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Final Chapters


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jonathan Dimbleby, Chair of Dimbleby Cancer Care. Introduction, Eve Richardson, Chief Executive, Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care. Leave-taking, Helen Barnes. The Night Shift That Changed Me, Alexandra Obee. Swan, Brenda Read-Brown. Ava's Lovers, Claire Jones. The Milkman Cried, Josephine Howard. Journey's End, Sue Moorhouse. Hypocrisy, Sali Gray. An Ordinary Day, Kylie Joyce. Google Maps Saved My Life, Anneliese Mackintosh. Beneath The Bracken, Janette Ayachi. Coat Hanger, Adam Lound. Chubby Little Cheeks, Sarah Bakewell. Names Have Been Changed, Carole Mansur. Let Winter Come, Nick Jarvis. A Life Ascending, John Hunt. Polly Dolly, Maureen Gallagher. A Matter Of Compassion, Alva de Chiro. Enhancing Dementia Recipe, Janet Willoughby. The Patient That Changed Me, Faye Gishen. Regrets, Hope Uchio. A Dose Of Reality, Caroline Sposto. Closing Scenes, Grainne Tobin. An Honourable Life, Christopher Owen. Of Glass, of Light, of Silver, Kit de Waal. The Mother Thief, Alison Wassell. The Grief Schism, David Mohan. Spoons, Pete Buckingham. The Waiting Room, Harriet Davies. Papier Mache Doll, Amanda Bowden. Baseball Cards, Leissa Shahrak. About the Authors.

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30 short stories and poems about dying and bereavement provide insight into the diverse array of responses to grief, bereavement and facing death

About the Author

The stories and poems in this collection were originally written for a competition run by the Dying Matters Coalition. The Dying Matters Coalition was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) in 2009 to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement. Its 30,000 members include charities, care homes, hospices, hospitals, funeral directors, legal and financial organisations, doctors, nurses and other individuals. The Dying Matters website has a wide range of free resources to help people to talk more openly about dying, death, bereavement and their end of life wishes. The website can be found at www.dyingmatters.org. All royalties from Final Chapters will be paid to the National Council for Palliative Care (registered charity no. 1005671). Roger Kirkpatrick, social campaigner and publisher, has been enterprise manager at Shaw Trust, managing director of Berlitz Publishing and marketing director of Random House. He is currently an NCPC volunteer, and the Final Chapters project was his brainchild.


A collection such as this is bound to be very moving and sympathetic: the subject makes it inevitable. But the pieces in this collection are much more than cries of grief. For all their sadness, they are also brave, resolute, clever, and sometimes even funny. This means the book has a kind of stoic nobility, as well as a warm humanity. It's a very powerful combination. -- Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate
The poems and prose in this small volume are a revelation. Written by some who grieve and others who are close to death, they do not invite a casual skim. They are by turns raw and harrowing, wry and bleak. But they have in common a compelling honesty that is touching and illuminating...At some point we will all face that inevitable terminus, the end of life. I think you will find that by facing that implacable fact, Final Chapters makes this shared prospect less daunting and therefore, perhaps, more bearable as well. -- from the Foreword by Jonathan Dimbleby, Chair of Dimbleby Cancer Care, UK
Very interesting book... The stories are well written, sensitive and provide good insight into the differing worlds of those facing loss... This book would be a very useful addition to any library and for those entering the services and professionals who wish to gain insight into dying death and bereavement. -- Alex James, MBACP Founder of Bereavement.co.uk * Bereavement Care *
Some [contributions] are uplifting and inspirational while others left me thinking why and wanting to run with my soap box to the nearest street corner and draw to public attention the true state of care for our elderly and lack of support for those facing dementia and terminal illness (unless of course you are fortunate enough to live in an area that is well provided for!) -- Alex James, founder of Bereavement.co.uk
I can happily recommend this book to anyone who works in palliative care, who I think will be interested to read how others see what we see every day. -- Dr. Roger Woodruff, International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care, Australia
Final Chapters...symbolises a somber acknowledgment of the tension encountered when cancer becomes the subject of our experiences. On a dual note, the book is also an opportunity for the bringing together of the suppressed moments of our society. There is an unveiling of the strange silence that the existence of cancer leaves in its trail....Whilst the book is an internal monologue of the contributors, there is a somewhat beautiful quality to the narratives for creating an entrance into the space of individual final chapters. We learn through the passages of the final chapters that even the last breath holds a story that transcends beyond the moment life surrendered. -- Dr Ayesha Ahmad, BMJ Medical Humanities Journal's online blog

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