Recently there has been long overdue attention to the psychosocial processes accompanying fatal illness, dying, death, and grief. We are witnessing an increasing number of conferences and publications devoted to achieving greater understanding and responsiveness to the needs of the dying patient by the physician and other clinical workers. Increased familiarity and comfort with the issues will, we hope, enhance the physician's therapeutic capacity in his relationship with patient and family as well as in his use of technologic advances in resuscitation and life support.
Now, this brief, highly personal account appears, describing in a moving, even compelling, fashion the experiences of a young woman, married for six years, who is confronted with the fact that her 33-year-old husband is dying of carcinoma of the pancreas. It could be dismissed as another single case report, written from the uncorrected viewpoint of the patient's wife without the clinician's firsthand perceptions. However,