1st Edition

Exploring End of Life Experience Facing Death

By Helen Besemeres Copyright 2024

    The groundbreaking contribution made by this unique book draws on the experiences recorded by five people who are facing death – Jenny Diski, Philip Gould, Christopher Hitchens, Michael Mayne and Cory Taylor.

    Analysing the key themes that emerge from a psychodynamic perspective, the book describes how the memoirists respond to the first shock of receiving a terminal diagnosis, how they meet the challenge of continuing an active life when the illusion of an open-ended future has gone, and finally, how they struggle with accepting death as it overtakes them. The author argues that the ability to accept personal death is the key to resolving the paradox of our need to survive at all costs, while at the same time, however much we might deny it, we know that we must die. In a society where death and dying occur largely out of sight, this book provides information about what it is like to die – physically, psychologically and emotionally – and invites us to think about coming to terms with death.

    Exploring End of Life Experience is an important contribution to the interdisciplinary literature on death and dying, relevant to scholars and practitioners in medicine, nursing, psychology, and the wider medical humanities.

    1.Death: An Introduction. 2.Death as Enigma. 3.Thanatology: Reflections on the Meaning of Death. 4.Learning from the Dying. 5.Reacting to the News: Diagnosis. 6.Living with Dying. 7.Acceptance. 8.Themes in the Experience of the Dying. 9.Conclusions.


    Dr Helen Besemeres is a retired psychoanalyst and family therapist, with a PhD in Education from Monash University, Melbourne.