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Palliative Care Perspectives : Afterword

Waxing and waning make one curve.

C. G Jung, The Soul and Death

Most people die as they have lived, for dying is part of living. If we wish to die better, we will need to learn to live better. If we reflect carefully on the deaths in which we participate, we will see much we wish to emulate and much we wish to avoid in our own dying. Such is the gift the dying offer. That people die is profoundly sad. In each encounter with death, this sadness acquires a new face. In sadness we can find a common bond of humanity. We find sadness and suffering, but not only this; we find peace and joy as well. Someone asked me once what it takes to do this job well. More than anything else, I think, it is the ability to enter deeply into the pain, suffering, and sadness that are a part of living and dying and then to emerge on the other side into peace and joy. Over and over again.

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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.