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Death and Dying - Patients & Families

Death & DyingTalking about death helps us to focus on living each day to the fullest. Talking about death will not lead to dying earlier; not talking about death will not lead to living longer.

Our life is a story.  Birth is the first chapter. Death is the last chapter. Giving birth (the birthing process) can be "good" or it can be "bad". That is, giving birth can be difficult and not at all what one wanted or planned for…or it can be wonderful, what one expected and planned for and even more. The same can be said about death and dying.

Death is a normal part of life. Most of us do not look at it like this because unlike birth, death is feared tremendously. Because we fear death so much, we don’t like to talk about death and dying, especially in public. We tend to shy away from talking specifically about it – frequently referring to it by other words e.g., passing on or passing away…or we avoid talking about it at all. This happens to all of us at one time or another -- as husbands, wives, adult children of aging parents, doctors or nurses, lawyers or priests or ministers.

Coming to terms with death and understanding how it affects you or your loved ones takes time.  Death can be better understood and accepted through a number of creative and artistic outlets such as music, painting, and writing; or you may prefer to reflect on the creative work of others who have dealt with death in their own lives.  Producing and experiencing art, in any of these forms, may help you to better express your own emotions and feelings which will ultimately help you to better understand them.  For example, a source for poems is Family Friend Poems.  They offer a collection of Family Death Poems that may be comforting to read.  If you produce a piece of writing or poetry that you would like to share, Family Friend Poems also accepts new submissions from both amateur and expert poets.

Many of us are unable to talk about death when we or someone we know is approaching death.  This makes death and dying that much more frightening.  There are good or beautiful deaths that occur in a manner that matches the wishes and desires of the person dying.  Listening to the stories of others who have experienced good deaths may be helpful in learning how to start a conversation about death and dying in your family.  You can listen to the experiences others have had with death and dying and learn how to take action in your life by watching some of the videos in our video library.