight describes her Shared Death Experience that changed her perspective on life, death and God.
In this deeply personal book, Sharon Prentice shares her long and difficult journey to find inner peace and cope with the death of her daughter and husband, all while trying to reconnect with God. Even though the subject matter may be difficult at times, including the details of her husband’s illness and deteriorating health, some readers may find solace in knowing that others, like themselves, have also experienced such hardships. The language is easy to understand and the story flows from chapter to chapter and makes it a page turner for the target audience. In this case, it is the religious community that may find themselves questioning their faith and are looking for reassurances that in the end, their faith is not in vain. Sometimes the tone is unforgiving to scientists, science and those who do not believe in the afterlife and may turn off some readers. Regardless, the highlight is definitely the author’s description of her Shared Death Experience as it comes across as a beautiful experience that surrounded her with love, hope and comfort when she needed it most. “Becoming Starlight” is recommended for readers who are genuinely interested in the afterlife and need the comforting words of someone who, despite heartbreaking losses, came out a better person.
“Becoming Starlight is….an account, my account, of a Soul’s journey that leads to an unraveling of a lifetime of beliefs about God and our very existence in this universe.”
*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.