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Evaluation of Death and Dying, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1199

Essay

Death and Dying from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has had a lasting effect on the manner in which I look at related issues.  Truly death is an issue that is not easily approached, which is made quite clear from Kubler-Ross in the book.  In this cognizance I have found meaning in such issues and recommend this book for anyone in any walk of life.

Cognizance of Death and Fear

Personally one of the most important elements that were taken from the work was the cognizance of death.  With this cognizance inevitably comes fear in some manner, shape, or form.  In regards to my personal and professional life, such elements continue to affect me and others.

Past events where loved ones have been lost have affected me greatly.  Truly nothing can completely prepare one to handle the death of a loved one, as I have experienced.  Along these lines Kubler-Ross expressed this phenomenon quite well.  In one chapter she outlined the ways in which some people hide from notions of death, or approach them in an unhealthy manner, such as by living or thinking erratically.  The underlying fear is ultimately still present, even in such latter approaches.

The key to Kubler-Ross’s work is understanding, which has certainly affected me as I have worked through and thought about the content of this book.  It has helped me make sense of past times where loved ones have been lost, no matter how close the individual was to me.  Understanding the process of grief and coping with the loss of a loved one is important to approach such an unfortunate experience in a relatively positive manner.

This understanding will undoubtedly help me in my professional life.  As I look ahead to my career and personal life, there will ultimately be times when those close to me, regardless of whether it is personal or professional, will experience loss.  Being able to understand one’s loss and be supportive in their coping process will be vital if I am to be supportive.

The fear of death is present, as grounded in repeatedly by Kubler-Ross.  As she explains, even if we have mastered it in our minds, it is still present in some manner or form.  This truth has allowed me to draw further understanding in my mind.  Certainly in respect to oneself, one’s family, and one’s loved ones, there is the present fear of death to some extent.  Personally I feel this present in my life, as after reading the book those fears have appeared, as I imagine what life would be like without those individuals who are very important.

Thus in any personal or professional context, one must be aware of the fear of death.  Especially in the field of psychology, such as counseling, one must be able to understand the various types of fears surrounding death.  As a professional in a certain field or in my personal life, it will be important to me to be able to support someone who is dealing with this issue, regardless of whether he or she has lost someone, or is experiencing some type of stressful situation or state of mind in which one is affected.  As Kubler-Ross makes clear, these fears can appear without warning.

Supporting One Who is Dying

One of the more unfortunate applications of the book is supporting one who is dying.  Kubler-Ross provides a number of insights into the picture of those who are suffering and on the verge of death.  Truly in an age where cancer is not that uncommon one must be prepared to be there for someone who is dying.

This is another valuable lesson that I took away from the book.  Along with the previous element, it is a little difficult to think about, such as being there for a family member who is dying, or someone else close to me.  However, Kubler-Ross gives a number of insights into how the dying deal with death, which is invaluable for supporting one through this process.

General Comments

Certainly for me the most difficult parts of the book were thinking about how it impacts one’s life.  There is a definite fear of death in many respects as previously mentioned, which are difficult to think about.  Moreover, as one looks into the future to those who are older and important in one’s life, the “expected deaths,” if you will, are troubling.

However, much to Kubler-Ross’s point to the book, this is what I enjoyed.  It is enlightening to read a work that makes you more aware of your fears.  Of course, you are also brought to the certain fears of others.  These fears in death will certainly be present for as long as we live, as death is something that is a troubling experience for us all at points in our lives.  In this though, we find understanding and are able to use it in our lives, as we explore our fears and the fears of others.

In this cognizance the work made another important realization for me personally.  In expressing the wishes of those who may die, I have realized the importance of having a living will.  In my case and in anyone’s case, one’s loved ones should be aware of any particular issues.  As Kubler-Ross expresses the importance of one’s family, it would be unfortunate if my loved ones were not aware of my wishes in such a time.  In this I have realized what it would be like to be in charge of a family member’s funeral or possessions without this knowledge, which would be very difficult.

One disagreement personally with the book is the negative manner in which Kubler-Ross speaks of in regards to coping with death.  For instance, she draws on about how a family deals with death by becoming preoccupied with fantasies and not “accepting the reality” of the death of the loved one.  Personally this is an unfair way to perceive such behavior, in my opinion.  We all deal with certain situations differently in some ways.  Who are we to condemn one for reminiscing on the positive memories?  Can we definitively say that this is not part of the coping process?  In my opinion, this is not an objective opinion that Kubler-Ross gives.  Many individuals deal with the reality of death with the joy of the person’s life.

In an updated version, it would be helpful to read some practical advice on these issues.  For instance, perhaps the author would be able to give laymen and professionals strategies and methods with which to help those in need.  There are surely many ideas as to being able to help someone who may be dying, or someone who is losing someone that is close to them.  Perhaps the author would have insight to these practical elements.

Conclusion

Kubler-Ross’s work on death gives a number of interesting perspectives to the subject of death and dying.  The monumental work on the five stages most importantly brings the awareness of the ultimate fear that is in all of us.  It helps one realize this fear for one’s own sake and the sake of others, which remains important throughout one’s personal and family life.  For me this book has impacted my life and thought process, and remains a classic work in psychology and certainly in the subject of death and dying.

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