We don’t want to diminish how much palliative care physician BJ Miller’s TED Talk, “Not Whether But How,” will move you and get you thinking, but we can’t resist giving you a taste here (if only to get you to take a break and listen in full):
“I’ve been seeing Frank now for years. He’s living with advancing prostate cancer on top of longstanding HIV. We work on his bone pain and his fatigue, but most of the time we spend thinking out loud together about his life. Really, about our lives. In this way, Frank grieves. In this way, he keeps up with his losses as they roll in. So that he’s ready to take in the next moment.”
Miller is the senior director and advocate of the Zen Hospice Project and we at WYD are big fans—mainly because of how he’s cultivating a richer dialogue about death and dying that is so needed in our time.
Miller’s own life was profoundly reshaped at age 19 by an accident that involved the live wires of a parked commuter train. As he tells it, the experience began his “formal relationship with death”—his own death.