4 out of 4 stars
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We all ponder, at one time or another, the question: What is after death? Is death just blackness or is there more? Honest Endings by Katherine Cullen looks at Cullen’s time spent as a social worker for Hospice. Throughout her experience she was able to reflect on her ideas and realizations when it comes to the topic of death. Cullen is able to navigate each family's grief while miraculously coping with her own as she knows she will be losing patient after patient, as that is the job.
Although the saddest of chapters “All the Lonely People” was also my favorite chapter within the book. This chapter explained that people often died how they lived, some of the time this was alone. It also went through what Cullen and her co-workers experienced in the field with very little training and support. I felt I could relate to this due to the field I work in as well. The chapter also touched on how families had to get on after their loved one passed. It was an informative, yet very sad chapter.
Cullen worked for Hospice for three years, and within that time she kept a journal to document her experiences and stories as well as process what she was going though. It is not normal to experience death three or four times on a weekly basis. Honest Endings by Katherine Cullen originated from what was once her nightly journal.
I really enjoy the personal stories she shares. The stories are heartwarming and clearly come from a place of pure love of her patients. Cullen’s explains that for some individuals the topic of death might be scary to approach and yet for others possibly peaceful. I appreciate Cullen’s validation of all feelings that one may experience as they talk about, or think about the topic of death.
There are a few references to religion as well as religious practices throughout the book. The final chapter focuses mostly on Cullen’s religious understanding after having worked for hospice. If a reader does not want to read on that sort of reflection, that chapter could be skipped. The book has clearly been professionally edited. There was nothing I disliked about the book. There is not profanity or erotic content. I would recommend this book to adult readers or young adults wanting to gain an understanding of death and what hospice workers do for families. I would rate this book 4 out of 4.
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