Tag Archives: goodbye

We never know how high we are

Till we are called to rise.

                                                            Emily Dickinson

It could be suggested that the “good death” is falsely named in the field of thanatology and in the popular press.  It implies an ideal state, one which of course, we cannot have.  Never agonize over ideals when the problem is as urgent as death.  Perhaps it should be renamed “the good-enough death,” one that is sufficient and satisfactory to both the dying person and the caregiver.  It is the best that can be achieved at that time, in that place, by those people, with that problem, in their particular situation.  Maya Angelou was right to say, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you know better, you will do better.”   Death and dying are extremely personal. Continue reading

I pulled the stifling surgical mask off my face as I left my last patient’s room. I had just finished suturing a complicated facial laceration and was bone-tired from the evening. Glancing at the clock, I saw that mercifully, my shift was over.

Collapsing into my chair to finish up my charting, I was slightly annoyed when my nurse held a clip-board in front of my face, “Here is your next patient.”

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Emotional wellness is important to cultivate in all phases of living, but may be most naturally available at the end of life—the very time when the wellness of the body may be waning.

How is this so?

When people have a sure knowledge that they are nearing the end of their lives, a new type of energy is unleashed. Old inhibitions and blockages may be released. An emotional and spiritual window of opportunity opens which allows love to be shared more freely, old grudges to fall away in insignificance, and relationship healing to occur which seemed unobtainable at other times of life. Continue reading