We often wonder whether the death of a loved one is “good” or “bad.” But framing a death as “good” or “bad” carries baggage from intuitions around well-being. By focusing on this dichotomy of well-being, we lose the opportunity to make meaning and instead generate burdens for those facing death. By examining various well-being theories, we claim that a well-being focus unjustly universalizes and moralizes the liminal experience of death. A meaning-making approach, on the other hand, allows suffering, life, and death to become transformational in positive ways while also promoting patient inclusion in conversations about the end of life.
Against Constraint: The Freedom of Liminality at the End of Life
Lillian Wieland is an undergraduate student in the Department of Philosophy at Rice University. Correspondence to: Lillian Wieland, Department of Philosophy, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda Ruth is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Critical Care Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital and Associate Director, Medical Humanities Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Correspondence to: Amanda Ruth, 6651 Main Street MC E1420, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Email: email@example.com.
Daniel P. Mahoney is Assistant Professor, Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at Texas Children’s Hospital and Director, Medical Humanities Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Correspondence to: Daniel P. Mahoney, 6621 Fannin Street, W. 1990, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lillian Wieland, Amanda Ruth, Daniel P. Mahoney; Against Constraint: The Freedom of Liminality at the End of Life. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 September 2021; 10 (3): 48–52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2021.10.3.48
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