Ira Byock is a prof of medicine at Dartmouth University and discusses "dying well". They talked about a lot and most of it was worthy of being mentioned in here, so I'll start by just listing the notes I took while listening:
Death is a failure of the body and medicine
In the 70's, hospice care was a social, counter cultural movement, it was not the norm.
Treat dying as a developmental time, a time of value in human life. Most of us have "medicalized" the end of life.
We should all attempt to "die well".
4 things that matter most - states of being:
Please forgive meI forgive youThank youI love you
It's easiest to say these when near the end of life or when there was a close call, like a car accident, because we are in the right frame of mind where none of the past matters.
Life threatening illness, injury makes buddhists of us all, we no longer feel immortal, it brings to light how our relationships are most important to us.
Love is stronger than death, death cannot take away love.
We have an unbelievable will to live, humans at the time of death are: vulnerable yet confident, insignificant yet meaningful, really the most real of any time in our lives.
Medical advances at some point work against the concept of dying well, as we're nowhere near making people immortal. Rather than being mentally and spiritually prepared and in a good state of mind, we hope or expect a cure to keep us living.
I really enjoyed listening to this. I would recommend anyone going through or who has a family member going through a serious illness to listen to this. What Byock talks about seems so simple and logical, yet put into real practice can seem so unattainable. He explains his views in a manner that makes the topic of dying almost calming, if that's possible. Having a father who has been battling (and winning thus far) stage IV lung cancer for the past 5 years, listening to this really added a calming perspective to dying and serious illness.
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