4 out of 4 stars
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Few books in my life have elicited such emotion as this one did throughout. Dying Well by Susan Ducharme Hoben is an honest look at a lifetime love story and how to die well in a world where hospitalization and life extension are the predominant methods of care.
This book is a raw, honest look at a family's journey to giving Susan's husband Bruce, who suffers from stage 4 esophageal cancer, the end of life treatment he wants. Bruce made the impossibly difficult decision to stop pumping his body full of drugs and enjoy the time he had left. Every step of the way, decisions were made by Susan and Bruce together. From Susan's writing, you can tell how deep their love goes and how many wonderful years they spent together creating memories before his untimely passing.
I wholeheartedly give this book 4 out of 4 stars. Not only was it professionally edited (I couldn't find a single error!), but it truly kept me turning pages to become more engrained with a family that I ultimately felt like was my own. Susan is an extremely talented writer who was able to weave incredible visuals. I feel like if I ran into Susan, her children, or her grandchildren on the street, I would recognize them.
My favorite part of the book was looking in-depth at how the family prepared for Bruce's passing. I love that they decided to move forward with a wake and celebration of life before Bruce's death and not after. In Susan's words, "It was a gift for me to see Bruce through the lens of his colleagues and for Bruce to be present for these testaments of admiration and affection that would have otherwise lived on only in condolences sent to me." Too often, we only express gratitude for another's life after they've passed away. I hope this book encourages people to celebrate among the living as Bruce did many times over.
I have no criticisms for this book. I only have respect for an incredibly strong woman who held a family together through a turbulent time and came out the other side unscathed and with more love than before. Susan's words touched me deeply and made me consider not only my mortality and how I'd like to die but how to help those I'm close with to consider their options.
This book is suitable for all audiences, and I believe it will appeal to anyone who has lost a loved one or is dealing with a troubling medical diagnosis.
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