- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (October 6, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312268718
- ISBN-13: 978-0312268718
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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When Evening Comes: The Education of a Hospice Volunteer First Edition Edition
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From Library Journal
Andreae's experiences as a freelance writer and mystery author (Smoke Eaters) are evident in this account of her experiences as a hospice volunteer with female patients in the last stages of cancer. Hospice volunteers work through a local agency and provide support for families when their members are dying. Written in a very readable diary format, this book traces the author's experience from rank newcomer to seasoned volunteer. She reveals how the experiences helped her to grow and how she was able to assist the families to whom she was assigned. The first chapter, "Bivie," was privately published as One Woman's Death: A Hospice Volunteer's First Case. This book is valuable for helping us understand the work hospice volunteers do and some of the problems and issues they face. A useful addition to consume-health collections.DMary J. Jarvis, Amarillo, TX
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
For those still confused by the hospice concept, Andreae, who has volunterred for a decade at Blue Ridge Hospice in rural Virginia, imparts some idea of what hospice programs are and are like. Most of Andreae's 15 patients, however, spent their final days and died at home, and as a detailed account of dying in a hospice, Tim Brookes' Signs of Life (1997) is more helpful. Still, Andreae writes movingly and perceptively of her patients and herself, and even tells stories on herself. Hospice care changes everyone involved, she shows, not least because dying is a process, not an event, and its needs are as likely to appear late at night as at more convenient hours. She volunteers because she loves the work despite hospice patients, their spouses, and their families being no more lovable or saintly than anyone else. She is realistic and knows that pain cannot always be controlled and that rejections by patients occur. Ultimately, she demonstrates well the values of a successful hospice program. William Beatty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Andreae subtitles it "The Education of Hospice Volunteer" and it is about her struggles to help the two cases she focuses on primarily, "Bivie" and "Amber", but it's not educational. She is very honest and detailed, includes dialogue, her thoughts and feelings, but there is little that a new volunteer would learn from this book. She doesn't seem to think about what the reader, especially a new volunteer, should know. She draws no conclusions, makes no recommendations, doesn't even comment about how she herself grew from working with these two cases. The fact that Bivie and Amber were very similar, young women with families and somewhat problematic husbands, and little money and challenging home lives, also limits what one might draw from her accounts. Yes, we do see that the dying try to live right up till they die, but you don't need a whole book to learn that.
If you're interested in learning what it's like to be a volunteer, I'd recommend, Mary Jo Bennett's "When Autumn Comes," Christine Longaker's "Facing Death and Finding Hope," Marrill Collett's "At Home With Dying," any of Ira Byock's books or either of Maggie Callanan's excellent books.
This book provides an extremely personal insight of how, even as a stranger, one can be supportive of someone who is dying. It's a sad story, of course, but one that is rich in uncovering the meaning of life.
It really makes you stop and recognize what's important--and what isn't and remember just how precious and short life really is.