Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review- A Sacred Walk: Dispelling the Fear of Death and Caring for the Dying

A Sacred Walk: Dispelling the Fear of Death and Caring for the Dying

by Donna M. Authers
A & A Publishing, 2008

This is another book that I read to ready me for volunteer work. I started it a month ago but just recently finished it. It was a tough read. So much of it reminded me of my papa that I had to put it down almost as soon as I picked it up. It was difficult to remove myself from it and I didn't want to read it in that mind set. If i say here that I was able to read it and not cry or not think of my dad, it would be a lie.
In this book Donna gives practical advice for any caretaker, caregiver, friend or family member of a person who is dying.

This advice and wisdom comes in the form of personal stories, scripture and practicality. Donna talks about many of the losses she has been through in her life but the one that resonates throughout the book is the loss of her mother. From the moment when her mom learns that her brain tumor is inoperable Donna and her mom begin a journey. Their honesty with each other is beautiful and raw. They struggle together to find meaning, God and closure. What they find instead is strength.

The toughest parts to get through in this book are the conversations and letters shared with each other. It is hardest to keep the tears at bay when her mom says she feels like she is detaching, like she is here and there and the same time, so she knows it is time. Any book on death and grief will tell you that at some point the patient will detach emotionally but to see/hear the words is heart wrenching. In the end Donna's mom passes with dignity and in the most ideal and beautiful way. Subsequently Donna was left with "good grief". This was a wonderful read simply due to the best of a bad situation experienced by the author. Her lessons are very much worth reading, and learning from!


  1. Ana,
    This sounds like a really good book, though not an easy read. I so agree with the statement that any book on death will tell you that at some point the person dying begins detaching and disengaging at least to some extent. It's part of the letting go process and it' really tough to acknowledge that. I remember this stage all too well when my mom was dying. Did you experience this with your dad? I have so many books on my to read list, guess I'll add another one! Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. no i can't say that i did experience it.. but..he was a quiet man and we weren't open with his dying.. so maybe that is why we didn't feel that detachment.. he would look at walls and doors sometimes when we spoke to him.. but that was more morphine induced