Facing the Prospect of Death

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We celebrate birth, and we fear death—yet anyone who has been present at both great mysteries will know the quality of awe is exactly the same.

What do we really know about dying? These days, few of us have firsthand contact with the astonishing moment of death. Most of our understanding comes from fictionalised accounts—often sensationalised, melodramatic or sentimental. Unless we hear true stories about what it is to approach death, we may be stuck with fearful guesses.

In these interviews with seven dying Australians we have the authentic testimony of those who are facing the sobering reality. A 17-year-old girl who has battled cancer more than half her life realises her time has suddenly run out—and exhorts us to love. An old man, a refugee from a communist regime in his youth, is given little time but relishes the life he has left. A woman in old age tells of the life-transforming effect of a near-death experience when she was 29—and why it has left her with no fear of dying.

These are seven different people, from different backgrounds, with different views.

Here is a brave, insightful and, believe it or not, lively opportunity to enter the worlds of seven people who know they are dying. Seven Dying Australians is not only a book for those who work in palliative care. It is a book for anybody seeking to reflect on the nature of mortality, and it is an essential resource for human services workers, social work educators, teachers, carer support workers, and grief and loss counsellors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeven Dying Australians
EditorsAllan Kellehear, David Ritchie
Place of PublicationBendigo, Victoria
PublisherSt Luke's Innovative Resources
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780958018804
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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