Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Glimpses of Heaven

More Glimpses of Heaven: Inspiring True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life's JourneyToday's book is a collection of essays written by hospice workers about their inspirational experiences with dying patients. Before I get to the review I just wanted to let you know that hospice workers are angels here on earth. They deal with the dying and their families on a daily basis and always, always treat them with dignity and respect, trying to ensure a death free of pain and fear. It cannot be an easy job or one done by just anyone. I believe that you have to have a special gift, a spirit from the Lord, to serve people in such a selfless and often heart-breaking way. I will never forget sitting with my Grandma Bunn as she was dying in May of 2009. I had sat with her a few nights before and could see how she had deteriorated. She was unconscious, although I felt that she was still very aware.

When she started having trouble breathing around midnight, I asked the nursing home to call hospice, and soon the worker arrived. I don't remember her name, but I will never forget how she took care of me that night. She assuaged my fears about Grandma and then just sat and listened to me talk about my grief at the coming loss. She could have been angry at me for calling her in the middle of the night for what turned out to be nothing. She could have walked in, assessed the situation and then immediately left. Instead she spent about an hour there, just quietly listening and offering comfort, as well as giving me some advice about what to watch for as the end truly did approach.

When Grandma passed about five hours later, I was able to recognize what was happening and face it without fear, and I prayed aloud until she was gone. The hospice nurse had truly helped me to prepare for what was coming. And when I called her again to let her know, she came right back, even though she had only been home for a few hours.

Hospice workers have a job that I could not do; I don't believe that many people can. I have enormous respect for them and all they do.

More Glimpses of Heaven by Trudy Harris is a poignant and inspirational book. Harris has collected stories from several hospice workers, as well as some writings of her own, of their experiences with patients who had unusual deaths. Each story is unique and beautiful in its own way. From a young boy dying from leukemia who is determined that his mother will be cared for after he's gone to a elderly soldier preparing to meet his Captain, there is a message of hope in every story of death. Christians have a different view of death than most; although they mourn their own loss, they rejoice at the new life the departed have in Heaven. Hospice workers are special in that part of their job is to ensure a painless and fear-free passing, so they are face to face with the dying on a daily basis. Their stories made me cry again and again, because they are so terribly beautiful. To read of a child who dies with a smile on their face because they see Jesus is heart-breaking, but it's also a promise of hope to readers that someday they will experience the same. Death is frightening to most people. The hospice workers who wrote these pieces not only serve their regular patients by relieving their fears, their stories will also relieve those same fears in anyone who reads this book. It's not an easy one to read, but it is well worth the time and every tear shed.

Thank you to Revell for providing me with a copy of this book for review. Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of the Baker Publishing Group.