Be Defiant In the Face of Death

For someone who is seriously ill, celebrating life and relationships is almost a defiant act. Even death can’t take from us who we are and have been for one another. Dr. Ira Byock, author of Dying Well

Dr. Byock, a palliative care physician and expert in end of life decisions, believes that nobody should have to die in pain or alone. He is dedicating his life to making this dream come true. While dying is unwanted, sometimes tragic, and always sad, it’s not only those things. It can also be a time of celebrating a life well lived and the relationships one has made.

Accepting the reality of death enables families to say thank you or please forgive me. When death is talked about openly, it gives the patient the opportunity to express his/her concerns about spouses, children or grandchildren, finances, or other pressing issues. Honest conversation unlocks the door of guilt and secrecy frequently associated with serious illness.

Affirmation: I’m not afraid to talk about death and dying.

Coaching questions: What are your end of life wishes? Do you know the wishes of your spouse, parents or grandparents? What would it be like to openly discuss death and dying even with those who are well? Take a first step in initiating discussions.

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