I've been reading two books - The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke (U.S. author) and We're All Going to Die by Dr Leah Kaminsky (Australian author). I found them at the library by chance, in the 155.937 section.
As I've said in an earlier blog, I was born thinking about death, terrified of it, bemused by it, fascinated with it, my artistic temperament trying to make sense of it. Year after year after year.
Kaminsky talks amongst other things about the marketing of death, how the medical profession is more about cure now than helping the dying face death. "We keep people alive, hooked up to ventilators and IV drips, pumping drugs into withered bodies to keep them going when the life force has clearly left them. Preserving the dying in ICU like living mummies, we no longer know how to let them go." She mentions how the stethoscope is being replaced with "gadgety digital LCD readouts based on some super voice recognition technology" and worries with humour that she'll be listening to someone's heart and there'll be silence because she's pressed the wrong button. The company assures that you can record and share sounds like never before, that it has power that will amaze and volume that rocks. She addresses as a GP her and our fear of death and dying. It is truly an indepth personal look, yet very uplifting.
Meghan O'Rourke finds she is unprepared for the intensity of her sorrow at her mum's death of cancer at only 55. Woven throughout with references to her relationship with her mother and the process of dying, it's also a story about resilience in the face of loss. Lyrically written, it's an eye-opening memoir.
I highly recommend both books.