The Experience of Being with a Dying Person

  • Thomas B. West


Fifteen years ago, I sat at my aunt’s bedside and held her hand as she died. This was my first experience of being with someone at the moment of death. It was a moment of great intimacy. At the time, I was aware of how common an experience this was for the hospital personnel around me. Yet, I felt a sense of awe and privilege at having been able to accompany my aunt and care for her during her last month of life, right up to the moment of her death. Since that time, I have been with many people throughout the last days of their lives. And I have had the privilege to be at the bedside of a number of them as they died. Caring for the dying and being with them as they die is a common human experience. This chapter describes an existential-phenomenological study of this common human experience and the meaningful characteristics that make it up.


Garden City Religious Ritual Theme Cluster Anchor Book Phenomenological Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas B. West
    • 1
  1. 1.Franciscan School of TheologyBerkeleyUSA

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