As a part-time hospice volunteer, Eric Lindner provides companion care to dying strangers. They are chatterboxes and recluses, religious and irreligious, battered by cancer, congestive heart failure, Alzheimer s, old age. Some cling to life amazingly. Most pass as they expected.
In telling his story, Lindner reveals the thoughts, fears, and lessons of those living the ends of their lives in the care of others, having exhausted their medical options or ceased treatment for their illnesses. In each chapter, Lindner not only reveals the lessons of lives explored in their final days, but zeroes in on how working for hospice can be incredibly fulfilling.
As he s not a doctor, nurse, or professional social worker, just a volunteer lending a hand, offering a respite for other care providers, his charges often reveal more, and in more detail, to him than they do to those with whom they spend the majority of their time. They impart what they feel are life lessons as they reflect on their own lives and the prospect of their last days. Lindner captures it all in his lively storytelling.
Anyone who knows or loves someone working through end of life issues, living in hospice or other end of life facilities, or dealing with terminal or chronic illnesses, will find in these pages the wisdom of those who are working through their own end of life issues, tackling life s big questions, and boiling them down into lessons for anyone as they age or face illness. And those who may feel compelled to volunteer to serve as companions will find motivation, inspiration, and encouragement.
Rather than sink under the weight of depression, pity, or sorrow, Lindner celebrates the lives of those who choose to live even as they die.
Advance Praise for Hospice Voices:
“This is an honest, pull no punches look at coming to terms with the one thing we will all do-die. In this well-documented and highly-readable book, Lindner proves an adept chronicler of the individual human stories that make up his journey to understand that beauty and grace can exist at the end stages of life. Lindner deftly reminds us of the power of the small things, the simple gestures and the importance of dignity for those that face a terminal situation. Throughout the book, we meet people approaching the end of life in their own individual ways, with different measures of love, faith and family. This book simultaneously opened my heart and broke it as each story taught me how hope and dignity can exist even in terminal situations. As a hospice volunteer, Lindner teaches us all that the ability to ease and bear witness to someone’s journey at the end stage of life is perhaps the ultimate gift one human can give another.”– Lee Woodruff, author of the New York Times bestsellers Those We Love Most and In an Instant
“Heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure claim more lives than any other disease state. Over my career I’ve seen my share of sadness due to the ravages of end-stage cardiovascular disease. But I’ve also seen terminal patients and their loved ones wring out great joy and meaning in the final months of life. This book is joyful, insightful, witty, and truly meaningful. It tugged at my heart, tickled my funny bone, and served up numerous insights and tips that had escaped me when trying to advise patients and their families. What a marvelous set of stories that should be read by all adults. It inspires us to live life to the fullest and respect and learn from the past in order to better deal with future uncertainty.”–Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., FAHA, FACC. Kenneth Jay Pollin Professor of Cardiology, Director, Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease and co-editor-in-chief of Preventive Cardiology: Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease
“As a physician who cares for the chronically ill and dying I all too often see people who are alone in the midst of their suffering. Trained volunteers, like Lindner, play such an immensely important role in providing that companionship to the patient. His book reminds all of us that we are invited to attend to others-not to change them, not to judge, not to fix. We are there simply to listen and to be witnesses to the suffering and joy of others in their living and in their dying. Presence to others, as Lindner describes so poignantly in his book, is a transformative sacred act for the patient and for the companion. His book inspires all of us to enter the sacredness of living and dying with openness and courage.”-Christina M. Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP. Director, George Washington University’s Institute for Spirituality and Health, Professor, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the author of A Time for Listening and Caring: Spirituality and the Care of the Chronically Ill and Dying.
“This book intrigued me because of the author’s pledge to donate 100% of his profits to charity. His book moved me because it’s an illustration that there are many ways we can provide love and justice in this world. We think of love in our daily affections for those close to us. We think of justice in the work of social movements. But all religions teach that at the heart of justice is love, hospitality, and kindness to strangers. It is hard to imagine a better example of exactly that than this book, and in reading it, one comes away knowing that as in sacred scripture, Lindner has encountered and served angels themselves.”–Timothy L. Fort, PhD, JD, Everleigh Professor of Business Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University and author of Business, Integrity, and Peace: Beyond Geopolitical and Disciplinary Boundaries
“Eric Lindner gives voice to those in their final days so that we may better listen, love, and learn from their example. A must read for any caregiver – volunteer or family.”–Vince Evans, MSW, Vice President of Patient Services, Hospice of the Valley
Eric Lindner is an attorney & entrepreneur. He has been a hospice companion caregiver since 2009. He divides his time between Warrenton, VA and Kauai, Hawaii.
Author Website: http://www.hospicevoices.com/
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