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Editor's Commentary on 'Goodbye'

 , February 16, 2015

In Reza Sedighi Manesh’s “Goodbye,” we meet Mr. and Ms. C, an elderly couple coming to terms with the latter’s grave cancer diagnosis. Initially bent on pursuing another round of chemotherapy, a sudden decline in Ms. C’s health forces the conversation to shift from considering the next treatment option to end-of-life decision making. Although this is a discussion that often comes too late, Manesh – still raw from his grandmother’s recent death following unnecessarily aggressive and traumatic resuscitation efforts – attempts to maximize the time he has available. After learning that Ms. C’s primary goal was to be able to say goodbye to her children and grandchildren, the medical team finds creative ways to support and sustain life without being unduly invasive. As Manesh so beautifully puts it, “I was taught that BIPAP is only useful in patients with cardiogenic pulmonary edema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations but I found another reason: to allow a mother to say goodbye to her children.” BIPAP is able to support Ms. C until her family arrives from out of town, allowing for an emotional, but hopefully healing, last goodbye from all involved.

Rachel Elkin