Two small, short, easy-to-read books that I wish someone had given to my husband and to me after we were told he probably didn’t have more than 6 months to live, were books I found after the fact.
One You Love is Dying and When You Know You’re Dying written by James Miller are practical, useful, and will aid you in facing intelligently the reality that lies ahead. Each of them offers 12 thoughts to guide you on the journey.
Too often we treat death like we treat sex. We know it is there, but we don’t talk about it.
When Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, author of On Death and Dying, first started her studies in this area, she recalls visiting doctors and nurses in a
“We don’t have any,” they said. Or, “You can’t talk to them because you’ll upset them if you as them any questions.”
When she finally got to the patients, over the opposition of the medical staff, she found they were hungry for someone to talk to and for someone who would listen to them.
Even though it is now “in” to be able to talk about dying, the reality is most of us don’t expect it to happen to our loved ones or to us.
The first time I became aware of how unprepared I was to walk someone I loved through the dying time was 1996. My husband Fred Lankard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of that year and 100 days later he died.
Looking back, I see that it was a time of great confusion and helplessness and isolation and bewilderment. No one looking at us from the outside would have possibly guessed the depth of that.
After Fred’s death, I came across a book titled Jewish Insights on Death and Mourning. I am not Jewish, but I found myself envious of their rituals and traditions that make clear what is to be done by those grieving as well as those who are caring for the grieving. By doing what the law requires, the community reaches out to embrace and say, “You are not alone, we care about you.”