goodbyeMy line of work means that I come into contact with death and dying on a regular basis. Whilst the physical and psychological symptoms of the terminally ill are hopefully well cared for in the palliative setting, the plight of nearest relatives and friends can be overlooked. All the more reason that I found this recent article describing the ‘10-year goodbye’ of a wife to her dying husband particularly moving.

It also reminded me of a wonderful book I read last year, ‚Alice‘ by Judith Hermann(German original but English translation available), depicting five very different stories of loss and bereavement in the life of the central figure Alice. Each scenario intensively observed, beautifully described and immensely thought-provoking.

We all know that bereavement and mourning is a part of life. Yet most of us are probably ill-prepared for it and often ill-supported when it does occur. Reading the stories of others, both real-life and fictional, enriches us emotionally, prepares us in some measure, and most of all (as sentimental as it sounds), reminds us to treasure those people close to us all the more.

Additionally for me, it reminds me to ask how the person at the bedside of my patient is doing.