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Showing 1-10 of 127 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 157 reviews
on July 14, 2016
A reassuring and hopeful guide for anyone new to the process of death and dying -- and in the age of improved public sanitation and advanced medicine, that means a lot of us. Perhaps our great-grandparents wouldn't have needed a book like this, as they witnessed deaths throughout the lifespan. "Dying Well" reduced my fears and informed me: A. about the process of dying,B. what medicine can do to help, C. that once you get over the fact you're dying and can't stop it, you can have people help you meet other goals -- snuggling with your cat, graduating high school, going sailing for the last time, having your gurney trundled into the woods to say goodbye to the trees. (Those are my examples, most of them are not from this book.) I consider this book a pioneering, foundational and seminal text -- I'm amazed it hasn't been reviewed by more people. Given our desire to avoid the subject out of fear and misplaced "positive thinking," we need more books like this to paint the landmarks and fill in the various colors of the landscape of death and dying, especially very slow deaths by "the dwindles" that many elderly people experience now.
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on May 25, 2015
Having lost a few friends recently, i was looking for something that would connect the dots for me, loss, grieving, dying, meaning. Once ordered, i couldnt stop reading, the personal stories of loss, bereavement, grief, and how death can be transformational not just for the dying but for the survivors, are powerful stories. After wards, i think the stories remind me of our humanity, how fragile life can be, only one step away from tragedy, how we must all succumb to nature, the science of keeping dying people alive, managing pain medication. I think at the end of it all, it is about dying well, looking back at my own life, to know or at least have some sense of knowing that i did live well, not to have regrets about not having done this or that, or missed this or that, that given the time that was allotted to one's own life, that i made the best of it, good and bad, challenging or successful, and not having wasted time, or let time fritter away what could have been opportunities. Also, the book reminds me of how important family, and good friends are, that when you are suffering and dying, trying to manage through the pain and suffering, the distance between being sick and death itself, that there is somebody who is willing to help, willing to step and look after you, instead of dying alone, there is someone you can talk to, chat about, share the last moments of beauty with, the simple things of existence, I think dying alone and unloved must be the most terrible death, knowing that everything you have materially dont amount to a hill of beans, when there is nobody who will miss you, miss your prescence, mourn your absence. When you are gone, you no longer exist, except only in the minds of the people, who wanna remember you, who mourn you, who miss you, you can only live on in their memories.
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on May 31, 2014
This book has been difficult to read, because facing death is difficult. The manner of our dying is as unique as the manner of our living, and having a choice in the way we spend our final days is important. This book gives a glimpse into the life of hospice physician, Dr. Ira Byock. In it, he shares the stories of patients (including his own father) and families who are "exploring the inherently human experience of dying."

This is a GREAT read for those who are themselves dying, for people who are caring for someone who is actively dying, or for those who are searching for answers; death needn't be a painful, lonely experience.

I was often moved by Dr. Byock's words of wisdom to his patients; that it was okay to die at home, surrounded by family, it was okay to stop eating and drinking if one wasn't hungry or thirsty, it was okay to hold onto those the things which define us; having our nails done, wearing nice pyjamas, smelling good, craving the touch of others, being read to, participating in conversations, feeling valued.

More importantly, this book showed me that there is still a possibility to learn, to heal our minds and hearts, to forgive others and OURSELVES, to express love and compassion, and to find purpose and meaning behind our lives while dying or while caring for someone who is. Spending time with someone at the end of their life, whether the person is conscious or not, is beneficial to all parties involved.

Please read this book, though you may need tissues...and perhaps a glass of wine.
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on December 20, 2016
Beautiful stories about how people have reached a sense of peace/growth/happiness at the end of their lives. It gave me hope while I was experiencing anticipatory grief and trying to be as supportive as possible as my best friend fought terminal cancer. However, it can be hard to realize that we are not able to help someone we love to "die well". Everyone dies on their own terms, and we are not in charge of their choices throughout their journey towards the end of life. I think I developed some unrealistic expectations as a result of reading this book. Either way, anything that can help families and loved ones begin to communicate about these challenging topics is a good thing in my book.
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on March 26, 2017
Excellent book about end of life decisions, care, conversations and how to love and connect. I read this for a medical social work class but it is a really interesting read if you are old, dying, or know someone who is. Written by a physician who has a real heart for his patients.
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on June 23, 2013
Very intimate and thoughtful book appropriate for any caregiver of a dying man or woman, whether a hospice patient or not.
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on March 12, 2017
An incredible book; wonderfully written and so poignant! I love!
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on April 7, 2017
I bought this to use as a textbook for my End of Life Ethics class. It is a great read, even if not for academic purposes.
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on October 6, 2014
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on September 7, 2012
This is the second book by Ira Byock that I've read recently. Both have been thought-provoking. In this one, as the title suggests, he discusses a topic that the vast majority of us avoid. He makes you think not only about your loved ones who have died or who are seemingly close, but also how you personally hope to "die with dignity" when the time comes. There are a wide variety of cases as examples and each one touches your heart in a different way. I was always at least misty-eyed, if not sobbing at the end of a chapter.
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