A new book, “Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well: A Doctor Explains How to Make Death a Natural Part of Life,” is designed to help elderly people and their families complete the practical and spiritual groundwork necessary to have a good death.
As a survivor of two heart attacks, a cardiac arrest, and bypass surgery, author and medical doctor Glen E. Miller of Goshen, writes from his medical work in internal medicine, hospital administration and personal experience in the United States and several other countries. Miller also holds a master’s degree in theological studies.
According to a news release from Miller, he wanted to write the book because he saw family members often called on to make crucial end-of-life decisions with limited medical knowledge, befuddled by countless choices, and under the tension and emotional pain of a parent nearing death.
Miller said dying is a natural part of life and that advance planning can vastly improve the end-of-life experience for the patient and family.
In addition to stories of difficult passing, the book tells the stories of persons who die well, leaving the family with good memories and without remorse for the decisions made, according to the news release.
“I often witness the heart-wrenching uncertainty of family members who must make treatment decisions for a critically ill loved one who has never expressed their own preferences for end-of-life care,” said Dr. Douglas R. Smucker, a palliative care physician at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Dr. Miller offers an extraordinarily personal reflection on ways that thoughtful preparation for a ‘good death’ can be part of a life well lived.”
Benedictine monk Father Kilian McDonnell, founder of the Collegeville Institute (Minn.) says, “Dr. Miller has faced death and has been given not just a second, but a third chance at life. This book will be very useful in facilitating discussion with families who are confronting the death of a loved one.”