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Good Morning All!
  I am reading "The Book of Two Ways" by Jodi Picoult.  It is an interesting read and goes back and forth between her being an Egyptologist and a death doula.  I am going to post a part from her book that is in relation to the death doula part.  I think some of it is fitting for us going through treatment, recurrence and palliative care.  I hope you find it interesting or worth pondering.  It is also going to be written here exactly from the book so I apologize that there is not use of pronouns in it.
"Things you shouldn't do when someone is dying:
Don't talk about when your aunt or your grandmother or dog died.  This isn't about you, and the sick person shouldn't have to comfort you; it should be the other way around.  There are concentric circles of grief: the patient is at the center, the next layer is the caregiver, then their kids, then close friends, and so on.  Figure out what circle you're in.  If you are looking into the concentric circles, you give comfort.  If you're looking out, you receive it.
Don't say things that aren't true: You're going to beat this cancer!  It's all about a positive outlook!  You look stronger!  You aren't fooling anyone.
Don't overact your happiness.  It's okay to be sad with someone who is dying.  They've invited you close at a very tender time, and that's a moment of grace you can share.
Don't think you have to discuss the illness.  Sometimes, a sick person needs a break.  And if you ask up front if he wants to talk about how he feels--or doesn't--you're giving him control at a time when he doesn't have a lot of choices.  
Don't be afraid of the silence. It's okay to say nothing.
Don't forget:  No one knows what to say to someone who's dying.  Everyone is afraid of saying the wrong thing.  It's more important to be there than to be right."


  • Fearless_Moderator
    @strongwoman, an absolutely well written and thoughtful piece on a topic that's so hard for almost everyone.  I'd add in Brene Brown's take on empathy to that.  It's what I fall back on when I know I'm walking into a difficult situation and not comfortable with how to act.  Here's a Utube link to a video by her on the topic.

    Thanks for sharing your reading Strongwoman..  
  • Strongwoman
    I just read another book entitled "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande
    It is about the role of palliative care in the health care system and how it is about quality of life and opening up dialogue about wishes that may need to be fulfilled later.  It also talks about how utilizing palliative care ultimately decreases trips to Emerg and ICU due to earlier intervention by a palliative team which therefore decreases healthcare costs.  
    Here is one passage from the book that I found interesting:
    "People with serious illness have priorities besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys find that their top concerns include avoiding suffering, strengthening relationships with family and friends, being mentally aware, not being a burden on others, and achieving a sense that their life is complete."
    I found it was well worth the read and would recommend it.  
  • Strongwoman
    From the book Under The Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
    "It's never enough, is it? Time. We always think we have so much of it, but when it really counts, we don't have enough at all."

    Such an impact full phrase from a fictional book. I think many of us can relate.
  • Strongwoman
    Same book as last post but another quote.
    "It's not always about the things you've done, or the mistakes you've made. It's about the people, and what we're willing to do for one another. The sacrifices we make."
  • Strongwoman
    Good Evening Ladies.
     I finished reading today a book entitled "Bone Knowing" by Jennifer Allen.  I would recommend it. One caveat that I will disclose, is that it tells the story from the perspective of the caregiver. 
      For me I was good with it and a lot of what the author spoke of are thoughts that go through my head about the caregiver end of things. It spoke of their spouse utilizing Gerson therapy and in the end conventional medicine. I could not fathom the caregiver burnout the author had on their journey. It is utterly amazing she made it through. It spoke a lot of quality vs quantity and what that means to each of us individually.  Not a hard read and easy to follow.
      If any of you are in to reading on the subject of death and dying, I would put it on your list.