NPR Radio Series On Being: Contemplating Mortality

This week Krista Tippett interviews Dr. Ira Byock, physician, early advocate for hospice and author of several books focused on end of life issues. Byock talks about his maturing view of death and his evolving belief that we need to get back to accepting death as more than a medical experience.

Other topics explored in the interview:

  • Death is not usually a medical mistake.
  • Dying isn’t simply to be suffered; rather it is a gritty difficult unwanted vulnerable and valuable human experience.
  • We need to understand the distinction between healing and curing, and that a person can be well as they die.
  • If we can be present with the dying experience of another, we are sharing a sacred experience.
  • The four most important sentences in any language are:
    • “I forgive you.”
    • “ Please forgive me.”
    • “Thank you.”
    • “ I love you.”

Listen to the full 51 minute interview.

Subscribe to future Tippet’s interviews of contemporary philosophers, religious leaders and current cultural shape shifters.

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Short bio of Krista Tippet

On-Being-Krista-TippetAfter studying history at Brown University, Tippet became an exchange student in then-Communist East Germany in 1982 and later a Fulbright scholar in Bonn, West Germany. In 1984, she became a freelance foreign correspondent in divided Berlin for The New York Times, Newsweek, the BBC, the International Herald Tribune, and Die Zeit. In 1986, the senior diplomat in West Berlin created a position for her as a special political assistant. The following year she became chief aide in Berlin to the U.S. ambassador to West Germany. She received a Masters of Divinity from Yale University in 1994.

Tippett has described her on air interviews as “tracing the intersection between great religious ideas and human experience, between theology and real life.”