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FINDING MEANING IN DEATH

Facing Death, Embracing Life: Understanding What Dying People Want
By David Kuhl, M.D. Doubleday, 2006. 330 pages. $25.00.
by Kathy Perry

Anyone who has walked with a person who is approaching the end of his or her life knows how difficult it can be to talk about the reality of death. We know that such talks are inevitably going to open us up to questions about our own life, about our own deep fears and our own longings. When a loved one discloses to us that they have a terminal illness, our anxiety about our own death can be an obstacle for us in being there for them as family, friend, and companion. Loneliness and meaninglessness –having no one to walk and talk with us as we ask questions about the ultimate meaning of our lives– are fears that are finding expression in public discourse. Some of our discourse about death seems healthy, but some seems sick or just sad.

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