A good death?

Cooper, Andrew (2016) A good death? Journal of Social Work Practice, 30 (2). pp. 121-127. ISSN 0265-0533 Full text available

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Abstract

This paper offers some personal reflections on the idea of ‘a good death’, a theme in the writing of philosophers since classical times. The hospice movement has made immense progress in creating conditions in which we can ‘die better’. But such experiences are still the exception rather than the rule. The psychological challenge is how to relate to the dying as they are dying, and how as we die we relate to the living. I reflect on my own experience of my father’s death, and a moment of fleeting but genuine contact between us. Atul Gawande’s idea of the ‘hard conversations’ we must learn to have as we approach death are enlightening. Ultimately I argue, we die alone, and how we are, or are not, ‘held in mind’ as we approach death may be an index of the nearest we can approach to the idea of an ‘afterlife’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 30 Jul 2016. This paper is based on a talk given at the Institute of Classical Studies/Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust Symposium, ‘A Good Death?’ October 28th 2015.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Good Death, Dying, Hard conversations, Emotional Contact
Subjects: Emotions, Affective Psychology > Grief/Mourning/Loss
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/1426

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