written by Eric Linder
published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: Yes.
It wasn’t quite as accessible as I was expecting it to be: Lindner may lose a few readers due solely to his vocabulary choices, but I liked it. Like Lindner, I’ve spent a great deal of time helping (or trying to, anyway) families cope with exceptional circumstances. Whereas Lindner spends his time befriending those at the end of their lives, I spend mine helping those at the beginning. The basic rules appear to be the same: give what you can without imposing, fix what you can without interfering, love as much as you can without breaking the rules.
This book is about a person who’s learned how to live with people who have learned how to live with the fact that they’re dying. It’s beautiful.
Would I recommend it: Yes. Especially if you’re feeling serious, or nostalgic (or you really need a vocabulary boost).
Will I read it again: It’s likely that the next time I go through a story like this it will be my own family’s. I’m not in a hurry.
About the book: As a part-time hospice volunteer, Eric Lindner provides companion care to dying strangers. They are chatterboxes and recluses, religious and irreligious, battered by cancer, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer s, old age. Some cling to life amazingly. Most pass as they expected.
In telling his story, Lindner reveals the thoughts, fears, and lessons of those living the ends of their lives in the care of others, having exhausted their medical options or ceased treatment for their illnesses. In each chapter, Lindner not only reveals the lessons of lives explored in their final days, but zeroes in on how working for hospice can be incredibly fulfilling.
As he s not a doctor, nurse, or professional social worker, just a volunteer lending a hand, offering a respite for other care providers, his charges often reveal more, and in more detail, to him than they do to those with whom they spend the majority of their time. They impart what they feel are life lessons as they reflect on their own lives and the prospect of their last days. Lindner captures it all in his lively storytelling.
Anyone who knows or loves someone working through end of life issues, living in hospice or other end of life facilities, or dealing with terminal or chronic illnesses, will find in these pages the wisdom of those who are working through their own end of life issues, tackling life s big questions, and boiling them down into lessons for anyone as they age or face illness. And those who may feel compelled to volunteer to serve as companions will find motivation, inspiration, and encouragement.
About the author: Eric Lindner is an attorney & entrepreneur. He has been a hospice companion caregiver since 2009. He divides his time between Warrenton, VA and Kauai, Hawaii.