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Acknowledgements Preface 1: An Aptly Named Caregiver 2: Find the Key That Unlocks Empathy 3: Adversity Crumbles When Laughed At 4: Ownership Isn't All That it's Cracked Up to Be 5: Talk Less, Communicate More 6: We're Only as Sick as Our Secrets 7: Have Guns, Will Travel 8: Live Discharge 9: DOs and DON'Ts
Eric Lindner is an attorney and entrepreneur. A hospice volunteer since 2009, he lives outside Warrenton, VA.
In this endearing and personal book, Attorney and entrepreneur Lindner details his experiences volunteering in hospice with colorful storytelling, practical advice, and encouragement for those coming to terms with the end of life. As a new volunteer, Lindner learns that there are 5300 hospices in the U.S. and they rely heavily on volunteers. While Lindner's early training included "dos and don'ts," he tends to follow his own path, causing some raised eyebrows and, in one case, nearly landing himself in a lawsuit. Still, Lindner's heart is in the right place and he soldiers on with a positive attitude, especially given that a hospice volunteer never knows what he's stepping into. One thing is for certain, a hospice volunteer must deal with profound moral dilemmas and emotional issues. Lindner's open access to patients combined with his hectic travel schedule has him receiving calls at all times of day and night and on various continents and he's frank about these life and death issues. Lindner takes on this heavy subject from a special perspective and he does so eloquently, providing insight and inspiration to those who read along. Publishers Weekly Author Eric Lindner's debut is somewhat like an Irish wake. There are tears, but also joy and surprising levity. His writing honors and gives voice to those intensely personal moments that patients and their loved ones endure and find reasons to celebrate...Lindner urges us to be still, present and listen with all our sensory antennae to the winks and whispers, hugs and mumbles, sighs and chuckles of those on the cusp of the Hereafter. The unspoken, the look, the long deep breath, the tear in the corner of the eye, and the tight grip of the hand-these are the unspoken things that speak volumes. As a 'companion caregiver,' he ushers us into the lives of seven special patients, illuminating what's relevant to and for the dying-and the living. As far as the dying are concerned, Lindner observes, one of the most relevant things 'is preserving a shred of privacy and dignity, which can be tough when you're incontinent, your wig's on backward, or you can't find your false teeth.' ... Lindner is an honest teacher, not one to shy away from highlighting his own foibles. Yet he demonstrates how all of us, even the most 'unskilled,' can help alleviate pain and suffering -- while learning great lessons in the process. He brings to us patients with whom we can all sympathize and identify. Lindner's stories echo Khalil Gibran, who said, 'Pain breaks the shell that encloses understanding.' Huffington Post Hospice Voices: Lessons For Living at the End of Life is a memoir written by a lay hospice volunteer who shares with us his moving story of spending time with those facing their mortality. It's a beautiful book, deeply instructive to the professional and layperson alike. ... Hospice Voices is a truly beautiful work of love, written in heartfelt and genuine prose that clearly demonstrates Lindner's love and respect for his clients, as well as his clear-eyed views on mortality and illness, not to mention his own internal process during the course of his volunteering. Rather than the words of a professional, Lindner's book is a love song written by a layperson; a love song infused with understanding, pathos, authenticity and raw honesty. Sharing deeply about his family, his own life, as well as his young daughter's experience of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the author's personality shines brilliantly through his flowing, simple yet moving prose. I highly recommend Hospice Voices for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved, expects to experience the death of a loved one, or who thinks that they themselves may die one day. Does that seem like I'm recommending it to everyone? I most certainly am. Digital Doorway Eric Lindner's book Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life is a powerful testament to hospice volunteers. The Post's article and Lindner's book are the best gifts one can give to a family suffering through one of life's most difficult moments. The Instrumentalist 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, NY Times #1 Bestselling Author 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 at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Diseas; author of many works including 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 Eric 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 them, not to fix them. 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. Eric Lindner's book inspires all of us to enter the sacredness of living and dying with openness and courage. -- Christina M. Puchalski, MD, MS, FACP; director of George Washington University's Institute for Spirituality and Health; professor of George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences 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; author of many works including 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 Beautiful, funny, poignant. I was mesmerized. -- Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) I started Hospice Voices and read it straight through. I was deeply moved by the extraordinary people I met in the book. -- Will Schwalbe, author of the New York Times bestseller, The End of Your Life Book Club I love this book! It's a brilliant story...well-told. -- John Toal, BBC Radio