A Good Death?


Cooper, Andrew 2016. A Good Death? Journal of Social Work Practice. 30 (2), pp. 121-127. https://doi.org/10.1080/02650533.2016.1168384
AuthorsCooper, Andrew

This paper offers some personal reflections on the idea of ‘a good death’, a theme in the writing of philosophers since classical times. The hospice movement has made immense progress in creating conditions in which we can ‘die better’. But such experiences are still the exception rather than the rule. The psychological challenge is how to relate to the dying as they are dying, and how as we die we relate to the living. I reflect on my own experience of my father’s death, and a moment of fleeting but genuine contact between us. Atul Gawande’s idea of the ‘hard conversations’ we must learn to have as we approach death are enlightening. Ultimately I argue, we die alone, and how we are, or are not, ‘held in mind’ as we approach death may be an index of the nearest we can approach to the idea of an ‘afterlife’.

JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Journal citation30 (2), pp. 121-127
PublisherTaylor & Francis for Group for the Advancement of Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy in Social Work (GAPS)
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/02650533.2016.1168384
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/02650533.2016.1168384
Publication dates
Online30 Jul 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Nov 2017
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Social Work Practice on 30.07.16, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02650533.2016.1168384
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