When my father died of cancer, it was the classic hospital death: he was given misleading information about his condition and the prognosis, he was advised to have invasive and physically debilitating treatments, and the experience was impersonal yet ghastly for all concerned. When I first heard about hospice, with its radical and humane approach to caring for the terminally ill, I was determined to investigate it and write about it. Then my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, and the question was no longer journalistic or academic–we were right in the middle of it. During the last six months of her life, my family and I learned more about each other and about the nature of living than any of us could have expected. Selected by the National Hospice Council as recommended reading, and still my favorite book.
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