This is a Japanese Maples and shows what happens if you don't prune correctly. The piece left has died and rotted and may become a health issue for the whole tree. Cutting back to green wood is the only thing to do in this case.
A clean cut, at an angle to stop water from sitting on the cut, close, but not too close to a bud is preferable. I was able to cut out a lot of dead wood and trim back the whole bush to healthy looking wood. In doing so I have opened up the bushes. I am not an expert at pruning, and I may not get flowers this year, but I am sure he bushes will thank me in the long run.
I felt very close to my father today and could hear his voice. I remembered to cut a little, step back and look, and cut a little more. A good pruning job should not look like a massacre and in some cases you shouldn't even be able to tell. Unfortunately, you can tell when a rose has been cut in winter....but they are at least neat.