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My mother passed away 2 years ago last month (August) and I don't feel I have stopped grieving. She had Alzheimer's, even though we didn't know for certain until the autopsy. I was her guardian and had power of attorney, so I handled all her financial affairs even though my Dad is still alive and I have siblings. I had a Durable Power of Attorney that was no use, because by the time I went home, got it and returned to the hospital, she had passed. I reacted with a rapid heart, and the blood rushed to my head, but I couldn't really cry like I thought I would when I thought about her dying. Since I was POA, my family turned to me when decisions had to be made. I coped by unconsciously not feeling. I was able to position her head on the pillow in the casket to make her look more natural. My sister became upset and asked me to stop. My Dad (who is 93) fell in March, had a hip replacement and suffered a stroke, heart attack and pneumonia. He's now in an assisted living center right by my a

Thanks, PBS for this opportunity to express myself.


I have taken care of both parents who have had catastrophic illnesses. My mother, who passed away 6 years ago, had six aneurysms, the symptoms of which had manifested in 1983, when she was 57. Several surgeries and several related illnesses later, she passed away, after 11 years of slowly deteriorating. My dad, who passed away just last year, was diagnosed with acute myelogenic leukemia. I saw my mother the nikght before she passed away and I was with my dad, helping him through the process as he passed away. The mourning is over for the most part, and I am grateful to them both for giving me this experience. My lesson in all this is not to fear dying. It's just as much a part of life and nature as breathing.


I found your program to be most imformative and true. As a 34 year man i lost my mother on Oct 30, 1997 and had never truely delt with her death . I just want to thank you for your program to realise that i need to close that door and open a new one of continueing on. THANK YOU.


I feel blessed that my father gave us an opportunity to be real with him before he died, that we were able to thank him for his time on this earth and with us (even though he was by no means perfect) and for what he had done for us. He also got to hear from all of us how much we loved him. But I realize, especially after watching tonight's show how much more work I need to do personally to deal with the reality that we all die. I think and feel that it would be so much more helpful if we were able to more openly talk about and embrace, at least the concept of, death. i hope to do so.


I never call people care givers. When my husband was ill, I was baraged with label "care giver". Sometimes I just got mad and said "I'm not his caregiver. I'm his wife." He's not a thing; he's my lover.


It seems to me that much of life contains little deaths, to me losses feel like deaths. I am not sure how death of my body will be different than the deaths I have experienced throughout my life. This is a question.


It has been a year and a week since my husband walked across the street, fell and never got up. I think I am getting better. It has been good for me to watch the program tonight - I listened and realize I have gone through most of the feelings of anger, sadness, bewilderment, loneliness, etc. I felt like I was going to die too, though I did not want to. Thank you for this program. I would like to know how to obtain a complete transcrip, since I will not be able to watch the entire presentation this week. Thank you for being there.


More enlightened. I believe that a way of dealing with one's own inevitability as well as the demise of a dearly beloved is to establish a strong spiritual foundation. I think that absent such a foundation allows for the experience to become exceedingly difficult to accept.

New York

Most important program I've seen on television. It will help me deal with the recent death of my father. It will also help me to think about my own mortality before there is an imminent need to do so. A very moving program.


Seeing this very infomative program, and the Doctor dealing with Illness and dying and being treated as a patient and deciding if this is what is going on, I am going home and skipping treatment this is virtual reality and why Doctors cannot or will not see the in humane way this very difficult process is handled by the medical community is harsh and hateful, being treated with such a cavalier attitude is very revealing. My husband had Bone Cancer (Multiple Myeloma)and had several treatments of Radiation and Chemotherapy and we were very hopeful about the recovery process when the Oncology Doctor came into the hospital room and very matter of fact announced to us that the Bone Marrow transplant was not an option and the other Treatments would have to be curtailed and then just left said he would return to answer questions but never returned. My husband gave up hope.

If we had been told the truth probably his last days would have been better with no treatment, because of the not being truthful and informed, the heartache and the pain caused by unnessary waiting and the first Oncology Doctor waited a month to start treatment because he was doing something else. Little did we know what heartach lay ahead and most of it was caused by the medical community and their inability to be upfront and forthright about the treatment and options facing us. We were passed around from this or that facility kept waiting. Do Doctors and the healthcare community not see this unti it is them that is being kept waiting. There was no dignity in this illness. There were some very good caring, kind Doctors but for the most part we were ill served and treated.


My husband just died suddenly after an 8 month battle with advanced colon and liver cancer.Probably the most annoying thing I have heard from some people is how well they think I am doing, that I don't seem as upset as I should be. They don't realize that Dave and I grieved tremendously these past 8 months, and then moved on to the business of having a good quality of life. I learned how to keep my emotions in check around him because I did not want him upset and worrying about me when he needed to have the strength to fight the cancer.

Dave was cremated and I have him home here with me..It helps to have his presence, so to say, where I can still say good morning and good night and tell him how I am coping. And sometimes I still yell at him for leaving me too soon.


My father died at about 9:45 this morning, about 15 minutes before my mother and I got to the nursing home where he was receiving hospice care. We had spent Saturday with him and went home at 8pm. At midnight, I got a call from the hospice nurse that my father was actively dying and that the color of his fingers has become pale. I was told that he would probably last until the next day and that he was resting comfortably. I called at 7:30 am this morning and was told he was resting comfortably. I felt that I should leave then and go out there but I decided to wait until my mother, who is living with us, to wake up. She had lost 40 pounds taking care of my father by herself before they moved from ND to live with us near Milwaukee and needed her sleep. When she woke up I told her that we should hurry. It is about a 20 minute drive to the nursing home but we had to take a round about way because the early morning downpour had flooded the route we normally take. I sent my mother in to visit

He was prepared to die. About 3 weeks ago he looked at me and whispered, "i'm getting old you know. I'm the last one." He also said he wanted to see his mother and brothers. I mentioned their names and he answered, "they are all dead." He has also said in the last week that he was looking at the angels. He squeezed my hand and said that he was ready for a trip.

I feel guilty that I did not act on my first impulse to go to his side early in the morning and have my wife bring my mother out later. I was so other worldly to sit there and look at my father who just hours before had tried hard to talk to me and just had been able to say a few words.

I feel such a profound sense of loss. I have been watching him slowly die for the last year. I have thought about his death so many times. But, having it happen isso much more intense than comtemplating it. One is so abstract. One is so real. At least I finished a draft of the obituary last night in preparation for this. I just did not want to believe it would happen so soon.


I found validation in my feeling about my death and also my husband. We both have illness that it is questionable who will go first. We have a game or I do not want to be left behind. I get to go first. Both know it is just one way we cope with our own possibility of being left behind. Most of all we are accepting of the end of this life and we will go on to the next on - we want to have as much time as possible - but God will make that decision and we will accept it. The main thing is to stay as active as possible, keep in touch with our families and enjoy what time we have left. We are enjoying the trip and do not want to look back and say "why didnt we do this or that?" I love my life.


My attitude was already formed as a positive one and the advice given from "with eyes open" just reinforces my own beliefs on the matter. I am hoping that my input with my family and friends will be a help into understanding and compassion.


If anything, it has strengthened my belief in the hospice movement and the need to develop it with the same intensity that we devote to the technical side of medicine. As a health care professional, I am keenly aware of the need to expand on the human side of care, particularly regarding end of life care. We need to promote natural death with the same emphasis that we did with natural childbirth three decades ago.

Only then will we have achieved the complete health care that we all deserve, whether living or dying.


This program strengthens my beliefs in quality vs quanity and the right to choose if I am confronted with a similar situation.

Rhode Island

My hope is that this program will open the eyes of the American public as a whole. I am a Hospice Nurse and know that the public is not aware that there are options available to the dying population.


It has brought my grieving into the open. My tears have no end. My father has cancer and his condition is declining more quickly than anticipated. How do I obtain the "quality" time the patients on the show talked about when the treatments seemed to have completely "drained" him?


My husband died 2 years ago and I have since met someone else. I am 39 years old and my boyfriend also lost a mate. This is a very serious relationship but we don't discuss the ones we have lost. I don't think we can for lack of a better word evolve as far as we could until we get get to the point where this is discussed. I don't know how to get started. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!


watching the program just gave me alot to think about i just lost my mother in may of 2000 and after her passing i felt very scared of death and i also felt as though it was coming for me next


I want to thank you for putting such a series on television. I went through all of the same things with my grandfather 5 years ago. I hope that this series will help someone going through this same situation now.


It reminded me that I am not alone in my grief.







My mother died this summer; I was present at her death. She was with home, with wonderful hospice care, but there was a lot of suffering. Partly because she chose to take less medication so as to spend last time with my dad. I have some issues related to this event which I probably still need to reconcile. Two weeks later I discovered I have a life-threatening condition. I will have surgery in the near future. Even if the surgery is successful, it could fail in the sense that, if my condition (pulmonary hypertension due to damage to mitral valve in heart) is advanced enough, it will not reverse due to the operation. In that event. I probably will have a relatively short time left. I remain optimistic about my chances, but the show made me realize I am also in denial about my feelings some aspects of my mother's passing as well as perhaps denial about my own condition. I probably need some counseling, but right now am swamped with a new job and preparations for the surgery. Guess maybe when I ge

Mary Ann

I watched "With Eyes Open" with so many feelings. During the last 4 years I have experienced death much to often. I am 44 years old. I lost very special people in my lives. My 40 year old brother in law. Married to my husbands twin sister. Such a open spirit and full of life to the end. No complaints and always full of love. Died of a brain tumor.

My sister in law, age 49. Married to my most special brother. Died of lymphoma. Always so good to me. Special person to my children.

My most special brother. Age 50. Died of a brain tumor. He helped me find my way to a relationship with our Lord Jesus. He was a most fascinating leading type of person. People just loved him. Accordian player with a voice like Elvis. Loving father and most Holy Christian that I knew besides my mother and father.

At this time my father is also dying of cancer. During the past 4 years, cancer has been a part of my daily routine. A routine that I would like to quit. The program gave me new insights as to how I can better help my father die. I hopefully can help my children better to understand the hope that the next life is better. My attitude about death and dying is that not to wait until someone tells you they are dying to do something special for that person. Every day we must do as if it is our last. I need to open my heart to every situation, every day. Do not wait. Do it now. Let them know how much you love them. Hug each other. Touch each other. Love each other.

Thank you for a very thought provoking program and I wish you could air things like this on the major channels so all people could see it.


I have wanted nothing to do with Hospice ever since I learned that they set a time limit for their services to people. Can you imagine anything more cruel than developing an intimate relationship with a dying person only to tell them "so long" just because they managed to out live your deadline for them to die? This is disgusting! As a clinical psychologist, I never referred anyone to Hospice after learning this.


I was moved to deep sobs at the end as I thought of my mother in law's death a year and a half ago, and wishing I had been there with her to tell her I loved her, and to offer my presence. I was too detached out of fear of death to do that. I now live with a greater sense of the gift of life and the days are here to use to be kind and loving to each other. Yes I did also feel shame at the cowardice I had with her. I was unable to break the wall between us. I can only hope that there is a hereafter and she gets my love.


After watching the program, I have decided that I really need to follow through on becoming involved with a hospice program in my area. When my father died, I was devastated. I wasn't ready for him to go. I felt cheated, angry, lost. He was in the hospital, but he wasn't supposed to be dying. Then all of a sudden, he was gone. My mother's death was a different story. I think I knew before the doctors told us that she had cancer. I was able to spend time with her as the cancer progressed. We were able to talk about things we had not discussed before. I was able to be there with her and for her. She was able to let me know what she wanted to happen as her time drew near, and I was able to see that her wishes were followed. She slipped into a coma and we thought it would just be a matter of a short time. My aunt (her sister) and my grandmother had not been able to see or talk to her in some time. They were brought to the hospital after she was in the coma. She came out of the coma a

and in an odd way, happy moment. We did not want to lose our mother, but we did not want her in pain. And we knew we had not really lost her. Her spirit is just waiting in heaven for us to join her. Her faith was so strong. Her dying helped make my faith stronger, too. It's been 16 years now since her death. Sometimes I whirl around because I hear her voice speaking her words, only to realize that I am the one using her words, her voice. She is still with me. She is a part of me and I carry a part of her always. Her death also helped me finally grieve for my father and to be okay about his death. He is waiting for me, too, because she was able to let me know that. I'm in no hurry to get there, but I no longer fear my own death. I know where I am going and who will be there to greet me.

North Carolina

I have been in police/fire for 17 yrs. I thought I had a grasp on death and control of my emotions concerning it's effects as I have seen it many times.

Sometimes you can't prepare. in 1999 both my dogs died, was promoted to a position where I could not just stop and get off, was told by wife...ex, that she wanted divorce and lost my only remaining relative, (the rest have passed) my mother, and in doing so had to make "the decision" in the hospital emergency room. Some things you can never prepare for...I really had to dig deep to my core beliefs to cope...I don't think I would have been able to continue if not for some of those beliefs. Programing like this helps. We all are more alike than different, Death and loss..just one of those things that we don't talk about.


My mom died of breast cancer about 4 monthes now and I am doing ok but it is very hard and I have really come to find a gift in it..not her being gone but all the things I am learning about love and life....they are what life is about and nothing else really matters.


Both the Moyers program and the follow-up were awesome invitations to discuss the whole experience of death and dying. In the early seventies, when my father was dying, I couldn't find any support and did not have the inner resources to deal with it insightfully. He withdrew and the rejection was so painful. It is very painful to realize that I in turn abandoned him at that time. I think I've forgiven myself and I sense he's forgiven me...but it would have meant the world to me to have the support of the fine people that I witnessed on your show tonight. Thanks to the Bills, especially, and the poetry and wisdom of Mr. Lynch. I feel that the program had a tremendous impact on me and I will honor my death and the deaths of others in a refreshing new way.









I lost my husband Peter, 13 years ago to CF. Though I had the help of some professional counseling, I had to do much of the work of healing and rebuilding on my own. The comments of the doctor's wife really hit home...I cried...the realisation that you have been privileged to participate in a loved one's dying is so profound, that it is truly a religious experience.

Thank you for your thoughtful program.


My attitude toward death and dying is that we have to open doors more to discussion in an effort to increase support to our community.

The advise is well taken, sensible, well thought out and offers a logical approach to a taboo subject. People need to see death as a natural process of the life cycle and therefore control some of the end of life decisions if not all of them in a gentle and loving manner....bless your efforts!


I felt doctor,& some hospital staff not sympathic to dying parent.. Cold, wanted us to let her go' like it was such a burden on them to bother taking care of her.And that we were promoting her misery.When, they to most extent, were to blame to cause her to almost die, and to be forced to live like a zombie. ..I knew she wanted to live...regardless. . We took her home, she lived 1l more years..It was so hard; now I'm burned out; my grief is over the horrible care she received in hospital. Everyone gave up on her but me...No support from society in general; now I must return to a world that has forgotten me; no job, after 11 years of24hr. caregiving....I feel so isolated, bitter and alone. The politicians talk about family values; but noone was or is there to help me.How do I release this resentment I feel?


Hello, my name is Michael and I am living with what has been termeda life altering illness. I term it as life threatening because it has threatened my life three times since my diagnosis. I have multiple sclerosis. The first time I faced death was eight months after my initial diagnosis. I had ongoing upper respiratory infections, becoming worse and worse. I had to leave Graduate school, and try and face this threat. Near the critical time of my illnes. my Doctor told me that I needed to make a plan about my future, get my will updated, plan for my wife and child and look into funeral arrangements. He said that I was at the point of whether to choose life or not. I left his office determined to chose life. And for whatever reason, I am still here.

It hasn't been an easy road and each time I become ill, it becomes more life threatening. It took me quite a while to realize that I have had a pretty good life. And that I feel blessed everyday I wake up. But, I no longer fear death any more.

I did a lot of searching. I investigated different belief systems, I questioned and chose to learn more about myself and especially about others not only in my situation but those who have to live a life with someone who faces death as a truly real issue. I walk through life with eyes open and though I still seem to have some time left on this planet, I am begining to realize that my eyes still have a lot of anger in them. It bothers me to be angry, I find it to be such a negative energy drain, but I still get angry. I am working through it and remembering that it's my reaction to this disease thatmakes me angry and especially my frustration at not being able to communicate as well as I did before. I am accepting my losses, but it is harder and I don't want to let go of my independence.

What I learned from the series is the idea of a need to be able to express my emotions more. To cry more, and not hold back, being that strong male role model. I have learned to focus myself more on what I truly want in my life. and that is something that has been on-going. My family lives with my disease every day. My son is too little to fully comprehend what happens, my daughter realizes that life is a short trip and you have to make it worth while. My wife understands me, loves me unconditionally and accepts the disease. We have come a long ways since my diagnosis twelve years ago, but I still have a way to go. I try to have a postive outlook on life, I am still employed which helps my self esteem and I still am able to teach a couple of college courses. That's what has made me happy in my life and teaching has become my first love.

Thank you so much for your series and I will be watching it and taping it not only for myself but for my family as well. God Bless

New York

The first night was handled in a very professional manner. I am impressed and will look forward to the other nights.

Thank You

My father had several strokes and was hospitalized. He had lost his ability to swallow. A feeding tube was recommended. He had one previously and pulled It out. He had been very clear on his wishes. His mind was good. He had lost most of his ability to speak, but had ways of communicating. He had the nurses call me, I went and he said I want to go home. I arranged with hospice and we brought him home. My sister and I were able to be with him in the final days of his life. He was kept comfortable. We placed his bed in the living room, in his favorite place. He could see the bird feeder and see friends and relatives come and go. On the evening of his death I was sitting, touching his arm and talking to him. He had been comatose and the nurse had told us it would not be long. Suddenly, he took a deep breath and opened his arms as if to give someone a hug. Then he closed his eyes and he was gone. I knew someone, his angel had come to accompany him on this part of his journey. He wa


don't know how it has changed my attitude-I had my mother and aunt both die within 3 months of each in a demintia unit, and one at home, last days in nursing home. I was the only one responsible, or only one who seemed to care but inside I sometimes felt like I had no feelings. I Sat with my aunt alone in the hospital for 4 days while she lay dying. Not something I ever want anyone to go thru. My mother died right/during christmas season - a horrible choice time. Now almost a year later the estates are still regurgitating problems I never ever anticipated. I guess I am just bitter and resentful from what should have been sweet and peaceful ending has a very bitter taste. It goes to show what a difficult subject you are trying to explain. Everyone has very difficult circumstances and yet underneath we all feel the same, but are respressed because that is what we were taught, just like you explained. Sometimes oh the regrets and yet could we do any different. All I know is that it is n


I have signed advanced directives but feel I need to be more specific after my experience with my father's death.


My husband died Feb. 29-00 The last month we called hospice We got rid of them the very next day. We called another hospice the nurse only came every three days for fithteen mintes she wanted to drug him up and send him to a hospice facilty. He stated he was staying home.He was up and dressed right to his last day. when he was at the end they refused to come. Hospice care under Medicare is just another

managed care the pays for meds.I am now reading Final Exit I have five daugters they will not be able to stop working to care for me when my time comes.I intend to die at home by myself.Living a long life in good health sounds great,I see this as being rare.I live in elderly housing its like living in a nursing home.


My mother has 3rd stage colon cancer and is going through the end of her radiation and chemo. I live far from her and every time I try to talk to her she doesn't want to come to the phone. My dad is always telling me how she is doing. No word from her, however. It is as if she is mad at me.

Furthermore, my mother doesn't want me to tell a soul

about her having cancer. She gets very, very upset if we mention that it is better to admit to having it to others. Is she in denial?

Should I leave my mother alone for awhile and give her space?


19 months ago our 19 yr. old son was killed in an auto accident. 8 months after his death I became a Hospice nurse. My attitude about life and death has changed greatly since these events entered my life. I have come to realize that youth and health does not equal a long life. Living is a struggle, not a morning goes by that when I awaken my heart fills heavy before my mind has even had time to process that I am awake. I don't know how I feel about death and dying it's still so new.


This program is providing a very acceptable forum for discussing what is [for many] uncomfortable to discuss. Our oldest son was killed in a motorcycle accident and it didn't take us long to realize how uncomfortable most folks are about disussing death and dying. Death, pain, loss became the focus of our life [especially since my husband's mom died 5 weeks after our son] and we sure felt out of synch with the rest of our friends. thanks for opening up this important topic for discussion.


I was my mothers hlth care agent & was with her the entire time thru her dying process.It was the most incredible experience that I had ever gone thru in my life. My Mom woke up 1.5 days before she died & we spoke & cried & said our I Love You's. My Mom died at home where she wanted to in her own way, on her own terms. It was a priviledge & honor for me to have my Mom ask me to do this for her.


My husband is dying of cancer. He doesn't talk about anything with anyone. Is he facing his own death? Surely he is but it is this huge gorilla living with us. The show was very poignant for me. It was healing to get words spoken that I have inside me that only add to my helplessness of watching the love of my life wither away before me. Thank you for producing it.


Not a day goes by that I don't thank God,for letting us four children of Mary Alice Petray Davidson,take care of this wonderful soul,whom we all called Mother with the help of hospice team at the end.

We were in our mid 40' to late 50's back in 1990.I do not fear death, but like so many, I pray I can go at home with dignity as our mother did. Death is in the dictionary but not in my vocabulary and in this letter it will explain it all.

What we seen the night before our mother passed on has consumed my life for over 10 years. My sister MarJoe Davidson has written a Book (Angel in Disguise Bridging this world to the other side). Her web site is

This story is on the caring for nine months, of our mother when we found out she had 12 tumors in the brain and what we three sisters saw, the night before she passed on.

Our brother did not see, but was a big part of what was going on in that room in Mesquite, Texas on Jan 18th,1990. We watched for five and one half-hour's, which seemed like only minutes, we could not believe that 5 and one half hour's had past.

Myself, I saw mother's spirit coming out of her mouth and her nostrils going into this light gray cloud about 6 inches above mother's body, the length of her body. I saw the wall behind mothers bed, go from a light yellow, then a darker yellow, and then pure gold.

That is when I said; oh sweet Jesus, sweet Jesus and in my head I thought what are you showing us. I seen both my sister's setting on each side of mother bed. Carol had on a red sweat suite, Mary had on a black sweat suite.

Their whole body had like a white light attached to their cloths that out lined their whole body. I seen through the bed and seen Mary's feet. But how could see her feet. The way she was setting against the bed, all I could really see was from the waist up.

But I did I seen her whole body, feet on the floor and the light, out lined her feet up her leg, down the other leg and up the side under her arm her fingers, up her arm to her head, a complete circle a complete out line of her body, Carol the same.

I seen Carols hand on top of mother hand and she was patting It and telling mother to wait because aunt Pauline was coming [mothers sister from Wash State was on her way] as Carols hand came up and got to the spirit, Carols hand disappeared and then I seen her hand as she was coming back down and got to the spirit her hand disappeared again until it touched mothers hand. Carol seen this to.

I seen 3 figures on the wall at the side of where Mary was setting, and the wall behind Mary was pure gold, when i told Mary about the figures and the gold, she said she wanted to see, will when she got up from her chair, a ray of light came out of the ceiling and on to her chair making a black chair a light gray chair, when she could not see What I was seeing she sat back down and the white light out lined her clothes again. I seen something very small and very very thin come out of the spirits head and go to the edge of mother pillow.

Although I was standing at the foot of mother bed it was like I was looking at his little square from a far distance. I could tell there was a face in the square. As I strain to see it. All of a sudden it flew so fast right to me leaving a trail like a commit. It was a large perfect whiter than snow square, inside the square was a face.

It had two black perfect almond eyes, two perfect black circles for the nose its mouth was shaped in a V but moving to a smile and back to the V and then a smile and then the V. jet black hair long curly like a fresh wet perm. all I could do was stand there with my mouth wide open, wanting to say something like who are you, but just as fast as it came at me it flew back and went back into the spirits head.

I seen the spirit start to set up and all of the spirit that was at her feet started coming up into this set up position and then move away from the physical body but not Off the bed, it started floating towards me. It was smaller than the human body.

I looked at it and I remember saying out loud the word Wings and then I thought what did I just say. I seen Mary slide out of her chair, her hands together like in prayer saying our mother has wings our mother has wings and carol was nodding her head up and down like saying yes.

I said to myself that has to be the pillow, because when mother went into a coma that morning she through her head deep in the pillow and it made the tips of the pillow puffy.

I looked and did not see mothers physical body in that bed but I seen the pillow and the pink pillow case and the deep indention in the middle of the pillow. I looked at the spirit and seen my mother, young about 20 years old and very happy smile on her face, beautiful teeth, shoulder length hair, a long flowing gown that kept coming out from under the covers. Our mother was 77 years, no hair lost that during radiation treatment and no teeth, but her spirit had it all.

The spirit had no color, sort of a light gray silver. Her wings were open and the white feathers so vivid I could see each feather laying on one another. After our aunt ran into the room, everything went back to just the room.

Before talking to each other, we got pen and paper went into different rooms and drew what we had seen.

Went to the kitchen table counted to 3 flipped them over, to much a like, we seen what we seen and we were not dying or on medication. So let me see someone explain this one. All I have been able to do is thank God for letting us see where our mother was going and showing us without a debout we do live on after we leave this earth. I will never stop thanking him and never stop telling this story, for it is a story to be shared with the whole human race.Thank you for reading this....

We knew this wonderful and glorious experience had to be shared. And that is what is fixing to happen. For 10 years I have talked to God everyday and night saying God I know you did not show us 3 sisters what you did, so we can grow old and only talk to one another about it.

I have kept the faith for over 10 years just knowing that something had to happen, so the whole human race could see what we three sister's seen.

On July 30th, 1999. I was standing in my den looking out the window and thinking,but thinking of anything of importance, when all of a sudden my brain stopped completly.

I could not think but only hear this voice in my right ear, he said GET READY and he assured me their would be a movie made from MarJoe's book and he said; And my people will see how powerful I really am. TELL there will be a great revival SOON. Then he said a few things that was just for me... Now I have told you so we wait and see.Thank you for reading this and BLESS YOU....


My daughter died of leukemia a year and a half ago. My wife and I were holding her hand. She was surrounded by those she loved. It was a "good" death. Now, life goes on, but not really. Everything has changed. I am both more alive and more dead than before. I lost not only her, but also all my dreams for the future. Now each day seems like a post-script. I wonder why I am still here. I look up into the stars and feel her there. Nevertheless, I get up and go to work, brush my teeth, mow the lawn, and attend to the thousands of details of everyday living. I am of two worlds. Does anyone understand?


What if you do not accept the "comforts" offered by afterlife religions? Are there those who remain in thrall to this deliverance on their deathbeds? How do the survivors of these non-believers deal with it?


I thought the program was great. I enjoy all Bill Moyers contributions to our lives. What struck me about the broadcast was that no one talked about spirit and/or after life. After suffering a heart attack two years ago, I was forced to look at my own mortality. What became apparent to me is the importance of a belief in spirit and passing on to something much better. My mother passed on last March and I truly feel she is in a better place. I miss her but I don't mourn her death. I feel she is the lucky one and we are the ones left to suffer on this planet. I wonder why I was not "let go" after my heart attack. Sometimes this angers me to still be here. No one on the program seemed to look at death in this manner. I wonder why not?


No, it has been the same as what I've seen on this program. It did impress again to me howimportant it is to take control of our last days vs. the "system"


In answer to the question "Would you volunteer?" for Hospice; Yes, I can think of few things more worth mustering the courage for. I will be contacting Hospice in my area as soon as possible to find out what I can do. I am not afraid of death, only suffering, and although I cannot stop suffering, perhaps I can help those who would otherwise bear it alone.


I got diagnosedwithParkinson's about 2 years ago and I find I am going down faster inthe last 3 months than I have in the past 2 years since diagnosis. I was divorced by my exwife after 23 years of marriage and it devastated me. my kids are in Ohio and Oregon and neither one has accepted the fact of my illness; no kids want to think ofthier parents as sick. I am on disabilty after 30 yerasof working. Knowing the disease has no permanent cure, I am staring at a slow detioration in life style. thsi ahs made me wake up and think about what are the important matters in life. The so-called frineds of yesteryear are gone. I am ahppy for what I ahev especailly my kids and I will do my most not to burdent them with my illness. I have put my life and future in God's hands. I an understand the feelings of most if all of th epeople in your group and I am trying to ease my pain by helping others in their hours of need. I will be pleased to keep in touch with atleast one of the members in the group.Pleas


Having watched the discussion period, a questionable thought came to mind - Who is better off? Those of us who do not know how much time is left or those who have an idea of how much time is left?

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I have had many major accidents and illnesses throughout my life of 48 years. Death is not new to me. It walks beside me and puts an urgency into everything I do. I used to wonder why I lived through so many things. Once a nurse at my bedside said, "You don't know how good it is to see you have a pulse." Later the doctor sat on the foot of my bed and just stared into my eyes. I knew he wondered where I had been. He said, "I can't believe you're alive." At that time words were so far short of relaying the experience, I remained silent a lot. I cannot stand to waste time. But concurrently is an inability to use time as productively as I would like due to chronic pain.

Loneliness is a huge part of my life for which your program could act as a lifeline. I can never answer the question, which is an American greeting, "How are you?" I cannot tell even my spouse because the pain is at a level which causes fear of expense, resentment of inability to complete various activities, accusations of complaining too much. I would like very much to see groups for support of those of us who cannot be "fixed". Good, bad, or otherwise, I look fine to others. The pain is in my entire spine, including neck and head. It radiates at different time through my hands, arms, legs, chest, etc. Sometimes breathing is very difficult,whether from the pain or because of damage from pneumonia that almost got me too, I don't know. I guess I keep sane because I know the pain will shift location and intensity. That gives a certain relief because the pain leaves an area that was really getting to me. So what if it goes elsewhere. It's a jouney it travels through me and it doesn't take the same r

I also hate to complain because I know others are much worse off. Someone always is. It's a sort of flow with only gray areas. We all have problems. I just would like someone somewhere to offer me some love and comfort with no reciprocating demands up front first. I would like to be able to take pain medicine as I feel necessary for "days off". My doctor says he's afraid I'd be addicted if he gave me what I needed since this is a long term situation.

I see why people seek assisted deaths or commit suicide. I would never be judgemental of them. You cannot know what others are suffering. I feel that no matter how long one lives, time here in the touching world is short in the overall energy flow. Therefore, one must utilize each moment to do what is dearest to you and most helpful and enlightening to our progress as a civilization which cares for one another. The frustration comes when the way seems blocked on that path to help and the energy is failing for the struggle to continue. Once again the age old question appears, "Why?" Am I on the wrong path or is it not worthy? If either be the case, why did I live this long? There is no guide in the ether. And maybe that's what it's all about. Discovering your true soul which guides you.


I am a mother of 5 and a widow of 4 years. My youngest was 9 and the oldest was 20 when my husband died of cancer. I am afraid we made it look too easy. He was able to stay home. Terminal cancer be came everyday to us as a family. We found that honesty to all ages in the family was the number one priority even until the end. I find it ironic that I am now a RN in a PICU and will soon be working to start a pediatric hospice group in our area. Life takes strange turns. But then life is a journey, and not a destination.


I lost my son to aids 10 years ago and i still cannot discuse it. i still live with the grief and loss of him. Does it ever go away.

British Columbia. Canada

I can't say that the program has "changed" my attitude toward death and dying--but seeing death discussed and faced for a two hour period makes it all so much more real.


I am interested in whether the problem affecting the lady who said her father had a rare neurological disease was primary progressive aphasia. My own father, who is 82 and a retired university professor, has this disease, and it is a terrible one. Is there a way that I can find out? Thank you.


I have lost three of the most important people in my life to sudden death, two of them in a different town.

My sister died this April alone in her home, 300 miles away, and was discovered by police when her neighbors became concerned. We've had no chance to prepare, to help her to a "good death." Now we only have this empty place in our family, and it's so sad. the progams on death haven't touched on this issue, but I'm sure others have suffered these sudden losses.


If anyone is interested, I have a very encouraging Bible based brochure entitled "When Someone You Love Dies". It not only discusses the mourning process but also shares a very hopeful view of the future based on your own copy of the Bible. There are scriptures cited for you to look up so that you can see that the information is trustworthy as it is coming from the Bible itself. There is no charge for the brochure and I would be happy to send it to any one who is interested, as I feel it can truly be of comfort to anyone who has lost a loved one in death. Please email me at the above address if you would be interested in reading this.


I am losing my father to cancer. My main concern now is how my mother can be helped through this process. I am more aware after this program that all the advice and "help" I may be trying to give her should become more of a listening and understanding session. She needs me to listen no invalidate what she is going through with my quick fixes yet well meaning contributions.


I was told in November of 1997 that I had lung cancer with a 5-10% chance of survival. At no time did I think that I would not beat it. During the chemo and radiation my lovely wife ddrove me to all my appointments and when I dropped to 126 pounds she bathed me and fed me what I could eat. When thy said that the tumor had gotten small enough to operate on she was the one i leaned on.After we were told that the cancer was in remission she fell apart.

After a operation to repair 5 large bleeding ulcers she was never the same. Over night she lost all her hearing. Then her bones became brittle and I could not hug her any more. It affected her heart and liver and kidneys. Two weeks before her death she tryed to adjust her pillow and broke her sternum. Nothing could be donefor her. Aweek before she died she told two of her daughters who were here that that was it, she no longer wanted any medication exscept for pain pills, no food just water.

the three of us held her hands and talked to her even when she did not respond. then she died.

I guess that my question is how do you get over the guilt feeling because it was your illness that caused her death. Thanks for listening,


The show affirmed my feeling that it is good for me to share this experience (in my case, the death of my dear mother) with people and include all the feelings that attend me. My father and brothers are quieter about this--but I feel the need to express it and honor her. I Loved the messages that were sent into the fire and the awareness and immediacy of those that were experiencing grief. I , too have been annoyed by all the advice --but feel that it has all come from love. If only death were less shocking to me---maybe I could have taken all the overwhelming outpourings of advice and good thooughts with more patience. Good listening and witnessing are the best support to the grieving--and it seems to the dying. I am so grateful that my dad was with my mom at the time of her death and that our friend came immediately to be with dad soon after (they were travelling and were in a hotel in Europe. These feel like blessings to me. Connection with people is a blessing.


As for "attitude change", I've "been there done that" having gone thru the Chief Caregiver stage for my Special Parents in 1985-88. I continue to be SO glad to have been available for my parents' needs. I just wish my temper had been more controlled in a few instances where the bureaucracy violated my selfishness for wanting to Be There for my parents.

As for applying the advice of the show, I have even during the show formuated my OWN Advance Directive to give to my doctor for my chart, because I *won't* fill in the traditional form because of my inherent distrust for the bureaucracy anxiously drooling over my parts & getting prematurely cut-happy. Consequently, I want that spelled out and understood by my doctor(s), in my chart. I believe in miracles and the power of prayer. But, should I ever be in that condition, my choice is to be in my own home, with live-in caregiver(s), who can get free rent in exchange for caregiving, and my spare bedrooms are equipped for them having priviate phones. I don't want to be in a convalescent hospital, and want this understood by my docs in my chart.

I had done volunteer work for Hospice, and have had a hiatus from volunteering there -- but the show has made me want to re-instigate volunteering for Hospice.


This program really brings to mind of the delicate intimacy involved in our hospice work. I am a hospice social worker in San Diego, and I hope this program will facilitate much discussion not only on death, but on life and living. Thank you.


Hello. My name is Joyce and I have a liver disease that is not treatable. I've lived with this for 2 years and I think I've accepted the inevitable, but I'm not sure. I don't even know how much time I have.

I do know that time is much more precious now than it has ever been before.

I enjoyed the show tonight, although it brought sadness and tears. It was helpful to me. I haven't talked to anyone about my fears. Just hearing tonight's guests speak so honestly about their thoughts has helped me. They helped me identify some of my emotions--some I didn't even know were there.

Thank you.


Thanks to the discussion tonight, I now know that my feelings are not "wierd", but common to those with terminal illness.I will continue to be close to my daughters, whose well being is my main concern.


i was particularly affected by the woman who was concerned about the length of her grief. my father passed over this year and i am very much in grief. it helped improve my perspective to see that grief time is a purely personal thing, that there is no correct formula to cover this, that there is nothing wrong with either me or her taking as long as we need to say goodbye.


I do not think this or any program I have watched has been totally honest about the ending at death. My husband died 2 yrs. ago in my arms, while I had 911 on my shoulder. He died with a smile on his face, which has helped me to survive. BUT, no one has ever mentioned what happens to the body right after the person has left. I'm left asking 911 what is this horrible noise he's making, I'm starting to panic because now his eyes are rolling around & 911 cannot tell me what is happening. When I hear the people on this tv program saying "I want my family around while I am dying", I wonder if this family will know what truly happens and be ready for it. I think not. No one ever mentions this on any of these shows. After seeing how peaceful my husband was when he went to be with the Lord, I have no fear, because I know we are just apart to be reunited again someday. I just think people should be aware there is more to the dying process than just quietly leaving this human body.


Watching these shows reminded me of our eternal HUMAN connection, and that the emotions of sadness, grief, pain,and loss are the flip sides of joy, happinesss,and elation. I am reminded once again that love and compassion are the only two components of life which are timeless and that it is the sharing of emotion that makes life so valuable. I felt honored to be allowed into these people's lives so intimately and I was glad to be reminded that respect and honoring another's being, past, present or future is what possibly defines life so meaningfully.


After watching the program, it reaffirmed my feeling that dying is natural course of life, yet I still struggle with the sorrow when someone dies at a young age. My 36 year old wife died suddenly and recently while I was out of town on August 19, 2000. I am 38 and we were constant companions to each other for eight years. I feel very alone and very numb. I am struggling with trying to understand why she had to die. We felt we were one, but I am still here without my soul mate. The pain of having to go on without her is very intense, and the program put a great deal of fear in my heart because the greiving of the show's guests is very long and seemed to have no end in sight. After losing a loved one that made sense of your life, and made living a joy, it's understandable that the healing and grieving will be a very long process.


My husband, Bobbie died 8-12-1996 four years ago and it is still so very hard for me to deal with his death. Bobbie had been a Quad. for 39 years at his death and we were married 26 of those years. Bobbie died of a heart attack at the age of 58. For three days he was not able to talk to me, so I could understand him. He woke for a few minutes and I told him that I love you Bobbie, I love you Bobbie Dean. And with that in a voice as clear and strong as always he said I love you Mary-Ellen-he died an hour later of the heart attack. I am so very lost without my husband and best friend. We talked and shared so very very much of one another and now I am all alone. I feel as tho I am still lost and at times just cry out for him to come and help me as he always did. Even tho Bobbie had many many physical limitaions due to the fact that he was a Quad. he had many more abilities to helpme in so many ways. If you will listen to the song BECAUSED YOU LOVE ME you will know what Bobbie did for me in our 26

Your wife for now and always, death has not parted us, we are still as one. Still as one.


I didn't really find any helpful advice from the show. What I got was comfort and arealization that I am dealing with a major turning point and trama in my life... the death of my mother. 3 weeks since her death and everyone ...including my brother and sister are just back to "business as usual". I can't seem to toughen up and "just move on" I am sad, vunerable, eassily shaken, and I feel lost. I miss her and need to grieve. But where? People whjo are in "grief mode" or not really welcome company for the average friend or work associate. I am just experiencing anger too. Irritation with people who can't seem to be respecful of my emotional state.


I am a 60-year-old woman, in reasonably good health, who is still in denial (emotionally) that one day she must die. Actually, it's more of a repression than denial. I have experienced moments, especially since my mother's death in 1998, where I feel I must prepare for this event, but never actually followed through on anything. This program has brought home to me how important it is to accept one's ultimate death in order to have peace in one's soul, because I believe only with acquiring this peace can one truly enjoy life.

After seeing this program, the first order of my agenda will be to prepare a living trust and power of attorney as well as a durable "naked" power of attorney to allow me to die in a manner of my choosing. However, how do I get my adult children to discuss this with me when they are obviously reluctant to do so? I have approached them twice, but they don't take me seriously. Could it be that having been a single parent most of their lives, they feel the up-coming responsibility a burden to them? Or perhaps it is difficult for them to think of my demise and having to sign documents will make it a reality? I know they love me and care for me.

I would appreciate sharing someone's experience of how they dealt with adult children who avoided the entire subject of death and preparation for death.


How do I get my husband to talk to me about these issues? The hard part for me is this: I have experienced hospice support as a family member and as a volunteer. These discussions seem natural and required and part of a conscious dying journey. I can respect my husband's reluctance to talk about death and dying because he has confronted it more closely than I have. However, this ASSUMES that he will be the first one to die. What if I am the one who actually ends up facing death first? How do I let him know that it's important to me to be able to talk about these issues for my own dying process, even if he chooses something else for himself? And how do I convey to him what my experiences and concerns are for both of us, should he be the first one to walk down that final path? In posting this, in putting it into words, I realize how alone I feel in this dialogue with him. Fortunately, I have family members and friends with whom I can talk.


I am terminal, in remission now, and enjoyed tonight's program, especially the woman who said she didn't have time for fluff. So true. I count myself lucky, in that I have been given notice before dying, and spend this time preparing my daughters as best I can.


It is a wonderful programme, and I am grateful to Bill for addressing this subject.

As a 71 year old hypnotherapist (yes, I'm still working 6 days a week!) I see so many clients with losses. I'm grateful too to Robert Monroe who taught us how to reunite, briefly, to those who have gone before: It was a joy to meet my dad who had left 30 years dad's first tongue-in-cheek words were "You're here a bit soon, aren't you?"!

My religious, but very frightened mother, at 90, died recently, and I used the presence of the late cat to comfort her journey. My mom made the crossing with interest and wonder. I'll email my very short story "The Cat Died First" to anyone who is interested. Thanks for letting me share,

Di Cherry

Nothing changed my attitude towards death, it only opened my eyes to realize I need some type of greif healing group to go to. So iam able to talk about the loss of my mother.


I feel great sympathy for the white haired man who led the discussion 10:30 to 11 pm Sunday night, September 10. He made a generalization about what America or Americans feel about death. He sounds angry. Us vs them. I hope that he is able to let go of this thought.It doesn't help him at all. This is an excellent program. I feel privileged to watch it.


Thanks to you and Bill Moyers for tackling this subject. I watched the first night of programming this evening, and was extremely moved. My Mother was just diagnosed with lung cancer 5 months ago. They are treating it like they can get it all, yet your program struck a chord. I am only 27, yet have been to many funerals due to the fact I am one of the youngest in my generation of the family. I didn't think I had a problem dealing with people dying having seen so many people in my life go. Also, my family is Irish, so we don't cover up the subject of death and just sweep it under a rug, so to speak. But this is the first time I have been primary caregiver, etc. to someone who is seriously/terminally ill. Since they are treating this illness with my mother like they can get it, I have not thought at any great length about if they can not get it. I am extremely close to my mother who is a long divorced single parent of an only child.

These programs made me think, yet also gave me a strange sense of peace. I can not fully describe it, but in an odd sense it made me feel better to hear the different stories of others.

Thank you so much for these programs! They have already made me feel a little more at ease in my own skin about this.


Thanks. I watched Mr. Moyer's "On Our Own Terms," and then, "With Eyes Wide Open." Both were powerful, affirmative and, for me, timely, programs. I could truly relate to the words and experiences of those on the panel of "With Eyes Wide Open." My partner of 24 years died of heart failure on Aug. 18. So I am still going through the grieving process.

I was his fulltime caregiver for six years. Unable to have another open-heart operation, he was discharged from the hospital on July 3, after a week-long stay, and various medical procedures. He was offered and chose to go onto hospice care.

The month or so that I cared for him was the most intense, agonizing, and tranformative period of my 56 years of living.

His greatest fear was dying a painful death. with medication I dispensed through hospice, his pain was minimal. He died peacefully in his sleep sometime during the night, so peacefully that, asleep upstairs, I didn't hear anything unusual on the Fisher Price receiver located on my nightble.

I peeked in on him early that following morning, and thinking he was simply sleeping, went down to my basement office and began my writing day. It wasn't until around noon, when, intending to wake him up and give him his meds, I went back upstairs, into his room, and, in trying to wake him, realized that he was gone. I lost it. And stayed that way for a couple of days

Like others on the programs confirmed, no matter how much you try to prepare, you're NEVER prepared for the death of someone you love. I wanted to be at his side when he died. There was so much I wanted to say.

I've cried more since my partner's death (even had a couople od sessions today) than I have during my entire life. Everyewhere I look I'm reminded of our long life together. The house is an empty shell. The loneliness is painful, palpable presence. As I continue to go through the process of grieving, friends have been supportive, while others have faded away. I do know that my life will never be the same again

Watching the diverse group of people on, "With Eyes Wide Open," I could empathize, completely, with their experiences, and felt uplifted as they shared, so eloquently, the grief that accompanies death and dying.


Since my dear Mother is dying of cancer at this moment, I am not sure how I feel. I just picked up some useful things from the program and it is helpful to know that the feelings that I have had are valid and not so "unusual". So far, the hospice program has been a good support. I am having a difficult time emotionally and I am not finding that lessening with time. It is so difficult to see your parent getting weaker and thinner and in extreme pain. I am hoping and praying for some peace for my Mom and the rest of my family. I will continue to watch the series.


I have lost many friends to AIDS and found this program very helpful in dealing with my grief. I now see death not only as an ending but also as a begining. I also fell as though i will have dignity with my own death.


My mother-in-law passed away from metastatic breast cancer on February 16,2000. Before the show, I thought a lot about how it felt for us to lose her, but did not understand as much how she felt losing ALL of us. When they talked about the "transformation" of how their relationship will not end, but continue in a different "transformation" and how the wife could understand but the dying husband had a harder time seeing how that would be on his end once he passed away. It made me realize how hard it really was for my mother-in-law to let go of us even though she had strong faith and new she was going to be with her Lord.

We also had a difficult decision at the end of her life. She never really talked about what she wanted at the end of her life, we just talked about "when she would get better..." So I don't think she was given the opportunity to think about what she really would want, or was afraid to, or couldn't. The oncologist she had at the end was a very aggressive doctor, which that was what Mom wanted, aggressive treatment. But it came to a point when she could not respond to us anymore, a lot was failing and she could not breathe on her own anymore and a point came where my father-in-law had to decide what was best. The physicians and family were coming to terms that she was dying and we all went in to say our goodbyes. Then, the oncologist came to the family and felt "more could be done" if we put her on a vent to give us some time to give her more chemotherapy, which conflicted with what the nurses and other physicians felt. SO, at that point, the family was torn. Before this, we were all coming to terms that this

Mom did spend her last days in the hospital. I don't see how she could have been at home. She was in so much pain and could barely move, but she did die with her whole family there with her. She knew we were all there but I sometimes wonder if it was harder for her to go, because we were all right there and she wasn't ready to leave. She did not want to die yet. We were able to say our goodbyes to her but she never really was able to say goodbye to us. That was hard for us.

I don't believe my mother-in-law every came to terms with dying. She, I believe, either did not believe she was going to die or just could not admit it to herself or us and did not face it until it was too late and she could not respond to us.

What I have learned from our experience and the show is that I will plan and I will do my best to let my husband know what I would like to happen and would like to consider and ponder on what extent I would want treatment and would like to see it more possible for more people to die the way they would like, at home, with their families, in their "comfort zone". I would hope to be able to instead of denying the fact that I might die, to come to terms with it that it might happen, but do what I can to beat it.


The major change is a reminder to keep the focus on the dying person and not somehow on me. (I know that sounds strange, but that behavior was reported by a friend whose mother (also my good friend) is dying.) I'm planning to take another trip to see this friend as soon as I can, since I want to talk with her before she goes.

The other reminder was how universal this experience is. I'm 50 now, and death has become more of a constant companion than before (when I was 21, I was, of course, immortal). I think the best thing I can do is stop and do the things I can do. Read, talk, listen, be silent...those things.

And love, the most important thing. Important, because I can do this, because it will cut through the fear. But it's directed. Christ certainly said and did that. And St. John of the Cross said, "In the evening of our lives, we will be judged on how we have loved alone."

And one thing that's true as far as applying what I saw and heard was that my grieving for my father was exactly along the lines of what the hospice head told the Kelly boy, that you'll want to tell the person something, and that person will be gone. I'm still a member of the human race.


My twin sister was 38 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After surgery she had a stroke. After 6 months in the hospital for surgeries and therapy, she came back home to live with our 75 year old mother who is legally blind. Being I was the closest to my sister, I took over taking care of her bills and seeing that she got thru this. I am married and my children were 17 and 20 at the time. After moving them from the family home to a townhome everything was going along good. After a short time, my sister started falling and loosing continence. We never discussed my sisters wishes, what she wanted if she became unable to take care of herself. In my mind, my sister was going to get some therapy, and lick this. It wasnt long before I had to hire aids to help out. At the suggestion of her doctor we brought in hospice. I still must of been in denial, but the help was needed. The hospice that was brought in, fought me every step of the way. I couldnt take her to my daughter's gradua

is too dangerous". The point of contact wanted to be my mother. She understood what I was going thru. The problem was she didnt know what I was going thru. My sister started having problems and I called the doctor who told be to call 911. I told the doctor that I was not suppose to being that she was on hospice. The doctor told me to call 911 anyway. My sister was taken to a hospital in the city who had their own hospice. Even though I was not suppose to call 911, it was the best thing I ever did in my life. The old hospice was like a boat anchor. We were now free to make joint decisions, not hospice decisions.

I never discussed with my sister anything about dying. What questions that I could get answered were by talking about someone else and getting her imput. Like I took my sister to a memorial service of a good friend who was cremated. I told her that that was not something I would want and she said she wouldnt like that either and we got on the subject of what I would want and she voiced her opinion, which told me what she would want.

Watching my sister die was the worst thing that I have been thru. Hospice couldnt of been better. I felt the book about dying that we were given was the pits. I read the book and when I looked at my sister that is what I thought about, is she dying, is she showing the signs. My other 2 siblings who live within 20 miles were no help at all. My brother's must of had the idea that our sister could go to the store and pick up her needs, clean herself up,make her meals,get her meds, ect. My one brother stated that he would not clean her up, but offered no other ways he could lend a hand. The other brother offered to help, but it would be around his tight schedule. My sister died, at home. I know that my sister died with dignity and peace. What I did for my sister was worth every second. I had the support of my wife who was always there to help.

I have many questions that will go unanswered. Did my sister know she was dying? What gives a caregiver the right to tell the tell the patient they are dying?

Iam glad there are shows like what you presented to open peoples eyes to the fact that these are things that need to be talked about. No one can guess what someones wishes are. I know that I did the right thing by calling 911, because my sister had 6 more quality months.

I made a judgment call and it worked out. Family has to be advised that this is a hugh undertaking and that all help is needed. Hospice should be there as an addition, not to take control. From the get go, the family should be advised that not all the people that are associated with the their hospice program will click with the family, and the family should feel free to voice their opions, because this is the families journey, not hospice.


I watched the program with interest because about 18 months ago, I lost my mother to ovarian cancer. We had hospice and they were wonderful. All of us pulling together made the end of her life special and meaningful. Being told what would happen, what to do and the things to watch for made it somewhat easier. My sister, Billie and I, and our children (her three grandchildren) never left her during those last three weeks of her life. We wrapped her in her favorite quilts,sang and laughed and talked and hugged. The day she died, January 27, 1999, her grandson was at her head, one granddaughter was laying beside her, the other granddaughter was at her feet and my sister and I were kneeling beside her. We told her it was okay to go, that we loved her and would miss her terribly, but that it was our sister, Linda's turn (She died in 1971) to have her. The night before, she couldn't say very much, but as my sister and I knelt beside her bed, she reached out and patted our faces, then closed her ey


I had a lung transplant 3 years ago and am now in rejection. I am facing death if this is not resolved. I am comfortable with my own death. And after my husband and I watched this, it allowed us to discuss his feelings towards my death at home. It is what I would like, now I know he is comfortable with it also. We feel that I lived here, why not die here in the one place I have had comfort and support for all these years? We rejoice at someone's birth, we should rejoice at their death. it is all a part of lifes plan.

Thank you for having such programs on the air.

South Carolina

we must stop viewing death as an end. earth, and perhaps the universe we currently experience, are but a single stop in a continuous journey.

as we trust we will eventually move on from where we are, so we must learn to trust that our next pause will offer joys and challenges of its own.

the outlook we choose determines the experience we have here. when we can choose to focus on joy wherever we are, we will know that joy will be our experience wherever we go.


i am a two time cancer surviver and have watched my mother-in-law and brother-in-law pass away in the last two years of different types of cancer the suffering i saw effected me deeply i wanted them to live and watching their bodies give out was the hardiest for me . i have had stage threee breast cancer and uterine cance and wonder is this my future ? iam doing well but not a fool i know wehat can happen to me . Sometimes i think it can be too much information for one person to handle. I personally have had alot of very strong treatment which seem to give me more problems the uterine cancer cam e from tamioxfen yes it was early very early but should the treatments be just as toxic as the cancer?? I now have weaking bones and need joint replacement from hig h dose chemo ( stem cell ) i had know history of breast cancer in my family so i wonder alot of why me ?? i personally have learned alot from all the bad things that can happen to people . i knew i had strength but not like this .Did i for

i wish all out there battling this disease and other life threating diseases peace and joy and good wishes hope is a wonderful medience

thanks nora

Having faced the posibility of dying as the result of having ovarian cancer,I was most anxious to learn if anyone had come to terms with their life and how they live it as the result of having a life threatening disease. I have never discussed this concern to any degree with anyone. So I am opening up to strangers. I find beauty in every day things, trees, flowers, birds, good food and friends. My close friends are few but very special. Should my time

come soon I would not like the pain, but pain is part of the process if you have cancer. I found when I was going through my chemo treatments, the doctors had little time or compassion. As of today I am three years in remission.


I was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma in 1992.It was in my overies and in the colon. I had surgery and chemo. Two years later it came back on the liver, surgery again&Tomoxifin. Two years later it appeared in the abdominal wall. Surgery&chemo.Now it's back, five tumors in the abdomen,two of these on the liver.I'm on chemo again with very little hope this time. I am a christian. I'm o.k. sometimes I'm sad and feel alone.I have awonderful family and very supportive too.I get scared but try to be brave for thier sake.I get pretty tired of this.Does anyone else feel like this?


I am frustrated..I have been looking for information under counsel, mourning and afterlife and have found nothing that speaks to my Christian belief system..Why? Will you be adding some helpful Christian viewpoints as well?



I lost my mother 11 monthsw ago. I can't say anything ccan help me get through this phase of my live. I lost my best friend,best cheerleader and a big part of me.


I caught the end of "With Eyes Open," and found it to be very similiar to my experiences in the deaths of both my parents. Hospice was involved and were so incredibly caring, compasionate and knowledgeable. Like the family on the show, we were all together when dad died. It was an experience like no other...A real bonding experience for my family. I look forward to watching the entire program when it is on again.


As Joyce's sister on the segment "Grief and Healing" I want to thank KQED, Wendy Hanamura, Frank Osteseski for including Joyce in this segment. I look upon this as a wonderful gift that Joyce and you have given to our family. This was a very spiritual experience for Joyce and has led to another spiritual experience which will help her through her final journey whenever that takes place.


The program(s) are fantastic. In fact, I'm determined that I'll change my career from computer technician/consultant to care for the dying. My question is how would I be able to actually continue paying my mortgage and buying food with such a non-related skill set. I'll have to consider this. My age is 46, so I'm not ready to go to nursing school; however my intuitive, listening, and compassionate skills are above average, so I've been told all of my life. Is there anyone in the field who may guide this intended career change in a very practical manner (single parent with many bills to pay and food to buy!).

New Mexico

I am a Hospice Volunteer and it pleases me to see the accuratecy with which this story was reported. I believe that there can be positive relationships formed during the dying process and that it can also serve as a beginning to the healing that will come from mourning.


I am viewing these shows 7 months after my husband of 16 years died. It is with sadness but comfort to hear so many positive attitides in dealing with the death of a loved one. We talked openly about his wishes, which relieved me of making many hard decisions in a time of sorrow. His love for me to relieve me of the burden of decisions was healpful.

Being open and honest was a relief for us both. He was not able to get his children (adults) to listen and they have had a difficult time. I am very sad with his death but am satisfied I did everything, before and after his death, the way he had directed. This gives me great peace. Thank you for having the courage to approach this matter openly and honestly.

Mary Jane

I lost my sister to cancer on September 1, 2000. She had been ill for more than an year. Her battle began in earnest last August with radiation therapy. Although the radiation stopped th growth of tumors in her lungs, the cancer spread to her liver, then, a month ago, to her brain. She suffered horribly, particularly the past 6 months or so with the treatment. The treatment turned out to be useless. Indeed, I don't know that it even prolonged her life.

After watching the first two episodes, I wish that I had seen it sooner. Although I believe that she had a very good oncologist, I think the last round of chemo and the final attempt at radiation therapy were needlessly futile attempts to fend off the inevitable. After watching the peditiatrion face his demise, I can't help but feel that her last months on earth could have been spent more fruitfully facing her death. I also feel that her family would have benefited from the time with her. Tonight's episode particularly brought that home.

I know this is hindsight. I know that I am second guessing, but I keep thinking of the pain and suffering she went through in the final months. It seems all so unnecessary.

Finally, I would like to say that the folks from Hospice are truly heaven sent. They made my sister's last hours comfortable. They also told us what to expect and helped us to prepare for the end. They provided an invaluable service to my family.


yes it has i realize that this is part of living, and to know when to let go . dignity of dying


to die: in my sleep, like the songs "gambler"; to die/depart like don Juan sparked into the cosmos; live-racing down our fate divined path to meet it headon; a hambone burial delivered to the coyotes for recycle; an adventure ... a dream ... fact of life ... i hope the program will assist me to be more consiously considerate of those,knowlingly near death, that I come in contact with ... to date it has been to thoughtfully detach. a wondering-wanderer.


Thank you for the series, On Our Own Terms. My husband lost his battle of six years with Congestive Heart Failure on Jan. 1, 2000. He died on HIS own terms with no heroic measures during his illness or at the end.

As his wife of more than 44 years, it was an honor to take care of hime. During his illness, especially the last three years, we became closer than ever.

The points brought out in the On Our Own Terms and those on With Eyes Open, gave me a sense of comfort and for that I thank you. I'll continue watching the rest of the programs with anticipation to learning whether I could have done more for Joe.

I did the best I could as his sole caregiver until his death. It wasn't easy but I'd do it all over again if I could, just to still have him here.

Love does not die when one passes over to the other side. We are still together in spirit and will be until I go to join him at the end on my life, whenever that may come.


I have enjoyed your show very much, my wife died from cancer 5 months ago, she had cancer for 7 years and went threw a very hard time, also in the last 7 years my dad died and I also lost my mother-in-law also. Keep up the good work.....

Nf, Canada

well about my attitude it has never changed about dying but my primary doctor has told me he would not foloow my wishes so i told him i would move to oregan where they have suicide docs that would help me die on ,y own terms and he told me not to move cause they offen will do it evevn if your not terminal.well i am dying from hep c but am on the transplant list now but have been turned down at some transplant centers cause i dont fall under there criteria,but i am not sure i want the transplant now cause my doc keep telling me i will probably die and suffer while waiting for a transplant but i am readt to die now i am suffering too much at times and pain mangement well thats a joke here cause some my docs dont belive in that they want me do bio feed back and alternative medicine na d say that if i belive and live and change the way i live god will heal me.what do you think?


After watching "With Eyes Open" I understand so much more. I cried alot because my Mom is dying. I know understand why she wanted to come home. Why she wants me with her all the time. She cared for me as a very sick child, and now I care for her. She is not afraid to die and really wants to die. I learned that she needs full closure to her life, then she may pass. I look forward to holding her hand when she takes her last breathe.

This show gave me some peace. Thank You

New Jersey

My attitude has not changed, both of my parents have passed away from cancer, my father last year. He was like the man describing a battle.

I wrote four lines to my parents and cried.


The benefits from this series will be many I hope, particularly in opening up discussion about death, and the struggles we all face losing or caring for loved ones, friends... I was enormously touched by the first segment.. it was beautifully done. Just when I think I have finally grokked death's lessons, I see how many more reminders I need about compassion, honesty, not wasting time. Thank you.


Our family needs to discuss this more, both in regards to my very able 90 year old mother and about my own wishes with my children.

My husband died almost four years ago. It was a death everyone would wish for, but at an older age. He died at home with all his family and very little pain. He had control of all body functions and was not medicated. The cause of death was leukemia cells attacking his brain. The doctor was not expecting his death so soon, he was receiving chemo.


my husband and i watched in silent absorption. both thinking that we need to encourage our famillies to share with us. especially hubby's family as his mom nears another change in her living situation. of course,one never knows does one?

South Carolina

you can plan and plan, but each situation is different from anything you planned.No one can know the future. Live in the present..


I was raised in a home where death and dying were celebrated and discussed openly. As an ICU nurse I deal with dying patients on a regular basis. I have noticed that most of my colleagues are too insensitive when it comes to death. It has become so matter of fact. This is why this series is WONDERFUL it will open peoples eyes and hopefully their hearts as well. I am hoping to start a pilot program to reeducate the nurses and doctors I work with to the finer and joyous parts of working with the dying patients as well as their familles. It is a privilege to be able to provide care and compassion to both my patients and families. thank you for enabling this topic to be openly discussed.


I can't describe my feelings as "change of attitude toward death & dying". It's more like more absorption of the reality of mortality, more conscious contemplation on how I will handle my own death if put in that position. I'm still absorbing all that the program contained. I've lost both my parents and my husband within a 5 year period and am feeling quite battered.


Question: Why is there no reference to Christian beliefs regarding life after death? Instead, some very strange and bizarre stories about the funeral rites of tribes and people in far-flung places are provided in the instruction and resource area, yet Jewish practices are included. Have watched the show from start to finish each night, and have found it absolutely wonderful, but I am definitely seeing a bias against Christians. Why is that, Bill Moyers?


I downloaded the advance directive form for my state and will complete it!


Thank you for airing "With Eyes Wide Open". Listening to this program has given me pause to think about my own mother's and father's death. I have often missed them and even find myself talking to them and listening as they tell me what they think - as I recall words they used many times when they were alive. But I have never found myself wishing that they hadn't died. It was this program that made me realized why I had never wished that they hadn't died. Each of my parents gave their children a marvelous gift as their lives were coming to a close. My father, who died several years prior to my mother simply said to me - Everyone wants me to try and live and I don't want to - I responded without much forethought - If you can't make your own decision to live or die, I guess life isn't worth living. My father died soon after that. As my mother aged, I found myself wanting to talk with her about death. Because I wanted to know what and how she felt and thought about dying . Really I wanted

hall of older people, who it seemed, no one ever visited and her 20 some different types of medicine. When I informed the doctor, he told me she would never be able to be admitted to another hospital in the area. But instinctively we knew that would not be necessary. Back in her familiar surroundings her medicine was limitied "for comfort" Her ranting stopped. And she had wonderful conversations. She died peacefully a week later. The final gifts my parents gave to myself and my brothers were very clear signals of what they wanted. And I think that we were able to hear them, because their values where spoken and acted out loudly with every action of their daily lives. Some of these actions were pleasant and others were not, but in the end we knew our parents as real people. I can only wish that my children will know me well enough to hear what I am saying when important decisions are required. And I hope to give them the same gift which was so simply given to me. The understanding that life has



This has been an incredible series so far. I work in healthcare and deal with life and death everyday I am at work. By watching this series, it has helped me reassure myself that I have been doing the right things in helping families deal with death and the process of dying.

Thanks again!


What I saw on,[With Eyes Open], was what I experienced two years ago when my wife died. While in the last stages of cancer my wife hugged each individual in her family, laid back on her bed and expired within two to three minutes. I hope to go the same way. Hospice was an integral part of her going in such a beautiful manner.


I have watched my husband die of cancer. Your program could have been about us. Our family was here and we did have time to share our love and say our goodbyes. My husband was given pain medication and did slip into a coma. His breathing was just as you described. It was a relief tonight to find out that it was not uncomfortable for him. No one had explained that to me and it did sound as if he was gasping for air and I was just praying that it could be over for him. And finally it was.

Bill Moyers, thank you for doing this program. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to see it.

I will be sure my doctor understands my wishes, now while I am healthy and can be sure those wishes are understood. I will also be sure that she knows my children and that they will clearly understand my wishes and can relay those wishes to the doctor if I am not able to.


I work at an alzheimers care unit for 2 1/2 years and i have seen a few people die. I have not been put in the position of having to chose what to do in the case of a dying relative. I have watched other people go through it qne I have witnessed some remarkable personal stories around the issue of death and dying I am of the opinion that death is just another stage in life and that extraordinary measures should not be taken. In watching "With Eyes Wide Open" this still gets very tricky. There are a lot of grey areas. I think that it comes down a to quality of life and whether they would want to live like this.



I will discuss, openly, with my children, my wish to die peacefully. No major attempts to bring me back,no matter what the doctors say.

I am going to be 70, working and very independent...I will cause my children to visit me every day (like they are now doing with their father, who is in a nursing home, one day you think he is "the old dad", the other, an old man with no quality of life, but his heart and lungs are doing fine.

I will double check my Living Will and will do all that is possible to make it say what I want it to say.


Thanks so much to the families that shared their stories. I wish this series was available four years ago when I lost my wonderful father to colon cancer. It would have given me some direction on how to handle the situation with a little more grace.

Watching a love one die is one of life's challenges.

While the experience is painful, I'll always know that

the last thing my father said to me was "I love you".

I know that in the end, my mother and I did everything

we could to make his final days comfortable and dad got to die in his home which was his final wish. This

painful experience has brought my mother and I closer.

It took great courage for your families to share their

feelings and it was nothing short of heroic for the patients to share their death with all of us. May they rest in eternal peace and may their families take comfort in knowing that they have helped more people than they will ever know. Thanks!


As a health care professional in complimentary medicine, I have for many years followed eastern teachings that death is a passage between life and rebirth. However, it has been extremely difficult for me to forgive myself for choosing not to be present for my father's death. He was 96 and very healthy until he was diagnosed with blockage of the carotid artery. He decided to follow the advice of his physician and went through angioplasty, after which he went into sergical trauma. The last month of his life was spent on life support, in restraints, in ICU. He drifted in and out of conciousness, according to confusing reports I received from my brothers and the nursing staff. I was at that time very sick and too frightened to feel kthe powerlessness of seeing him in such a horrible hospital setting. He had a moment of clarity several days before his death in which he said a final goodbye to all his close friends and forgave me for my absence.

In the program tonight, I was particularly struck by the doctor who emphasized that there is no right way to die. I struggle with my guilt and try to forgive myself for I guess there is no right way to let a loved one pass.


after making difficult decisions for my father --talk about actions desired before you get to the crisis point and make sure you are understood!!


My father died a year and half ago. He suffered with alzheimers for a few years.He broke his hip in October and passed away the following January. We were able to take care of him at home. We were all(eight children and many grandchildren) able to say our goood byes and be by his side in his final moments. Watching Mrs. Kerr's story brought back so many memories. I feel so grateful that I was able to be there. My uncle passed away in a nursing home two years prior by himself. To this day it haunts me. I wish I was there to hold his hand.

In both cases,my dad and uncle, there were no measures to prolong their lives. They had suffered enough. My Dad was given morphine and we sat by his side and sang to him, just as he would do when we were sick or just needed to feel special.

It may sound like a lot of work and time but they are your parents and they did it for you. I bet they don't regret it.


i have been a caregiver for 6 yrs husdand has had 3 mi's and in the final stages of congestive heart was a comfort to hear other peoples stories. i haven't had any outside help....but i do have good friends that listen.....i am able to look at it as a process, and it has been a blessing to share this borrowed time with him. there are times that are just so wonderful and then there are times that i don't want to let go


I stumbled upon "With Eyes Open" the other night and was very taken with the series even though it was difficult to watch. My mother died two years ago at the age of fifty four from breast cancer. She was cared for at home by my father and had hospice care for only a couple of days as she went very quickly in the end. Hospice was a life changing experience for me, I was so taken with the honesty and compassion of those people. We were lucky in that one of the hospice workers was a long-time, close family friend and had her own attachments to my mother. Her presence was extremely comforting and we were able to listen and ask questions with a level of intimate trust. She will always be a special part of my mothers death experience. As she told us what to expect during her final days I listened with a level of disassociation as I couldn't believe that we were really going to go through this. I was amazed at the accuracy of her words, there must be such a common thread of experience in the dying pr


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