Living with uncertainty and the reality of death

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The role of death and dying can play a central role in illness and in health care, and yet the reality of death in making sense of illness is often overlooked. Guided by the philosophy of Martin Heidegger (1962) and the works of Viktor Frankl (1959), this article, which is part of a larger study (Quinn, 2018), reveals the presence of death in the lives of people trying to make sense of having cancer. This article demonstrates that facing up to death is a core part of the personal experience of living with cancer for many people. Amid the diagnosis and the uncertainty it brought, the reality of death is never far away. While the 15 participants who took part in this study in 2015 wanted to survive, some acknowledged that death was very close. Paying attention to the presence of death in these personal stories may help improve the support healthcare professionals give to those living with advanced disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278–283
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number6
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 25 Aug 2020


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