Podcast 798: The Lost Art of Dying-Reviving Forgotten Wisdom with Lydia Dugdale MD

“Dying” is probably not something that most of us give too much thought about, at least the notion of how we might die.  In my recent interview with author Dr. Lydia Dugdale about her new book “The Lost Art of Dying,” we will explore the term “dying well”.

Some people do plan ahead and attempt to contemplate their own finitude, but it is still difficult to picture ourselves dead, states Dr. Dugdale.  We can visualize all sorts of other things that we have never experienced: what it might be like to ride a hot air balloon, for example, or to vacation in Bora-Bora. We can watch videos and discuss such experiences. Yet, somehow no matter how much we read about death and no matter how many times Granddad repeats his story about seeing the white light and hearing his name called when his heart stopped during surgery, we cannot imagine ourselves as nonexistent. We cannot grasp what it means. And this makes consideration of finitude even more challenging.

Throughout this interview and in “The Lost Art of Dying” Dr. Dugdale takes the reader on a journey of what it means to die well through her experiences as a physician attending to people making their transition.

Dr. Dugdale brings alive the work of the 15th century works entitled ” ars morendi”.  The ars moriendi ignored the question of whether death is good or bad. Instead, it simply suggested that “to die well is to die gladly and willfully.” The ars moriendi hits the mark with its assertion that in order to die will, you must take mortality into account, even when death seems a long way off. Plenty of people die well even though they do not want to die. You can push back against death and still die well.  But you cannot ignore death.

According to Dr. Dugdale, about 90% of deaths occur in hospitals.  Often times the patients are alone.  If you want to change this possible statistic about your death, then you will want to read “The Lost Art of Dying“.  To learn more about the book and Dr. Lydia Dugdale, please click here to be directed to her website.

Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoy this very thought-provoking interview with Dr. Lyida Dugdale about “The Lost Art of Dying.”

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