In this unprecedented book, palliative medicine pioneer Dr Kathryn Mannix explores the biggest taboo in our society and the only certainty we all share: death.
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE
Told through a series of beautifully crafted stories taken from nearly four decades of clinical practice, her book answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. She makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation but with openness, clarity and understanding.
With the End in Mind is a book for us all: the grieving and bereaved, ill and healthy. Open these pages and you will find stories about people who are like you, and like people you know and love. You will meet Holly, who danced her last day away; Eric, the retired head teacher who, even with Motor Neurone Disease, gets things done; loving, tender-hearted Nelly and Joe, each living a lonely lie to save their beloved from distress; and Sylvie, 19, dying of leukaemia, sewing a cushion for her mum to hug by the fire after she has died.
These are just four of the book's thirty-odd stories of normal humans, dying normal human deaths. They show how the dying embrace living not because they are unusual or brave, but because that's what humans do. By turns touching, tragic, at times funny and always wise, they offer us illumination, models for action, and hope. Read this book and you'll be better prepared for life as well as death.
Kathryn Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. Starting in cancer care and changing career to become a pioneer of the new discipline of palliative medicine, she has worked in teams in hospices, hospitals and in patients' own homes to deliver palliative care, optimising quality of life even as death is approaching. Having qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in 1993, she started the UK's (possibly the world's) first CBT clinic exclusively for palliative care patients, and devised `CBT First Aid' training to enable palliative care colleagues to add new skills to their repertoire for helping patients. Kathryn has worked with many thousands of dying people, and has found their ability to deal with illness and death both fascinating and inspirational. She believes that a better public awareness about what happens as we die would reduce fear and enable people to discuss their hopes and plans with the people who matter to them.