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Home Strengthen Relationships FAMILIES Facing the End of Life Together Intro to Facing the End of Life

Introduction to Facing the
End of Life . . . Together

BY ARLENE F. HARDER, MA, MFT

Explore the topic of death and dying as an integral part of life

Crooked Creek PennsylvaniaDeath is mysterious, fascinating, and fearful. It's also a topic we do NOT easily discuss, although nothing is so certain as the fact that for all of us there will come a time when our life on this earth will end and our minds will no longer function, at least in the way we have experienced consciousness so far.

Consequently, to avoid looking at the reality that this will happen, we use all kinds of strategies, from pursuing the accumulation of material possessions to taking unnecessary risks.

Yet how we approach death has a lot to do with how we life, for being "the best we can be" includes the process of dying as well as living. Thus be begin this first of three sections on dying, death, and loss from the individual's perspective on the topic.

Roger C. Bone, M.D., was a physician who died of metastatasis of renal carcinoma and wrote beautifully and movingly on the topic in the booklet "Reflections: A Guide to End of Life Issues for You and Your Family" published by the National Kidney Cancer Association. They have kindly given us permission to use his writing and we begin with this from the book’s Introduction:

You and I Are Dying

Dying is a biological fact. To many it is a religious symbol.

Dying is something we all do. But it is also something we only observe in others at a distance.

Dying can be a peaceful event or a great agony when it is inappropriately sustained by life support.

Dying is a subject in great novels and small poems.

❖ ❖ ❖ ❖ ❖

Emily Dickinson wrote:

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me

The Carriage held but just Ourselves

And Immortality.


Often subjects are overlooked that are really important to discuss during the death and dying process. See the articles in this section on the left to see whether there is something you need to do that you haven't yet done.

© 2011 Arlene F Harder, MA, MFT