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Palliative Care Perspectives : Chapter 11: The Final 48 Hours : When Death Arrives

Death may arrive with a bang, but more often it comes quietly, without so much as a sigh. The moment of death is sacred in the deepest sense, and words do it no justice. It is a time to witness silently a passing. In bewilderment, some family members may become flustered and wish to begin too quickly all the formalities that follow death. I find it useful in such cases to remind family members that there is plenty of time for "arrangements" and suggest that perhaps they should sit for a while (see the section on death pronouncement in Chapter 8.) A natural time will come to begin the inevitable work that follows death - both the business of funeral arrangements and the work of grief. We watch for that moment by standing by and being ready to lend a hand when needed.

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Palliative Care Perspectives

James L. Hallenbeck, M.D.

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Copyright 2003 by Oxford University Press, Inc.

The online version of this book is used with permission of the publisher and author on web sites affiliated with the Inter-Institutional Collaborating Network on End-of-life Care (IICN), sponsored by Growth House, Inc.