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Death as a threshold: Being with a person as they are dying

Trees, K. (2016) Death as a threshold: Being with a person as they are dying. Text: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses (35). pp. 1-9.

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In The Art of Living and Dying, Osho writes that the West attempts to hide death. This is in spite of the increase in representations of death and dying in non-fiction and fiction writing, film and television entertainment, documentaries, news, sociology and psychology this century. There is however, limited writing about everyday, personal experiences of dying and death, perhaps because we find the personal too close to disclose, or language and grammar inadequate. This paper discusses aspects of what it means to be with, or alongside, someone who is dying from a personal perspective. It follows Kübler-Ross in suggesting that we need to speak and listen meaningfully about experiences of those who are dying and those with, or alongside, them. It draws on the experience of being with a friend and an uncle in the final weeks of their lives to suggest that society would benefit from confronting death productively, accepting that we all die and engaging positively in the process of dying with the person who is dying, those alongside them, family, friends and community. Writing and talking about death, requires taking account of bodies – those of the person who is dying, as well as those who are alongside them.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Australian Association of Writing Programs
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