It’s a simple truth: We all die

It’s a complicated truth: we all fear dying, and we all fear it in different ways, according to our individual circumstances and life experiences.

And yet… Dying is a bodily process. Just like pregnancy and birth, it has recognisable stages as it proceeds. We can recognise the progress of life-limiting illness; we can predict, less reliably early on yet with increasing accuracy as death comes closer. Whether or not we are related to the people we hold most dear, dying is a ‘family affair.’ It’s usually possible to gather the right people in time and help them to prepare. We can be ready.

But so often, dying people and their families remain unprepared because our fear about death has become a fear about even mentioning dying.

My life in palliative care has shown me that the process of dying is made less frightening and more peaceful, the better prepared we are. Knowing what to expect, and knowing what our dear ones will see as we die, helps people to plan, to speak to each other openly and honestly, and to relax. It also helps people to enjoy each day as it arises, instead of fearing a sudden and unexpected onset of dying, because usually, death approaches us gradually.

With the End in Mind is my attempt to capture the wisdom of dying and death, distilled into stories that take us to those places we believe are too dark to endure, and yet that are illuminated by human resilience, hope and love. Come with me to visit these extraordinary dying people. They are just like you.

  • “ illuminating and beautiful ”

    Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
  • “ incredibly moving ”

    Christina Patterson, Sunday Times
  • “ life-changing ”

    Juliet, Goodreads
  • “ by turns touching, tragic and even funny ”

    Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
  • “ made me both laugh AND cry ”

    Nigel, Goodreads
  • “ deeply compassionate ”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • “ possibly the first great book of 2018 ”

    Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor, Sunday Times