“Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light” by Sharon Prentice, PhD— The Shared Death Experience


Prentice, Sharon, PhD. “Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light”, Waterside Productions Inc., 2018

The Shared Death Experience

Amos Lassen

Before I read this I had never heard of the Shared Death Experience (SDE). I learned that SDE is similar to the Near Death Experiment except that it occurs not to the person who is dying, but to their loved one who is physically well. The person who experiences SDE could be sitting right next to their loved one, or sitting across the room, or even across the globe unaware of the impending death of someone they love. The loved one, is “invited along” to witness the aftermath of physical death –the person accompanying the dying individual can neither accept nor refuse–they are just “taken” or “given” the experience by powers outside of their control.

“Becoming Starlight” is a story of an SDE. I am still not sure how to react to this because of the way my religion looks at death and what comes afterwards. Dr. Prentice’s gives us a thought-provoking advance that can help bring about progress toward rational enlightenment on the afterlife question if such a thing is possible. Dr. Prentice opens many new avenues for thinking about death. This is a true story about how we are connected to those we love both in love, in death and beyond.

Written as a memoir about love and loss and the Shared Death Experience, “Becoming Starlight” is about when the author experienced the Shared Death Experience in which she was transported to a place of peace, grace and starlight as her husband took his last breath and left the world of the living. We read of Dr. Prentice’s tumultuous relationship with God during the deaths of both her daughter and husband, and her eventual redemption through the Shared Death Experience at the moment of her husband’s death. 

This Shared Death Experience is a profound transcendent consciousness  that gave the author a peek into “forever-ness”.  We find in part of the story the struggle with lack of spirituality and the loss of faith that happens to almost everyone at some point.  We also read of “tremendous love, agonizing loss, quiet rage, inconsolable sorrow, and a complete fall from Grace. At the heart of it is a war between who lives and dies, a battle that brings us face to face with our own mortality.”

Dr. Prentice feels that her experiences have profoundly and permanently changed her life. She begins by relating her personal tragedies that, by the time of her SDE, had made her feel that God was cruel and uncaring and that death is ugly and inflexible. She says that SDE was such an overwhelming experience of compassion, familiarity, and peace that  her perspective changed. I am not sure that I believe what is written here but I do plan to think about it.

This is not the kind of book that I would usually read by now that I have, I realize how little I have thought about death and what comes ever. It is not too late to do so.

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