Both books deal with the (American, at least) tendency to avoid dealing directly with death and dying—and why that tendency is not good for us and not good for our faith communities. I highly recommend these books to anyone involved in ministry to the sick and dying and their families. I recommend the Lynch book to anyone who loves good writing that is faith-filled (he’s a devout Catholic) but unafraid to be tough and irreverent sometimes.
Kerry Weber talks about what she’s figuring out in this arena called death and dying:
I think it’s difficult to be with someone who is dying if:
- I believe I should be able to take away the suffering or prevent the death.
- I believe there is something intrinsically wrong with being sick or approaching death.
- I am too uncomfortable in a situation I cannot control.
- I must always have some advice to give or something wise to say—I can’t be comfortable with silence.
- I am afraid of my own death.
- Other people around that person are full of conflict or are otherwise making the atmosphere fraught with anxiety, bitterness, and so forth.
All right, let’s hear some wisdom from the community. What have you learned about being with people when they are dying, about being with those who have lost a loved one?