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‘Takin’ It One Day at a Time’

(Not) Anticipating as Moral Project

Devin Flaherty

In this article, I explore anticipation as a site of moral experience and moral willing when death may be nearby. Through an examination of the narratives of the wife of a hospice patient in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, I show that her commitment to not anticipate the course of her husband’s illness is a moral project pitted against biomedical modes of prognostication. In a context in which hospice care is the only option available for many older adults in poor health, I discuss the incommensurability between this position and the anticipatory horizon on which hospice care is predicated: the patient’s imminent death. I argue for an approach to this woman’s experience that takes into account the tendency for temporal orientations to be thrown into flux when death might be nearby, without reducing her commitment to not anticipate to mere avoidance or ‘denial’.

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Denise Turner and Bronwen Gillespie

Turner In his introduction to The Comfort of People , Daniel Miller states: ‘This is a book about people’s lives not their deaths’ (1). Given that the book is a study of the social worlds of hospice patients, at first it is difficult to understand this

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Lionel Blue

it. I would really like to control my own medication and am pleased this is happening in a lot of enlightened hospitals and hospices. Dying, of course, is very different in the experience of those who are left behind. They see it as tragedy or loss