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Dying Well: Peace and Possibilities at the End of Life Paperback – March 1, 1998
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On his deathbed, faced with creditors and unpaid bills, Oscar Wilde said despairingly, "I am dying beyond my means!" If only the poor, beleaguered genius had read this book! None of us gets out of here alive, but reading this book will lessen your fear of the ultimate end and give you some guidance about enjoying your life to the fullest right up until your final moment. Do people really enjoy life in the face of death? People do. The stories of individuals in Dr. Byock's book will move and inspire you to change your feelings about the end of your life, and also your feelings about your life in the present. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This study of how to die well displays uncommon vitality. Byock, president elect of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, is a gifted storyteller. Beginning with his own father's terminal illness, he details without scientific cant the process of decline that awaits most of us. The case studies, which form the humanistic soul of this work, never devolve into the maudlin or saccharine. Life on the edge of the great crossing is explored in all its sadness and pathos, but Byock also makes room for wisdom, hope and even the joy of final understanding. By recounting the passages of patients in his Missoula, Mont., practice, Byock makes a forceful case for hospice care and against physician-assisted suicide. He demonstrates how the physical pain and emotional despair of the dying may be handled. The family constellation of the terminally ill is also analyzed, with emphasis on a hospice's ability, through its doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers, to help those left behind. Not only is this book informative, especially the question-and-answer section at the end, it is also insightful. Readers will sense Byock's personal growth as his understanding of final issues flowers through a 20-year specialization. Byock recalls his growth from a callow resident to a concerned son and, finally, to a healer with a mission. Whether it's the middle-aged mother who must resolve disillusionment with her sister, the bitter father of three who achieves serenity or the gutsy teenage girl with a rare genetic disease, the people whose sojourns Byock recounts receive from him the dignity they merit. German rights to Kinder Verlag; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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.
I bought the book so as to know how to better relate with relatives that have the big C. I was looking for some understanding of what they might be feeling and how to talk to them, things that I might do to ease their mental anguish rather than add to it by inept, uncaring action. This book delivers in all respects and is one you may re-read from time to time for its striking insights.
All of us are in the process of dying, some of us are just closer than others - keep that in mind and buy this book.