It was fated that I would meet Cathy Truehart of Southampton.
When I released my book, Divine Renovations, last spring Cathy saw that I was to be reading from it at White Square – Fine Books & Art in Easthampton. She wasn’t able to attend, so she got my email address from the bookstore owner and contacted me to introduce herself. She said she wasn’t only interested in reading my book but that she had a book of her own to pass on: The Miracle of Hospice.
So we got together over a glass of wine and swapped books. Our mellow personalities meshed well, and we discovered we had a lot in common. There was an instant connection.
I started reading Cathy’s book that same night. I was touched by her insight, her gentle manner and the authentic look she gives into hospice. I reflected on my own experiences with Ed and wished that I had called hospice sooner than the week before his death. Cathy describes how she helps people she cares for to talk to each other about their fears and sorrows, and I wished we had had that opportunity. I wished we had had Cathy to shepherd us through Ed’s death.
Cathy is a volunteer and bereavement coordinator in Enfield, Conn., and The Miracle of Hospice tells the stories of hospice patients she worked with, most of whom lived in Western Mass. The theme of her book is that hospice is an invaluable service designed for people with a life-threatening illness with only six months or less to live. She well makes the point that hospice brings dignity and an enhanced sense of peace and acceptance to those who are dying, and their families.
It’s unfortunate that so many people wait until the last hours, days or weeks of life to sign on to hospice. The thread that is woven throughout the book is that hospice is about quality of life, and it is something to be revered, rather than feared.
The Miracle of Hospice tells personal stories of the people Cathy cared for and worked with over the years. It’s divided into three sections: The first is an account of an actual day in the life of a Hospice nurse that Cathy experienced 10 years ago, inspiring her to write the book. The second section revolves around Cathy’s spiritual journey and involvement with holistic healing, and the third offers background on hospice.
Cathy and I have gotten together a few times, and we’ve decided to team up and offer events as a two-some. In January, on a date yet to be determined, we will read together at an event sponsored by the Hospice of Fisher Home in Amherst.
I’ll talk about my experience as a caretaker and my wish that we had called Hospice sooner so that Ed and I could have talked together about our fears and found a way to help one another cope. Cathy will talk about her own experience as a hospice nurse, and someone from the Hospice of Fisher Home will talk about the quality of their program.
It’s a great collaboration that came about completely by coincidence. We hope it will help others.
Talk about fate.