In 1994, Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland wrote a book called, simply, How We Die.
On March 3rd, Dr. Nuland died of prostate cancer. This week, Krista Tippett featured an earlier talk with Dr. Nuland about his various books and his views on spirituality in her weekly NPR show, On Being.
Until this week, I didn’t know of the book’s existence. I still haven’t read it, because I’m presently swamped (as you may have noticed from the erratic way in which this blog is being populated at the moment). Based on the radio show, which I listened to this morning while trying to adjust my internal clock to the new Daylight Savings normal, I’ve decided the book needs to rocket to the top of my reading list. And, I think, perhaps for my friends as well, as this has been a bad week for a number of them.
The majority of my friends are older (in the vicinity of, or over, 50), and most are dealing with the aging and illness of parents and their siblings, but one of my friends just lost a battle with H1N1 and pneumonia at only 43. It’s not clear to me from this obituary whether I will agree with all that he writes, as I believe quite firmly in speeding up the process if the person is ready to go and wants to exercise the option, but I found his words this morning to be worth further investigation.
Here’s a TED talk featuring Dr. Nuland on the subject of hope rather than death. I recommend listening to both this and the On Being show as well. Expect more of these over the coming months. I’ve found many of the TED talks intriguing springboards for further conversation. I don’t think I’m alone.