About Death and Dying

Death and dying are something that ALL of us will confront at some point in our lives… it is an unavoidable consequence of the human condition.

Thinking about what constitutes a good death and having the discussions about that are sadly a part of my life in caring for one of my children (see how did I get here, real mean can and should cry) We have had to have conversations around palliative care, about where (if there is any choice at the time) our son should spend his last hours/days and how much care can and  will be provided when this time arrives.

What is a good death?

The issue of a good death and the discussion around it is often one that ignites great passions from people from various perspectives.

A series exploring the subject of death and dying

This subject has recently been featuring over at The Conversation

So I am simply going to share the links to the articles they are publishing, and encourage you to think about death and dying and keep on open mind and contemplate the varying perspectives on offer,

Part 1 – Deadly Censorship Games

This post looks at the issue of euthanasia and the coverage of this issue within the media and the censorship surrounding it.

Part 2 – End of the care conveyor belt – death in Intensive Care Units

This post looks at the increasing likelihood that people will spend their last days in an intensive care unit and some of the implications around this.

Part 3 – Caring or Curing – the importance of being honest 

This post looks at the issue of providing care from the point of view of an oncologist

Part 4 – Death and despair or peace and contentment – Why families need to talk about end of life options

A case study and exploration of a situation that many families will be faced with.

Part 5 – Body or Soul: Why we don’t talk about death and dying

A look at some of the ethics and perspectives of people involved in the process.

Part 6 – Advanced Care Directives

A look at legalities, processes and issues around planning for how you or someone you care for should be cared for towards the end of life

Part 7 – A personal account of life with Terminal Cancer


The title to this one is self explanatory.

Other places where the conversation is happening

The ABC in Australia recently published a piece by well known and respected journalist Quentin Dempster titled “Do you have a right to die”. This is a detailed piece that includes a few case studies, but also includes perspectives from people like the former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and how issues of assisted death have been handled constructively and passionately, in some cases despite the apparent intent of the law.

Death and Dying – A buddhist perspective

If you have read a few other posts on this site you will note that they often include thinking that is influenced by something of a Buddhist perspective (although I don’t claim to be a practicing Buddhist.. or practicing anything else for that matter!) There is a wealth of information and thinking about death and dying within the Buddhist tradition, but I have to say thanks to a reader of this blog Kate Bacon for pointing me in the direction of  Death and Dying a site that explores the subject from a purely Buddhist perspective.

What does it all mean?

Each of the links that I have provided will provoke a range of thoughts and feelings…

I would encourage you to think long and hard about death and dying because as I said above you WILL be faced with a choice around the issues of death and dying at some point in your life…


I’ll add updates to this post from time to time…. but what are your thoughts on what constitutes a good death?