Final Gifts: Understanding the special awareness, needs, and communications of the dying, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.

In the past 2-1/2 years I have read many books about caregiving and aging as I travel this path with my mother. This isn’t my favorite read, but it’s the only one I’ve read on the topic. I feel somehow better prepared for when my mother’s last days come. Prepared to listen for clues: is she afraid of something? have unfinished business? looking for information? And to ask and answer questions I might not even have realized she is asking.

Hospice nurses, Callahan and Kelley, share intimate experiences with patients at the end of life and their families. “Through their stories we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts—of wisdom, faith, and love—that the dying leave for the living to share.”