With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

by Kathryn Mannix

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Overview

For readers of Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, a palliative care doctor's breathtaking stories from 30 years spent caring for the dying.

Modern medical technology is allowing us to live longer and fuller lives than ever before. And for the most part, that is good news. But with changes in the way we understand medicine come changes in the way we understand death. Once a familiar, peaceful, and gentle — if sorrowful — transition, death has come to be something from which we shield our eyes, as we prefer to fight desperately against it rather than accept its inevitability.

Dr. Kathryn Mannix has studied and practiced palliative care for thirty years. In With the End in Mind, she shares beautifully crafted stories from a lifetime of caring for the dying, and makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation, but with openness, clarity, and understanding. Weaving the details of her own experiences as a caregiver through stories of her patients, their families, and their distinctive lives, Dr. Mannix reacquaints us with the universal, but deeply personal, process of dying.

With insightful meditations on life, death, and the space between them, With the End in Mind describes the possibility of meeting death gently, with forethought and preparation, and shows the unexpected beauty, dignity, and profound humanity of life coming to an end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316504485
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 01/16/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 976,114
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Dr. Kathryn Mannix is a physician specializing in palliative care, and a cognitive behavior therapist (CBT). She has run palliative care services in community, hospice, and large hospital settings. She is passionate about public education, and has provided CBT skills training to palliative care and oncology professionals.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Reading the Label 5

Patterns 7

Unpromising Beginnings 9

French Resistance 15

Tiny Dancer 23

Wrecking Ball 37

Last Waltz 49

Pause for Thought: Patterns 57

My Way 59

That is the Question 61

Never Let Me Go 69

Hat 83

Take My Breath Away 95

Pause for Thought: My Way 105

Naming Death 107

Second-Hand News 109

Slipping Through My Fingers 117

Talking About the Unmentionable 125

The Sound of Silence 135

Every Breath You Take (I'll be Watching You) 145

Beauty and the Beast 155

Pause for Thought: Naming Death 165

Looking Beyond the Now 167

In the Kitchen at Parties 169

Please Release Me - A Side 179

Please Release Me - B Side 187

Travel Plans 197

With Love from Me to You 207

Pause for Thought: Looking Beyond the Now 219

Legacy 221

Something Unpredictable 223

The Year of the Cat 233

Post-Mortem 243

Needles and Pins 253

Lullaby 263

Pause for Thought: Legacy 273

Transcendence 275

Musical Differences 277

Deep Dreams 285

De Profundis 293

Perfect Day 305

'Only the Good Die Young' 317

Pause for Thought: Transcendence 321

Last Words 323

Glossary 325

Resources and Helpful Information 329

Acknowledgements 339

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With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
LeighKramer More than 1 year ago
Why do we struggle to talk about death and dying? This is a question I’ve often asked myself in the past 15 or so years. My mantra as a hospice social worker and child and teen bereavement specialist was “hope for today, plan for the future.” Yes, we can hope that this decline will reverse but we can make things easier on ourselves and our loved ones by discussing advanced directives and funeral plans now. Kathryn Mannix and I have a lot in common in this regard. Mannix is a palliative care and hospice doctor in the UK. I was particularly fascinated that she founded the UK’s first palliative care cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) clinic. I love the idea of using CBT in this context! Mannix’s goal with this book is both to promote conversation about dying and to show that those who are dying are still living. This often surprised people when I still worked for hospice, that there was so much light and laughter in my days. Yes, there were sad, hard, and frustrating days- how could there not be?- but more often than not, my days were filled with life. Mannix shares stories to illustrate what happens when people are dying and at various stages, as well as people’s reactions to their or their loved one’s decline. She shares stories from early on in her career when she was a student on up to the present. She doesn’t always get it right and I appreciate how she owned up to her mistakes and learned from them. This helps us learn too. She also shares how her colleagues helped her improve her practice. This could simply be a collection of stories but Mannix also includes questions at the end of each section. These are questions to think through and then to discuss with family. You’re able to follow the process modeled by Mannix and her team. French Resistance included one of the best, most compassionate descriptions of the dying process I’ve ever encountered. Mannix observes her trainer walking a patient through it at the new hospice. “Few have seen a death. Most imagine dying to be agonizing and undignified. We can help them to know that we do not see that, and that they need not fear that their families will see something terrible.” p. 30 Talking About The Unmentionable is about how to talk to children about death and dying, whether it’s due to pets or relatives. It helps normalize the idea of death and shows the importance of our need to grieve our loved ones, plus details about what children understand at various ages. Last Waltz was about death of Mannix’s 99 yo grandmother. I especially appreciated her insights on how waiting is not a passive experience when it comes to our loved ones who are declining. Overall, this is a solid resource on end of life issues, whether you’re a family member facing the loss of a loved one or someone who has worked in hospice for years. The stories are often heartwarming and beautiful and even the hard ones illustrate some aspect of death and life we need to better understand. Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.