Boundless magazine: Arifa Akbar chats to Kathryn Mannix

Great to chat about dying, death and life in general with Arifa.

Our discussion included how it feels to spend a lifetime working with dying people.

Arifa: What are the emotional and psychological effects of working in palliative care for so long? Do you think you value the life you have more as a result, or feel its fragility more keenly?

Kathryn: I get asked this a lot, and I still don’t have a good answer! Palliative care has been the most rewarding combination of clinical detective-work, therapeutic challenge, emotional fulfilment and occasional heartbreak. It has suited me, and hasn’t felt over-demanding – although it has certainly eaten into my family and personal time down the years.

I think having a sense both of our physical fragility and of our astonishing emotional resilience has made me appreciate the daily wonder of being. It makes the special things more resonant, and it (mainly) gets the irritating things in perspective. I laugh a lot. I think palliative care has taught me the value of joy in the tiny things, all around us, every day. What a gift.

Here’s our chat in full.
Photos: Craig Fordham