The Last Gifts

The Last Gifts The Last Gifts: Creative Ways to Be with the Dying tells the stories of seventeen people with whom I worked as an occupational therapist in a hospice program. The collection, framed by my own story, is an emotional map of pain, humor, guilt, and love between dying person and caregiver, whether family member, friend, partner, volunteer, or health professional.

The stories illuminate ways to problem-solve with persons (young, old, men, women, gay, married, single) dying of a range of illnesses, in various living situations (alone or surrounded by family, in nursing homes or homes comfortable or poor, orderly or chaotic). Most important, it is about opening one’s heart to hear what a person living his dying is really asking for. They are stories of profound love and intimacy.

Sooner or later everyone is faced with issues of how to be with the dying. The Last Gifts fills a niche that other books don’t by providing a range of simple tools from helping the dying person in his daily life to creating a legacy for his children. The projects and solutions I’ve devised are useful, and often fun. The book shows how to work beyond obstacles such as anger, fear, anxiety, depression, physical limitations, and even the inability to speak. Written for anyone in the vicinity of a dying person, the book is practical and insightful, with a direct simplicity that makes it entertaining and easy to read. This is a manual of the heart that shows you how to get past the physical unpleasantness and see the blossoming of the soul as it sheds its earthly limitations.

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