Stories of people who have been with and cared for a loved one at the moment of death
"In a society which denies death Marjorie Ryerson's book can help everyone awaken to the beauty and meaning of life. Death is the greatest teacher I know of, about life, and by sharing the stories within this book with us she will help us all to live fuller, more meaningful lives."
-Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Help Me to Heal and 365 Prescriptions for the Soul
"Ryerson offers us the rare opportunity to free ourselves from fear and recognize in our own lives the power of love and the presence of mystery. A book for anyone who has ever wondered what it takes to face the unknown."
-Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings
"Companions for the Passage provides a unique look at the ways people adapt to loss. These are powerful stories for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one."
---J. Donald Schumacher, President and CEO, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Companions for the Passage, from the author of the acclaimed Water Music, is an unforgettable book on a rarely visited subject: the personal stories of those who have witnessed the death of a loved one. Similar to works of Studs Terkel, author Marjorie Ryerson's interviews capture the human condition through their wide variety of experiences and voices.
Some of the interviewees are religious, some not; some encouraged their loved ones to accept death, others to fight it to the end. There are stories of heroic nurses and of indifferent hospital bureaucracies, of deaths that came too soon, and those that came at the end of a long, rich life. Possessing an affirmative quality that is anything but sentimental, ultimately these stories celebrate the experience of being present at the death of a loved one.
Marjorie Ryerson teaches Communications at Castleton State College, as well as poetry at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference. Her previous book, Water Music (University of Michigan Press, 2003), collected the writings of sixty-six world class musicians. Writer and philosopher Thomas Moore is the author of Care of the Soul and Soul Mates.