Get the key ideas from

With the End in Mind

Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

By Kathryn Mannix
15-minute read
Audio available
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix

With the End Mind (2017) provides a powerful antidote to the fear, ignorance and misunderstanding that surrounds death in contemporary culture. Through observations and personal reflections, it tells the poignant stories of some terminally ill patients with whom the author has worked over her three-decade career as a palliative care doctor. 

  • Friends and family members of people with terminal illnesses
  • Fans of emotionally moving medical stories 
  • Anyone with a fear of death

Kathryn Mannix is a British doctor and cognitive behavior therapist who has worked with terminally ill patients for more than three decades. Since 1986, she has specialized in palliative care. This branch of medicine is devoted to alleviating patients’ pain and suffering. She’s also a practitioner, advocate and pioneer of integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) into palliative care. She started the UK’s first CBT clinic dedicated to helping palliative care patients and created a “CBT First Aid” training program for other palliative care practitioners.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

With the End in Mind

Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial

By Kathryn Mannix
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
Synopsis

With the End Mind (2017) provides a powerful antidote to the fear, ignorance and misunderstanding that surrounds death in contemporary culture. Through observations and personal reflections, it tells the poignant stories of some terminally ill patients with whom the author has worked over her three-decade career as a palliative care doctor. 

Key idea 1 of 9

There’s a general pattern to the experience of dying, and it’s surpassingly peaceful. 

From cancer to Parkinson’s disease, terminal illnesses come in many different forms, but there’s a general pattern to how most terminal patients die.

It begins with a gradual decline in energy, which starts slow and then speeds up over time. At first, you might just feel a difference in your energy level from year to year. Then you’ll notice a reduction from month to month, week to week and, finally, day to day. When you reach that point, it’s a sign that the end is drawing near. 

But the end itself is something you won’t experience. That’s because the more you lose your energy, the more you need to sleep, as your body tries to compensate for the loss. Eventually, you’re asleep more than you’re awake each day, and while you’re sleeping, your mind dips into unconsciousness for a period. These periods of unconsciousness become longer and longer until finally, you’re unconscious all the time. As you reach the end of this final stage of dying, your breathing rate becomes slower and slower, until it gently ceases. 

As a result, you don’t experience a surge of pain, a feeling of panic or a sense of life fading away in the final moments of dying. In fact, you don’t experience anything at all. It’s not even like falling asleep, where you can notice the transition from one state to the next. Remember, your mind is unconscious at this point, so you don’t perceive what’s happening. It just happens, and then it’s done. 

That’s the general pattern, in a nutshell. There are some exceptions, and we’ll look at them in the next blink. But in the author’s professional experience, it’s helpful to know the general pattern for a couple of reasons. 

First, it can be comforting to patients and their loved ones. It reassures them that the experience of dying will probably be a lot less painful or dramatic than many of them fear it will be. Second, it can give them time to prepare. If a patient has reached the point where his energy is rapidly diminishing from one day to the next, he and his loved ones know it’s time to start saying goodbye. 

Now, let’s look at some exceptions.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.