Ira Byock wrote the novel The Four Things That Matter Most, in 2004. Mr. Byock is a renowned medical doctor who specializes and practices in palliative care and his main interest is offering care to alleviate mental, emotional, and physical symptoms for those that are in their last moments of life. His enriching novel discusses these concepts; it is a helpful tool for those that are dying, or for their loved ones facing the reality of the impending death, and for those that have lost a loved one. The cover of the book states that it is “A book about living.” Before I started reading it, I kept thinking, “How could this be a book about living?” when clearly the author had his interests for caring for the ill and dying. Would he not be writing a novel about how to come to terms about dying? I was definitely wrong in my assumption.
The Four Things That Matter Most has five distinct parts within its pages that coincide with what the book is regarding. The first part introduces the four things, things that are imperative to aid in healing, creating, and completing various relationships. The next four parts go into detail of the four things titled Forgiveness, Thank You, I Love You, and Goodbye. Mr. Byock posits that speaking these four things to those, we love and perhaps applying these four things to ourselves will reap much warranted benefits to grow more on the inside in order to effectively grow our relationships. These four things can be applied to any situation in life that may be thwarted our way or to any age of person, and if that person wholeheartedly takes his well- intentioned advice of the four things, it is a win- win situation!
The four parts are broken down into much insightful chapters totaling twenty- one altogether. Each chapter has examples of personal stories that Mr. Byock has collected over his professional career. Anyone can easily relate or may gather the advantageous advice to bookmark in their brains for later usage. Each chapter is important to mention as each gives sound advice and I feel that I must confer on all of the chapters since leaving out any of them will not do this awesome book justice!
Chapter One, Saying the Four Things is obviously about what the title states. Byock introduces the most important words that anyone can and needs to say to strengthen, repair, or authenticate a relationship. These words can be simply uttered, but when done in sincerity, can pack a powerful punch. They are “Please forgive me”, “I forgive you”, “Thank you”, and “I love you”.
Chapter Two, The Healing Power of Words makes good use of acknowledging that words can be made to be very potent if stressed in certain ways. If you cannot easily verbalize the four things, what is important for your dying loved one is to be there by their side, offering them companionship. They will realize that you love and care for them by witnessing your actions. Loneliness is often very grueling to a person emotionally, physically, and mentally,...