Farewells by the Dying: A Sociological Study Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This article presents a sociological description and analysis of farewell conduct in an Australian sample of 100 terminally ill cancer patients. Farewells already made before the research interviews and those that were desired and planned are outlined. Sociological functions which can be surmised from this conduct are discussed. The decision not to farewell and the reasons underlying this choice are examined. Eighty-one percent of the respondents reported a desire to farewell. Most expressed a desire for these to take place late in the course of their dying. Important to the timing of farewells were considerations concerning: 1) the nature of certain relationships; 2) the physical proximity to these; and 3) the type of farewells desired. Prominent in preferred styles of farewells were the gift, the conversation, and the letter.

publication date

  • December 1989