This informative anthology , now in its seventh edition, helps to provide an understanding of dying, death, and bereavement that will assist individuals in better coping with their own death and the death of others. These timely articles range from personal accounts to scientific and philosophical perspectives.Additional support for this title is available at http://www.dushkin.com/online (Dushkin Online).
UNIT 1. The American Way of Dying and Death
1. 7 Final Chapters: Stories of Death That Teach Us How to Live, Jane Dwinell, World: The Journal of the Unitarian Universalist Association, July/August 2000
Jane Dwinell, a minister and chaplain, shares stories of death that “teach us how to live.”
2. Technology and Death Policy: Redefining Death, Robert H. Blank, from Morality, Volume 6, Number 2, July 2001
British political scientist Robert Blank analyzes the policy issues surrounding the definition of death within the context of technological and social changes.
3. The Unsettled Question of Brain Death, Peter Monaghan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 22, 2002
The author examines the issue of brain death and the removal of organs for transplant purposes from the point of view of various cultures including Canada, the United States, and Japan.
4. American Death and Burial Custom Derivation From Medieval European Cultures, J. Mack Welford, The Forum, September/October 1992
In the United States, the present customs with regard to death, burial, and mourning rituals have been passed down from the Middle Ages.
5. Teaching End-of-Life Issues: Current Status in United Kingdom and United States Medical Schools, George E. Dickinson and David Field, American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, May/June 2002
Medical schools in the United States and United Kingdom are gradually integrating end-of-life issues into their curricula. Overall, the United Kingdom appears to provide more exposure regarding hospice nvolvement and palliative care.
6. Physician, Heal the Elderly, Katherine S. Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 4, 2003
With baby boomers rapidly aging and swelling the numbers of elderly in the United States population, physicians today and in the future need to be better informed about the needs of the frail elderly. Geriatricians are in short supply, thus medical schools need to encourage this specialty choice.
UNIT 2. Developmental Aspects of Dying and Death
7. Communication Among Children, Parents, and Funeral Directors, Daniel J. Schaefer, from Loss, Grief and Care, Haworth Press, Inc., 1988
Daniel Schaefer, a funeral director, encourages parents to talk to children about death. He discusses children’s reactions to death and how to prepare children for attending funerals.
8. Children, Death, and Fairy Tales, Elizabeth P. Lamers, Omega, Volume 31, Number 2, 1995
This article examines the evolution and transformation of themes relating to dying and death in children’s literature, using the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” to draw trends together.
9. Terrorism, Trauma, and Children: What Can We Do?, Linda Goldman, Healing, Spring 2002
Children’s reactions to terrorism, war, anthrax, and the perceived loss of safety and protection are discussed. Linda Goldman gives advice about talking to children about terrorism, trauma, and war and what children can do about their fears.
10. Liza’s Last Wish: A Little Girl’s Lessons in Love, Elena Lister and Ilana Harlow, Family Circle, November 1, 2002
Liza Lister was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4 and died at the age of 6. This child taught others about dying and orchestrated how she wanted to die. Her family and physicians were brave enough to listen as Lisa did the telling.
11. Helping Teenagers Cope With Grief, Alan D. Wolfelt, Hospicenet.org, 2003
Practical suggestions are given for understanding and relating to adolescents in times of death, including signs that a teenager may need help, the adult’s role, and acknowledgment of support groups.
12. Trends in Causes of Death Among the Elderly, Nadine R. Sahyoun et al., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2001
This article discusses the leading causes of death (chronic diseases) among the elderly toward the end of the twentieth century and observes trend patterns over the past two decades. Projections are made toward future breakthroughs in technological advances, public health initiatives, and social changes that may increase length of life.
UNIT 3. The Dying Process
13. Placing Religion and Spirituality in End-of-Life Care, Timothy P. Daaleman and Larry VandeCreek, Journal of the American Medical Association, November 15, 2000
The authors distinguish between religion and spirituality and discuss how hospice care considers the spiritual and religious dimensions of the dying patient.
14. Dying Words: How Should Doctors Deliver Bad News?, Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, October 28, 2002
A physician discusses his dealings with dying patients and their families in decision-making regarding possible treatments when cancer is diagnosed. He describes the role of oncologists in giving bad news.
15. Patients Whose Final Wishes Go Unsaid Put Doctors in a Bind, N. R. Kleinfield, New York Times, July 19, 2003
A very small percentage of patients can voice advanced directives. This makes the physician’s role more difficult, especially when the patient is unable to make decisions regarding end-of-life care.
16. Start the Conversation, AARP Modern Maturity, September/October 2000
This article observes what is happening physically and emotionally to a dying person. It also investigates the critical decisions that must be made by the person or his or her caregivers.
17. Quality End-of-Life Care, Peter A. Singer, Douglas K. Martin, and Merrijoy Kelner, Journal of the American Medical Association, January 13, 1999
Improving care at the end of life can be of great value for dying people, assuring them of affection and respect, and reducing requests for assistance in dying.
18. Partnership for Good Dying, (A Piece of My Mind), Deborah I. Fahnestock, Journal of the American Medical Association, August 18, 1999
The author, a nurse, talks about what it is like to be dying of cancer.
19. Access to Palliative Care and Hospice in Nursing Homes, Judy Zerzan, Sally Stearns, and Laura Hanson, Journal of the American Medical Association, November 15, 2000
Though most hospice patients die at home in the United States, 13 percent of hospice enrollees are in nursing homes. Changes in health policy, quality standards, and reimbursement incentives are essential to improve access to palliative care and hospice for nursing home patients, observe the authors.
UNIT 4. Ethical Issues of Dying, Death, and Suicide
20. Death and the Law, Lawrence Rudden, The World & I, May 2003
This article discusses the legality of the Oregon Death With Dignity Act and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s challenge to the law in his attempt to prevent terminal patients of Oregon from exercising their legal right to end their suffering with a physician’s help.
21. Why Secular Humanism is Wrong: About Assisted Suicide, Wesley J. Smith, Free Inquiry, Spring 2003
Most of the debate favoring assisted suicide has been led by secular humanists. This article challenges many of the assumptions of those who favor the practice, arguing from a secular humanist perspective. The author says that assisted suicide is not an answer to the problems it seeks to address.
22. Doctor, I Want to Die. Will You Help Me?, Timothy E. Quill, Journal of the American Medical Association, August 18, 1993
What are the possible responses that a physician can make to a patient who wants to die? This controversial dilemma is presented in the context of compassionate care for suffering and an awareness of the needs of the dying. In the commentary, a medical ethicist disagrees, stating that compassion cannot overrule a moral principle.
23. Competent Care for the Dying Instead of Physician-Assisted Suicide, Kathleen M. Foley, The New England Journal of Medicine, January 2, 1997
Legalized physician-assisted suicide is not a substitute for competent palliative care of the dying. Attention to the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical needs of the dying patient is the mark of a good doctor.
24. Euthanasia: A Need for Reform, Janis Moody, Nursing Standard, March 5, 2003
Janis Moody contends that the philosophical basis of the active-passive distinction has led to distortions in the law surrounding the issue of euthanasia. The author argues for a reform in nursing practice that will reclassify passive and active euthanasia as life-terminating acts. She further argues that nurses need to have an understanding of the ethical and legal basis of euthanasia to acknowledge and define their possible future role in relation to providing life-terminating acts.
25. Colleen’s Choice, Barry Yeoman, AARP The Magazine, March/April 2003
In this article, we follow the actions of Colleen Rice, who, with the assistance of her daughter, ends her life of suffering from cancer. This act of self-deliverance is portrayed as a rational and dignified attempt to bring closure to a life that Rice no longer felt was worth living.
26. Attitudes Toward Suicidal Behavior: A Review of the Literature, Ellen Ingram and Jon B. Ellis, Death Studies, Volume 16, 1992
Beliefs about suicide reflect the value of human life in a society. Survivors, while grieving for a suicide victim, may receive severe and negative reactions from the community. Suicide is usually a well-thought-out plan and not an impulsive action.
27. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s Final Passage, Leslie Bennetts, Vanity Fair, June 1997
Best known as the pioneer of the thanatology movement, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross faces her own death in an unexpected manner. She is angry about her inability to die or to hasten her own death. This has caused her to question the meaning of her life’s work with the dying and the thanatology movement.
UNIT 5. Funerals and Burial Rites
28. The Contemporary American Funeral, Michael R. Leming and George E. Dickinson, from Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1998
This article provides an overview of the present practice of funeralization in American society, including traditional and alternative funeral arrangements. The functions of funerals relative to the sociological, psychological, and theological needs of adults and children are also discussed.
29. Psychocultural Influences on African-American Attitudes Towards Death, Dying, and Funeral Rites, Ronald K. Barrett, from Personal Care in an Impersonal World: A Multidimensional Look at Bereavement, Baywood Publishing Co., 1993
Ronald Barrett compares contemporary African American funerals with traditional majority-American and African funeral rites.
30. How Different Religions Pay Their Final Respects, William J. Whalen, U.S. Catholic, September 1990
A number of religious practices are reviewed in this article demonstrating the commonalities and differences among many religious traditions. Many of the rituals performed at the funeral are closely tied to the religious ideas of the people who perform them.
31. The Last Thing You Want to Do, Tim Matson, Mother Earth News, August/September 2001
In this very practical article, Tim Matson helps provide a means for economically planning a funeral. He discusses the entire process and the many options people have to create a funeral that reflects the lives they have lived without wiping out their estates.
32. An Unexpected Kind of Family Foresight, Ellen Ficklen, Newsweek, March 25, 2002
In this article, a daughter reflects upon the kindness of her parents in planning their own funerals before their actual deaths. In doing this, there was no need to speculate about her parents’ wishes, and in the process of helping her mother plan, she learned a lot about the lives her parents had lived.
33. What a Way to Go, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Time, July 7, 2003
This popular article discusses the personalization of funerals making funerals less about mourning a death than about celebrating a unique life. The article also cautions that however people choose to commemorate their loved ones, they still have to find a way to deal with the loss.
34. Working With Death Was No Way to Live, Laura Bennett-Kimble, Newsweek, July 21, 2003
Laura Bennett-Kimble tells her personal story of working in a funeral home and how she developed both an honest sympathy and an emotional distance required by her trade. She discovered that to work as a funeral director she would have to become more callous to death and tragedy. Instead, she decided to release her pent-up emotions and reclaim her humanity by going into another occupation.
UNIT 6. Bereavement
35. The Grieving Process, Michael R. Leming and George E. Dickinson, from Understanding Dying, Death, and Bereavement, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1998
This article discusses the seven basic coping strategies related to the bereavement process (shock and denial, disorganization, volatile emotions, guilt, loss and loneliness, relief, and reestablishment) and the four tasks of bereavement (accepting the reality of the loss, experiencing the pain of grief, adjusting to an environment in which the deceased is missing, and the withdrawing of emotional energy and reinvesting it in other relationships).
36. Disenfranchised Grief, Kenneth J. Doka, from Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow, Lexington Books, 1989
Kenneth Doka discusses the unique situation of bereaved survivors whose loss is not, or cannot be, openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported.
37. Enhancing the Concept of Disenfranchised Grief, Charles A. Corr, Omega, Volume 38, Number 1 1998?1999
This article enhances and broadens the concept of disenfranchised grief in significant ways as it indicates that there are aspects of most losses that are indeed disenfranchised.
38. Till Death Do Us Part, Mickie Mashburn, The Advocate, February 19, 2002
This article is a personal account of a woman who has experienced disenfranchised grief as the surviving spouse in a same-sex relationship. She tells of how she was disinherited and marginalized by her partner’s family and denied her rightful claim to personal belongings, pension, and other benefits that normally go to a surviving spouse.
39. The Increasing Prevalence of Complicated Mourning: The Onslaught Is Just Beginning, Therese A. Rando, Omega, Volume 26, Number 1, 1992?1993
This article operationalizes complicated mourning and identifies its seven high-risk factors. The author argues that the prevalence of complicated mourning is increasing today due to a number of contemporary sociocultural and technological trends, with problems in both the mental health profession and the field of thanatology that are preventing or interfering with requisite treatment. New treatment policies and models are now mandated for intervention in complicated mourning.
40. Listening, Gerald Kamens, America, November 11, 2002
A hospice volunteer discusses his role in grief therapy. He discusses the religious questions asked by grieving family members and how he has discovered that through his ministry of listening, he is able to provide the best answers to the difficult questions raised by the people he serves.
41. Grief Takes No Holiday, Harvard Women’s Health Watch, December 2002
This article provides a very helpful guide for the bereaved in getting through the holidays, one of the most difficult times for grievers.
42. Discussing Tragedy With Your Child, Jay Reeve, The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter, June 2002
This article helps with the difficult task of assisting parents to talk about tragedies with their children. The author acknowledges the difficulty of the task while providing some very helpful guidelines that help parents organize the discussion in a way that is helpful to their children.