4 out of 4 stars
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What would you do if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness? Would you try all possible treatment in quest to hold on to any bit of life it has to offer, or succumb to the illness and enjoy the allotted time you have left on planet earth? In this heartfelt memoir, Bruce Hoben the author’s husband of forty-six years is left having to decide his fate.
In Dying Well: Our Journey of Love and Loss by Susan Ducharme Hoben, she dives into the challenges of caring for a spouse diagnosed with esophagus and liver cancer. Challenges such as deciphering best treatment options, dedicating innumerable hours in research about the diagnoses, religious values, finding hospice care in the event of treatment refusal, learning about the effects of the deterioration of the internal organs of the body as the cancer progresses and seeking solace and support from closely knitted family and friends.
Having survived cancer twice, Susan was hopeful about Bruce’s diagnoses. She shares a how-to guide to prepare oneself if ever in the same boat of caring for a terminally ill loved one. In her writing, she mentioned books perused to better prepare for death and what it entails: saying goodbyes, resolving conflicts, wellbeing of the people left behind, etc.
What I loved and appreciated the most while reading the book was the benevolent tone maintained throughout. Though a disheartening and heartbreaking experience to lose a loved one, her tone remained kind. The author was very candid in her writing, and included italicized date stamps at the beginning of every chapter to give readers an imagery of each day: spring, summer, or winter. The result of this, while reading, was that it left me reminiscing about my life during each season.
The book emphasizes the importance and need to celebrate every waking day of life, living unapologetically, and making a good lasting impact on one another. We often live life suppressing the morbid thoughts that death could visit at any time—this book will remind you that, truly, death is ever so present and the notion about having ‘plenty of time’ is exactly just that: a notion. Deep down, we are aware that our time here is limited, so convincing ourselves that we still have plenty of time serves to lessen the guilt during the days when we postpone spending quality time with friends and families. Aware that death is inevitable, Susan’s writing urges that time is of the essence in all that we do. Her writing prompts us to prepare for death as we celebrate life, therefore, things such as preparing one’s will, forgiving quickly, making peace and living in the present ought to be part of our lifestyle.
There were no erotic scenes, profanity or grammatical errors. This was a professionally edited book, therefore I rate Dying Well: Our Journey of Love and Loss by Susan Ducharme Hoben a 4 out of 4 stars.
With its great insights, I would recommend this book to those that are terminally ill needing a nudge on whether to continue or forfeit treatment, their caretakers and children.
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