There are a significant number of people who work in hospice care who are around dying people every day. Nurses, spiritual advisors, doctors. It struck me that they must have some interesting stories to tell. So I was wondering does anyone know of any books that have been written about this material?
"With the End in Mind" By Kathryn Mannix. She qualified as a doctor in 1982 and became a consultant specialising in palliative medicine in 1995.
"Final Gifts" by Maggie Callanan. Since becoming a hospice nurse in 1981, Maggie Callanan has studied, taught, and written about death and dying.
Awesome, fede, thank you very much. I will see about getting these after I have finished with Viktor E Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Abraham Maslow’s Toward A Psychology of Being.
I feel like reading a few books again.
I haven't actually read these books. I found them with a Google search, so I don't know what they're like...
I did a Google search as well, of course, but didn’t find these two, so I’m glad for the pointer. The first seems more my kind of book than the second, so I will try it out.
I will just give credit where credit is due.
I came across a story from Eckhart Tolle, who spent a number of years working in a hospice as a spiritual counsellor. As he told it, he had a client who was an elderly woman who was dying but in longer term care, and one day she told him she had lost a valuable ring, and she suspected her household carer, who she was on very good terms with, of having taken it. Tolle said to her, I am going to ask you a series of questions, and he asked her how having the ring would change her remaining days. She thought about it and said, actually it wouldn’t affect it at all. She didn’t take action against the carer, and over the remaining months she gave away a lot of her possessions, some to the carer. And with each gift, she seemed to become lighter and less troubled. In the end, after she had passed away, her daughter told Eckhart that they had found the ring in the bathroom cabinet.
It just inspires me that someone can make such a difference.
Reminds me of the story I heard a lady tell about losing a piece of luggage when travelling via aeroplane years ago.
She was extremely upset at the time (as most of us would be).
The Airline spent some time trying to find it but eventually conceded it was gone.
She had to call up the Airline and list out all the things that were in the luggage. She said after a couple of minutes of this she realised the futility of what she was doing and burst out laughing.
Told them not to worry about and moved on...
Having lost an entire storage container's worth of property, due to an 'impecunious' hurdle we had to negotiate, I can equate.
It's quite something to voluntarily divest one's self of clutter, supercial belongings and excessive trappings, but when one is forced or obliged to lose what has amounted to an entire lifetime's collection of belongings, it's a totally different ball-game. It can take time to adjust.
And it's not always easy to understand and accept that 'they're only "things" after all', but that IS the way to come to terms with loss.
They're only 'things', after all.... and as the saying goes, you can't take it with you.
But losing things and letting things go are not exactly the same… in the first, the movement is forced, the mental adjust comes afterward because you have no choice; in the second, there is an inner volition, the movement begins from within and manifests without.
Well....Yah.... that was my point....
Our place has a transitional floor for people on the waiting list for end of life care but we have a few palliative residents as well. We just lost one yesterday that I was having a great conversation with just the day before. I am not a nurse or doctor, just a PSW trained to give medication but I love my job.
I may write a book some day but I've been saying that for years.
This has now arrived and I’m reading the first few chapters, it’s pretty good, every patient’s story that is told has a point to it. I think I may recommend it to my uncle’s wife.
Glad it's a good purchase, @Kerome.
For those of us living in a worldwide hospice. Might be time to become the book we have been righting or wronging.
And now back to the Mahayana Global Hospice bookings …
Well, I mean books are great and all but why get this kind of insight second hand? If it isn't something you want to do all the time, most hospices and similar settings will accept volunteers if they come with a clean criminal check.
Yea @david, I looked into that. There is a hospice not that far from where I live.
Just be prepared for some emotional reaction. It is really nice to be able to help and ease some suffering but to do that you have to relate. It is hard not to grow fond of people even when you know they are on the way out.
For every one I help or lose, my practice deepens but I am grateful for my daily practice on the cushion. It helps with caregiver burnout.
It’s kind of becoming clear that hospice work tends be accompanying the dying, up to the moment of death. When death happens, the body is whisked away within a few hours. My feeling is that accompanying the recently-dead is at least as interesting.
Perhaps I should move to Tibet and practice there…