Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well A Doctor Explains How to Make Death a Natural Part of Life

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A Doctor Explains How to Make Death a Natural Part of Life
Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well

Most persons, especially as they are aging, wonder, “How will I die? Will I have a good death? Will I suffer? How will my family respond? How can we manage the dying process better?”

Author Dr. Glen Miller, a retired physician, had his own wake-up call when he suffered a heart attack and determined to help himself and his patients go “gently into that good night.” Dr. Miller emphasizes that good preparation for the inevitable—by individuals and their families—will ease this transitional time of high stress and high emotion.

The book brings a unique perspective related to the author’s professional career and personal medical history—doctor of internal medicine who cared for dying patients, healthcare administrator who understands how the healthcare system works, and Christian who thinks that dying can be a natural part of life. All of this is in the context of the author’s own healthcare narrative and his personal search for a good death. With compassion honed by serving overseas among poor and despairing people and the practical ideas gleaned from his medical practice, Dr. Miller provides rich guidance to aging persons to live more fully and to proactively plan for a good death.

This is an ecumenical book, which includes an interview with a Catholic priest (Benedictine monk) and shares perspectives from four different Christian traditions.

  • Foreword
  • Preface and Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Wake-Up Call
  • 2. Good Deaths and Bad Deaths
  • 3. The Way We Die Has Changed
  • 4. Dying Regrets or Loving Memories?
  • 5. Practical Ways to Prepare for a Good Death
  • 6. Leaning Forward as Death Approaches
  • 7. Defining Beliefs and Their Application to End-of-Life Decisions
  • 8. Comfort at the Time of Dying through Religious Practices
  • 9. A Good Death
  • Epilogue
  • Checklist
  • Role-Play: Real-Life Medical Dilemmas
  • Appendixes: 1. Abbreviations and Definitions
  • 2. Comparison of U.S. and Canadian Systems of Healthcare
  • 3. Resources
  • Topical Index
  • The Author


Product Preview

Format: Paperback book
Product code: MM9889
Dimensions: 5.1" x 8"
Length: 180 pages
MennoMedia / Herald Press
ISBN: 978-0-8361-9889-8
Written by Dr. Glen E. Miller


Miller advises readers on advance directives that make one's wishes known in the event of incapacity. He advocates regular family discussions that make one's wishes clear and will enable loved ones to resist heroic measures by medical specialists who, in accordance with their training, try to persuade families to keep an elderly patient alive in spite of the inevitable.Miller includes a checklist for planners, examples of common real-life dilemmas, an appendix with medical abbreviations and definitions, a list of suggested resources, and an index.Living Thoughtfully, Dying Well is an outstanding resource.
Monica Tenney, Congregational Libraries Today
This book will be the standard vehicle for informing others about end-of-life measures.
Joseph Martin, professor of neurobiology and emeritus dean, Harvard Medical School
An extraordinarily personal reflection on ways that thoughtful preparation for a good death can be part of a life well-lived, and a gift of love to one’s family.
Douglas Smucker, hospice and palliative medicine fellowship, The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio
Very useful in facilitating discussions with families who are confronting the death of a loved one.
Father Killian McDonnell, Benedictine monk, founder of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research
Poignant stories—a must-read for families and church communities.
Ruth Lapp Guengerich, mental health counselor and codirector of Mennonite Women USA
Excellent book illustrating both the benefits and the burdens of treatment options…will help navigate healthcare options with greater knowledge, courage, and peace.
Kathleen Rempel Boschman, manager of spiritual care, Concordia Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba
In a world where the reality of death may be denied, or resisted through futile and expensive effort, we need a book that provides a realistic and healthy perspective on this universal experience. Dr. Glen Miller has written that book.
Joseph Longacher, past president of Mennonite Medical Association and past president of medical staff at Henrico Doctors Hospital, Richmond, Virginia


Born on a farm in northwest Ohio, Glen Miller’s vocation and motivations took him to more than 44 countries. Over 25 years, he played a key role in elevating the local hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio, to the top rung of small hospitals in the state. Dr. Miller is retired and lives in Goshen, Indiana, with his wife Marilyn.