Around the time of death: culture, religion, and ritual

Erica Brown and Frances Dominica

in Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199595105
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665020 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks In Palliative Medicine

Around the time of death: culture, religion, and ritual

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To live through the death of one’s own child is perhaps one of the most painful experiences known to humankind. It is instinctive in parents to nourish and protect their child. Death is to be fought, even to the point of sacrificing their own life. If the fight is lost, life is quite literally beyond control. The death of a child can leave parents feeling helpless, guilty, powerless, and broken. Nothing can take away the pain, but there are small ways in which it can be made a little less appalling. The professional person’s task, particularly towards the end of life, is to ensure that the child is as comfortable as possible and is suffering the minimum of distress, that the child and family are together, in the place they have chosen, and that reassurance and psychological, cultural, and spiritual support are available. The first part of this chapter offers an overview of cultural, ethnic, and religious aspects of death. The second part focuses on practical issues at the time of death and soon afterwards, and the final section contains information about customs relating to death in a number of world religions.

Chapter.  12627 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Paediatrics ; Palliative Medicine

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