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Saying Goodbye, Finding Renewal through Loss

How modern medicine has prolonged the process of dying and created a new type of grief

Advancements in modern medicine have changed the process of dying, and as a result the way in which people grieve the loss of a loved one, has changed too. Co-authors Dr. Joseph Nowinski and Dr. Barbara Okun have explained what families can expect throughout this process in their book, Saying Goodbye: How Families Can Find Renewal through Loss.

See also: Beginning the End-of-Life Conversation.

During our conversation with Drs. Nowinski and Okun they explain that communication is key when a loved one becomes terminally ill. This communication is especially important when the terminal patient is a parent. "It's incredibly important to include a dying parent in decisions with doctors as this can ease the transition from child to caretaker," said Dr. Okun. It may also prompt other important conversations by giving them a say in how their possessions and money are taken care of when they are gone. Most importantly, giving the patient the final say in how they want to say goodbye can start the grieving process best for those who are saying goodbye.