Dying Well

Dying Well bookA good friend of mine heard Dr. Ira Byock interviewed on NPR Sunday morning.  Since she is one of my interview subjects for the paper in this class, she was intrigued by what Dr Byock had to say.  Apparently her participation in this assignment has caused her to think quite a bit about end of life issues. 

This book is just one of several by Dr Byock that sound very interesting and will go on my reading list.

Not Fade Away



This short novel was a phenomenal read. Peter Barton was a wealthy entrepreneur whom was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. All his life he worried about dying early from cardiovascular disease like his father and grandfather- he made sure to exercise and maintain his health. Nevertheless, his uncontrollable fate of a short life was played out by a terminal illness. I suggest reading this book because it goes against the norm of our death denying culture. It embraces the importance of life and death. It really does an amazing job of putting you in the shoes of someone benefiting from palliative care and how he made the most of his last moments. Like most he did not want to die in a hospital and he made sure his life ended like he wanted to with the help of his doctors. I promise this book will be worth the read! 🙂

World Unknown

When my life comes to an end,

I ask for not too much time spent in tears, instead I pray you smile and rejoice to the life that I lived.

Let sunshine radiate through the room, let my body not be buried and in open view, instead I ask it be cremated and ready to cast out to the endless sea.

I invite all my loved ones and friends to spend a moment and share what words they left unsaid, if it may be joyous, sad, or cruel I invite them forward and be true.

To those I leave behind, do not spend a fortune on the possessions of the earth, for I look forward to the world unknown- my heaven where we will all reunite.

Soul Leaving the body


I came across this article and immediately thought of this course. In one of the lectures we discussed the soul and the definition of death. Early definitions of death included the soul leaving the body. However, there were many problems with this definition. One, how can we measure when the soul leaves, and two, the belief in a soul. In this article, Russian scientists believe they have captured an image of the exact moment the soul leaves the body.

Thoughts on “Judge Declares man Legally dead” EC

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” This famous quote by George Eliot is very moving and means that as long as deceased people are still in our hearts and memories, its almost like they are still around. Well in this article, the exact opposite is what’s going on, and this man was legally declared dead by a judge. Donald Eugene Miller Jr., a recovering alcoholic, was declared dead legally after disappearing for eight years. Now, even though you would think that it should be wrong for a person to be declared dead when really it is just an assumption, I feel that there has to be a line drawn in order to finally declare someone as dead. If he was only gone for a few months to a year, then maybe that would be a different story, but disappearing for 8 YEARS is absolutely ridiculous and gives the law no reason to have any clue that one may be alive. What if he actually did die? Like say got lost at sea while on a boat or something of that matter to be gone for 8 years. That’s what one would assume, but either way, now that he is appearing in court, he should have the rights to his social security back and his death certificate revoked even though there is a 3 year limit to revoke it. Overall, I found this article to be quite controversial in terms of what the law should do to help him legally get his life back. It is a case that seems so odd and irregular that not even the law knows what to do. I can only imagine what is going on through the man’s head wile legally having the title of not living, while he is in fact breathing and alive.


Let’s talk about dying

So, I just randomly stumbled across this TED talk video during my casual stroll across the interweb and it really caught my attention. Mr. Peter Saul touches on how a majority of people “deny” death and are unprepared for an end-of-life event. He also goes into some research he had done with end of life patients in which the patients were asked what they wanted before death. A lot of what he was lecturing arose interesting questions that a majority of us don’t ask ourselves or others like, “Who would speak my wishes if I was incapacitated” or “Do you have a plan for your own or a family members death”; all very prominent questions that a majority of people disregard.

An interesting topic that I took from the lecture was the advertisement of life and life promoting quotes and how they can pertain to death. I believe that by promoting our knowledge of life and death synonymously in our society today, it could eventually lead those who fear, deny, or are unaware of death towards the acceptance of our dying process.

Just a little brain food for all my fellow bloggers! I hope you enjoyed it and don’t be scared to reply, new perspectives and insights are always welcome!

To Live On – Min Jeong Seo

To Live On - Min Jeong Seo

The stalks these flowers are already dried up but their blossoms are preserved and kept fresh by the medical infusion bags. The life-span of every living creature is limited.The infusion bags stand for the progress in medicine and the prolongation of human life.They somehow carry an ambivalent message as they refer to both death and life an the same time. Both states are immanent here. To preserve the beauty of the flowers artificially with the help of the infusion bags points out man’s inclination to repress the fact having to die and to postpone death

Min Jeong Seo – To Live On, 2005

On the Occasio…

On the Occasion of My Death

On the occasion of my death
how will I be remembered?
Will it be sobs and soaked handkerchiefs
or will it be laughter and heads
shaking in collective acknowledgment
to the silly and completely ridiculous
stories that will be told?
On the occasion of my death
how will I meet the one that will
usher me through the crossroads
of this life and the next?
Will it be with a bang, with a
silent whimper, or with my forehead
to the clouds a grin upon my fading
mouth and my hand reaching out first
to take her hand before she asks
for mine?
Will it be painful, will it hurt, will
I scream for it to be over or will
I, pushing through frozen bits of frozen
moments, understand the reason for the pain
and the explanation behind the hurt
and instead turn and bask in it, the final
sensation this skin and these bones will
ever feel this beautiful lap through
a breathtaking life.
On the occasion of my death
what will be the weather on the instant
and dizzying transition into
the occasion of my rebirth?
Will I enter through a storm
or through the gentle breeze of a sunny
day? Will the rain drops be my baptism
and will my first scream be only the echo
of my last scream in the flesh I used
to wear, and wear proudly?
On the occasion of my death
will the explosion be felt across
the planet or will it be the
single falling star spied by a single
lonely soul sitting on the roof of
some creaking house in the cool early
Autumn night? Will they feel me flicker
and fade and burst back into glowing
life or will I just fall into line
as the next star in a line of many
that make up some constellation?
Will sailors guide themselves by me,
will two young souls freshly in love
wish upon me when I come out while
the blue still hangs in the sky
and will I feel those wishes?
On the occasion of my death
what will become of all
that was? What will become
of all I was to be
on the occasion of my death?

-Tyler Knott Gregson-

I happened to stumble across this poem and I thought it was beautifully written.  The author touches on topics such as the afterlife, soul, and typical feelings concerning death and the unknown.  I hope some of you can enjoy this poem as much as I have.  I feel like it does a wonderful job getting readers to think about death and dying.

Big Bird Learns About Death

In this video, Big Bird plays the role of a child first learning about what death is and that it is irreversible . As we learned, this takes place when a child is around five years of age. This is also the primary audience age of a show like Sesame Street. Big Bird asks many of the same questions that a child would ask a parent who is experiencing this for the first time. Big Bird’s friends explain that when someone dies they do not come back and that this is apart of life. They also explain that it is okay to be sad, but that you can always remember your loved ones through your memories. The example they gave was a picture.

Heredity- loss of a father

In my Communication of Illness, Grief, and Loss class we were showed this video today as part of our curriculum. It is a spoken word by Dr. Ragan Fox. He speaks about the loss of his father, and the many years prior his death that they had not spoken. He realizes that his father’s un-approving view on his gay lifestyle was not worth the animosity. He is now only left with his father’s red suspenders to memorialize him by. This video is just one of the many examples that shows how short life really is. It reminds us to settle the disputes we have with those who are important in our life, for one day before we know it they may be gone.