Saturday, April 01, 2006

Slow Dancing at Death’s Door: Helping Your Parent Through the Last Stages of Life

It is impressive to see that a woman, Amy C. Baker, from the corporate world has stepped forward to show us our deepest human value: the need for serving our departing generation. Her book Slow Dancing at Death’s Door (Life Journey/Cook International, Colorado, 2006) incarnates a healthy form of what has been called ‘Survivor’s Syndrome’. Amy Baker exhausts her experience of anger, frustration, loneliness, and grief, that are the lot of so many aging members of our ‘Sandwich Generation’, and comes out with an enlightening lesson: forgiving for not knowing better.

Losing her mother to cancer and father to Hepatitis C, Amy Baker recounts what it feels like losing your loved ones and how best you can play your role of a caring child, at the same time a spouse, a parent, a responsible employee, and many temporary roles that one is obliged to take in life. That business world has not calcified her human spirit shows in Baker’s account of all she did for her dying parents to claim her success as a humane being. That she is an intelligent writer is evident from the warmth and energy of emotion that saturate her expression throughout the book.

As Amy Baker maturely embellishes her passages with good-hearted humor, the gravity of a subject like death (and that of one’s own parents) has no chance to oppress or offend the reader. However, Baker does more than that. With her faith, she illustrates the falsity of our perfection-seeking attitude towards life, thus showing us the importance to shed our slough of self-centeredness while at the same time not overlooking the need to take care of ourselves in order to be able to care for our parents. The emphasis is on growth not only in flesh and blood but more so in human spirit. On the practical side, we can see advice on hospice, management of ailing parents, and legal matters pertaining to inheritance, estate panning, and wills.

The nonconformist reader might frown over Baker’s frequent resort to biblical quotes, which are seen as the source of inspiration and divine power. This does become a bit obtrusive, especially at end of the book, where the author discusses preserving family history for future generations. Nevertheless, the spontaneity of her account of her parents’ death holds high her attempt to ‘light beacons of hope’ in her reader’s heart. The touching beauty of Amy Baker’s tapestry of words in paying homage to her late parents is heart winning. She is one writer who emerges victorious from her situation as a caring survivor.

ISBN: 0781442621


Author’s Website

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