With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

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With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

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Kathryn Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. We might not like the thought of ripping the rotting flesh from our loved one’s bones, but for some, burning a body is equally repugnant. Si bien se aprende uno que otro concepto sobre cómo es el proceso de muerte en personas con cuidados paliativos, en los que se puede aplicar uno que otro consejo, parece más un libro de “mini cuentos”.

Really this is the kind of book I would like to own a copy of and read steadily, just a chapter a week. In my limited experience, a couple of deaths have fit her model, and a few others have involved more pain and discomfort than she describes but were otherwise similar. She believes that a better public awareness about what happens as we die would reduce fear and enable people to discuss their hopes and plans with the people who matter to them. I agree with almost everything Mannix says; I would like her, or someone like her, to be my compassionate, wise doctor when I lie dying, easing me out when my time has come. Since the author is writing as someone working in palliative care, she also ignores / maybe doesnt know about the bits before patients get to palliative care.Some of the hardest cases are those that have one close loved one who are not sure how they will cope alone. Skulls used as flowerpots, bodies made into compost on a body farm, corpses covered with rose petals, funerals conducted by men with dreadlocks and purple frock coats – what Doughty relishes are those rituals that acknowledge death, its bodily fact and its emotional enormity. It’s a complicated truth: we all fear dying, and we all fear it in different ways, according to our individual circumstances and life experiences.

Interestingly centred around the time when the perspective of life and meaning are under scrutiny and question.

Her mission is to “reclaim public understanding of dying” and to bring individuality and joy back into our dealings with the dead – and so, in From Here to Eternity, she embarks on a journey of discovery: to the only open pyre in America; to a sky burial in Tibet, where the body breaker slices the corpse into parts, pounds the flesh with a mallet, mixes it with barley flour and yak butter or milk, and leaves it to the shrieking vultures to consume; to burial towers in India; to the people of Tana Toraja in Indonesia, where mummified bodies are cared for in their home (offered food, dressed, even given a bed with the living) over months or years until the family can sacrifice an animal and put the dead to their final rest; to Barcelona’s mass bone pits; Mexico’s Day of the Dead. With the End in Mind is my attempt to capture the wisdom of dying and death, distilled into stories that take us to those places we believe are too dark to endure, and yet that are illuminated by human resilience, hope and love. They have all been of interest and informed me to some degree whether they illustrate personal stories or look at the bigger picture. Nevertheless I readily commend this book as an extremely helpful aid to patients and carers and even acquaintances of those who are dying.

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