Attitudes to Death and Dying Amongst Individuals who have Experienced Someone Close to them Dying In Conjunction with how this Affects their own Attitude towards Death
We talk about death in the abstract but when someone close to us dies, we do not know what to say. This study explores the lived experience of individuals who have cared for someone who has died, in conjunction with how this has affected their attitude towards death. The research compares a small sample of such individuals to historical and literary attitudes towards death. It explores issues present both in the sample and in literary text, and discusses potential solutions. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis to recognise themes in the data. A dichotomy emerged between the experience of death and dying in the public domain of the hospital and the private domain of the home. Additional important themes include: the medicalisation of death; the conversational taboo, which leads to isolation and loneliness; and the importance of rituals in dealing with the loss. The overriding finding of the study is that in order to die with dignity, the duality of public and private care found in a palliative environment is conducive to an authentic ending.