On Illness and Dying

“People are not limited so much by their illness as by their attitude to  it. The illness may present physical challenges, but the emotional challenge is often far more important. Our human spirit may stumble as the path ahead appears too daunting, yet  with support and encouragement, our resilience can be re-enabled and used to find creative solutions. We are all individuals, and one person’s plan may not be a good fit for  another who, outwardly at least, appears to be in a similar situation. Enabling people to be architects of  their own solution is key to respecting their dignity. They are only in a new phase of life; they have not abdicated personhood.” *

Excerpt from With the End in Mind: Dying,  Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix, MD,author, palliative care doctor for 30 years and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) practitioner.

Why this book?

I heard Dr. Mannix on a CBC podcast ** and knew that I had to read her book.  Listening to her on the podcast and reading her book make me wish that I could sit down and talk with her in person. She seems kind and wise.

Instead, I read a chapter every morning. Her writing gives me much to think about as I recall deaths of my loved ones and contemplate the deaths that I will encounter in my family, friends, neighbors, and, of course, myself.

Some might think that reading about deaths would be depressing. Actually, I find it comforting. It gives me a framework for thinking and talking about the inevitable. ~Lori

*….They are only in a new phase of life; they have not abdicated personhood.” When my Husband was dying from cancer, he commented more than once, “I am still here!” He hated when his loved ones (including me) tried to shield him. He worked until about a week before he died…from his hospital bed. He was as active and engaged as his illness permitted until the end.

**”White Coat, Black Art” and “The Dose” CBC podcasts with Dr. Brian Goldman.