Charles Cowling
There’s a new book out about dying and death. It’s called, appropriately, The D-Word. Now, there’s a heap of books out there about long-term care of the very ill; there’s another heap about bereavement. We don’t urgently need more of them. But there’s hardly anything out there about grim D.
Charles Cowling
Eighteen months ago Tony Judt was, by his own description, “a 61-year-old, very healthy, very fit, very independent, travelling sports-playing guy”. He had a slight shortness of breath walking up hills and found himself hitting the wrong keys when he typed, nothing more. Then in September 2008 he was diagnosed
Charles Cowling
I don’t know if you follow Carla Zilbersmith’s blog. It’s not an easy read. She’s very clever and talented and funny, a brilliant writer, the kind of person you like and admire a lot, and she’s dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which in the UK we call motor neurone
Charles Cowling
In late December 2007 blogger Carl Zilbersmith, actor, singer, director, was diagnosed with ALS, a fatal motor neurone disease. Here’s how she greeted the diagnosis: Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s bullshit that I have to go this way. I don’t like it one bit. But that’s the hand
Charles Cowling
Your life experience is unique to you. What you’ve done in your life, what’s happened to you and the sense you’ve made of it all amount to a precious and extraordinary story. Even if you don’t feel the need to write a whole book about it, you almost certainly have
Charles Cowling
In general it’s irresponsible, contemptible, to adopt the role of helpless bystander. We don’t like helpless bystanders. Their body language is all wrong, so are their faces. Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to be one. When the plumber calls I serenade him with cups of coffee and ingratiating solicitude, then
Charles Cowling
No one writes about death and funerals with greater wisdom, wit or feel for words than the poet-undertaker Thomas Lynch. Is that point of view disputable? I think not. But go on, dispute it all the same. Where healthy debate is concerned, there is harmony only in discord. Following on from my
Charles Cowling
For a while, now, I have been looking for someone to tell me what dying feels like. Tricky topic, I know, all the best witnesses being dead. Silly thing to do, friends have told me, don’t waste your time. Dr Geoffrey Garret, onetime senior Home Office pathologist, tells us what