The topics of death and terminal illness are difficult to discuss, especially for those who are personally affected by this tragedy. On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and The Illness Narratives by Arthur Kleinman shed light on the problems that individuals, who know that there are dying, have to face in their daily lives. Understanding the challenges of terminally ill patients helps the society create a friendlier environment for them and provides important insights into life and death, from which all people can learn.
Most people do not know how to talk about dying and try to avoid any conversations on this matter. Often, terminally ill patients cannot openly communicate about their problems even with their friends and family and feel isolated and lonely. It leads to the situation when persons who are already made vulnerable by their life situation cannot receive any psychological support from other people. Such patients become separated from the community, which makes their suffering even harder to cope with.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross pointed out the necessity of talking and listening to such patients. During her work in medical institutions, the author studied the psychological reactions of dying people and outlined five stages of adjustment to grief. The scholar described the specifics of the mental state of patients at different stages and explained how other people could help alleviate their suffering (Kübler-Ross 27). The book teaches us that dying people need attention and genuine interest of others and demonstrates how to approach them depending on their current stage.
In his book, Arthur Kleinman investigates how illness affects both patients and doctors who treat them. The scholar creates a framework that allows studying psychology of the terminally ill and discusses common problems that emerge in medical institutions and society. Kleinman uses his extensive experience in the field to provide valuable suggestions to patients, who are faced with a lethal disease, their doctors, families, and friends.
The author emphasizes that there are multiple layers of meaning to any illness, from which all people can learn about their lives (Kleinman 13). Reading The Illness Narratives affected my understanding of the problem and gave a chance to look at life from another perspective, attending the hard topic of death and suffering.
The lessons that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Arthur Kleinman provide in their books teach the audience about the lives of dying people. Learning from these books changed my ideas about the subject and made me realize how important it is to pay attention to the stories of people who are vulnerable and need support. Understanding it will help me become more open and accepting for them in the future. In addition to that, the books talk about the nature of life problems, discuss what makes life meaningful, and provide valuable information about human psychology that is personally relevant for all readers.
Kleinman, Arthur. The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition. Basic Books, 1988.
Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. On death and dying. Routledge, 1973.