The End of Life, A Shift in Perspective
B.J. Miller, M.D., is a former palliative care physician and executive director at the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, California. He was on a heartfelt mission to “de-pathologize death” and continues on that journey in various forms including public speaking and other related projects.
In this Ted Talk from March 2015, Dr. Miller shares his own story of cheating death by electrocution as a college student (and losing several limbs), leading him on a path towards rethinking death and how to create a dignified end of life. He encourages a shift in perspective in the end of life and challenges us to think about how to “usher in death with warmth,” when possible.
Dr. Miller speaks of how much he learned from the patients at Zen Hospice, witnessing the changes in their priorities and the rewards of the sensory experiences of just being. He does not mean to minimize the grief associated dying but encourages space be made for meaning in the time that’s left.
“Maybe we can learn to live well not in spite of death, not because of it. Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination.” – Dr. B.J. Miller, M.D.