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Issues on Death and Dying

In comparing and contrasting these two books - Dying Well and On Death and Dying - what is immediately apparent is that these books are complementary, rather than contradictory. They both focus on the individual process of dying, while they both find that there are common or typical issues that face dying individuals and their family members. Both emphasize that growth can occur through the process, and that people can die well if they are willing to go through the process with open minds and hearts. There are many other similarities and certainly some differences in their focus, and the lessons the authors drew from their experiences.

The similarities are quite striking. Both of these authors seem to be very compassionate in their approach to dying people and their families, although they also indicate that this was not always the case. Instead, they note that there was a time when they were less aware, but that they gradually became focused on issues of death and dying well for their patients. Byock became active through the hospice movement, his awareness blasted open through his father's death, though obviously he had seen the problems of the dying regularly as a doctor. His father's death pushed him over some edge, however, into understanding death from the point of view of the patient and the family member's of the patient. He was able to extrapolate from his experience to other people's experience of the medical system and he was able to draw lessons from his experience that he thought would benefit other people. All this he brought into developing a new hospice system in his own region, with this being a very new development.

For Kubler-Ross, the process of becoming empathetic to the dying seemed more gradual. It also seems as though her approach was more that of the research scientist initially, but that her medical objectivity, like Byock's, was replaced by a more and more personal interest in, and involve...

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Issues on Death and Dying. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:11, February 26, 2017, from