Friday, June 09, 2017

Book Review: On My Way Home

In the foreword to On My Way Home by Joyce Hutchinson (Ave Maria Press, 2017), Joyce Rupp writes, “No matter how much we know about dying, or how often we have accompanied others in their final stage of life, we do not really know what it is like until we face our own mortality.”
Hutchison was an oncology nurse who had treated many people with terminal cancer. She lived by the precept she was taught in nursing school that when she was taking care of patients, she was taking care of Jesus. She walked with many as they faced death, and then she had to face her own battle with terminal lung cancer. She hoped that in sharing her own experience in facing death she could help others who care for the dying.
She shares her own story with painful honesty.

While she believes death is a natural part of life, she nevertheless finds herself scared of the end. She feels great pain at having to share the bad news with her children, and suffers through the exhaustion of chemo, and has to face the strain on her marriage and the loss of personal dignity. Yet through it all she trusts in God and acknowledges that the painful process has brought her closer to God because there are many days when all she could do was be still with God. 

We tend not to think about death until we have to face either our own mortality or that of someone close to us. On My Way Home invites us to think about the process of dying and offers suggestions of how to better accompany someone on that journey. Hutchinson’s unique perspective as one who cared for the dying and how facing her own diagnosis changed how she would have cared for patients is extremely valuable, especially for those in the medical field or who work in hospice care. 

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