Death is a process—a challenge for both the dying and their loved ones, and a journey of wide-ranging emotional shifts, yet rarely are we encouraged to fully experience it as such. The illustrated approach of Wendy MacNaughton’s How to Say Goodbye is a quietly powerful gesture in the right direction. As an artist-in-residence at a San Francisco hospice, McNaughton closely observed the dying and their caregivers, absorbing wisdom and appreciating small moments—a plate of fruit, flowers, hands held. “Drawing is a way we can look closely at something we might otherwise be afraid to look at,” she reflects. Her gentle pictures are followed by a deep well of resources for the dying and those who love and care for them. In his foreword, palliative care physician BJ Miller, MD, sets the tone: “Presence, after all, is not an intellectual exercise. It’s a corporeal surrender. Attuning, if you like. What does your body tell you about what the body before you is doing? What does your soul know about the one playing at the edge of existence right in front of you? Can you stop trying to figure it out and just be it?”
July 24, 2023
How to Say Goodbye
Wendy MacNaughton’s gentle drawings are followed by a deep well of resources for the dying and those who love and care for them.