Sunday, June 2, 2013


I was once told that it's good to think about dying for a few minutes each day - as there is no better way of appreciating, and getting back to living fully in, the present.
It's a subject we tend to push aside. And too often we're at a loss when confronted with the dying of someone close to us.
Hence the recommendation of this excellent book - one that should be read, and then kept on hand for when needed.
Dying: a practical guide for the journey, by Peter Fox and Sue Wood, is published by Double Storey Books (2005) and available on Amazon - or through

From a review by Roger Woodruff, MD (Australia):

Every now and then I am asked by carers or patients themselves for ‘a book’about dying, but I have never seen anything that I felt comfortable recommending. Sue Wood and Peter Fox’s Guide comes close. It is written to help anyone who is dying, and their family and carers. The authors view the terminal stages of life like all the rest, it’s a time for people to live through as richly as possible, and to deal positively with all the difficulties that may arise.

The material addressed to the patient in the early chapters about getting the news, dealing with it and acceptance are first-class and written in a non-threatening way. Carers reading this will have better insight as to what the patient may be thinking. Mourning is discussed before death, which is where it belongs, as both patient and carers mourn during the terminal phase of an illness. Other chapters seem more directed to the carers—food and nutrition, complementary therapies and caring for the carers. There is useful information about palliative care and providing care at home. The chapter on the last 48 hours, including the clinical signs of dying and death, are perhaps more for the family and carers. At the end, there are about ten pages of very meaningful texts for reflection, gathered from a variety of religious and non-religious sources.

For 17 years Peter Fox was Spiritual Director of St Luke's Hospice in Cape Town.