Becoming Experts at Dying: Death in a Culture of Mastery

  “This thing I am doing — this is really hard; I’m afraid I’m not good at it” my friend said as she looked up at me from her bed.  Just two weeks earlier, a fall in an airport led to a visit to the Emergency Room, a diagnosis with end-stage cancer, and quickly to this room in a nursing facility.  Death was not a new experience for her.  Decades as a minister had given her the opportunity to contemplate death, to preach about death, and to sit exactly where I was sitting:  at the bedside of a dying friend. […]

Sit, Be Quiet:  How to Support the Dying

“I haven’t called you, because I just don’t know what to say.”  My (former) husband had finally caught up with his relative, who admitted that he had been avoiding calls and requests for support.  “I have never been in your situation.  Your wife is dying.  I don’t know what that’s like, so how could I know how to help you?” the young person asked. I had just been diagnosed with a terminal condition, and I was quickly learning how challenging it was to find people who could help me.  Not with medical assistance, although that was challenging as well.  What […]