"Even as they are dying, most people can accomplish meaningful tasks and grow in ways that are important to them and to their families," writes Ira Byock in Dying Well. The author, president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, begins with a discussion of his father's death and his birth family's experience of deepened intimacy and love afterwards. He goes on to share the stories of terminally ill individuals he has treated with his hospice team in Missoula, Montana. Among them are people who have found dignity amidst disease and disintegration, accepted the gift of dependence, and exhibited courage in the last stage of life.
These true stories reveal how caring for a loved one in a hospice can be an expression of devotion and reverence. Byock helps us see the variety of meanings in the term "dying well." He also makes it clear that this approach to the end of life is more compassionate than the death-on-demand approach of assisted suicide and euthanasia.