“To make the least of dying and most of living.”

The Dying To Understand Story.

As a Radiation oncologist, it’s my job to care for people who have cancer. I love my work, and as a part of an amazing team, we can cure some cancers but sadly, not all. While it’s easy to celebrate a patient who has been cured, the conversation is very different when it comes to someone who can’t be cured.

In my experience, I have found the conversations with people who can’t be cured to be one of the most difficult things I have to do. Talking about dying involves dealing with disappointment, loss and it destroys hope. Because it is so difficult, many people try to avoid it and never end up having this conversation. Almost anything and everything else is discussed, but our common mortality – the elephant in the room.

Talking about dying is one of the most important discussions a person can have, and here at Dying to Understand, we’re more than happy to do it.

Dying to Understand has been in development for over 10 years. To have the conversation about dying; to say it’s normal, that it’s okay to die and to offer companionship and advice on this often-lonely journey takes time, and this is what we’re all about. I first released my book “About Dying: how to live in the face of death” in 2014 to introduce a discussion about dying. The positive feedback I received was incredible. It was this that encouraged me to persevere with the concept of Dying to Understand.

After a lot of learning and re-thinking about how we can add much needed and invaluable support for those facing death, we have redesigned Dying to Understand. This organisation is aimed at people directly facing death or those indirectly dealing with death as family members, partners, friends or health care providers.

We are a not-for-profit charity, whose primary mission is to educate and support people who are facing death, but we hope to be far more than this. We aim to help those who are dying to make the most of life, even in the face of death. But we can’t do it alone. Contributions from you, our community, are essential. Your story counts, as does every story. The more we speak about dying and living the easier the journey becomes. If one can do it, then we all can do it. Please share your feedback, insight and stories.
We look forward to walking with you on this journey to understanding dying.

Dr Colin Dicks.
MBChB, MMED, FCRadOnc (SA), Dip Palliative Medicine, FRANZCR, MBA

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