Death is the one certain thing in each of our lives, and yet it holds the most mystery, the least certainty and often the most discomfort and fear of anything we encounter. A practicing physician for over 30 years, Dr. Martha Calihan has helped many patients and families through the process of preparing to say goodbye to a loved one. But when it came time to do it for her husband, it felt very different.
What actually happens when we die? What is it like? Do people who are dying have an understanding? What's the best way to help someone facing a terminal illness, and to help their loved ones approach the dying process? When does medical care become futile, and how is that information shared? How does one make the decision to stop treatment and enter into palliative and hospice care?
Through her dual vantage points of wife and physician, Dr. Calihan takes us on the journey of her husband's final illness and death, and how they, as a family, navigated this most difficult of challenges. She explores the issues associated with end-of-life care on a personal and professional level, while weaving in the mystical aspects of dying as she witnessed them.