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May I  Walk You Home? book cover

From the publisher

     Walking a companion home is an old-fashioned custom, often lost in our modern era. But there was once a time when walks home from school, from church, or from a church were commonplace.


     Walking someone home was a way of offering protection and guidance, an opportunity to reflect on life and what had just been experienced.


    Joyce Hutchinson and Joyce Rupp capture the spirit of that person companionship for those who accompany the dying on their final journey. Hutchinson's moving stories relate her many experiences of caring for the dying, tracing the moments of joy, experiences of connection, and glimpses of heaven that occur along the way. Rupp's simple and tender prayers express beautifully the struggle and rewards of this companionship, offering caregivers both strength and hope.


     ....one's simple presence can encourage the dying person to let go and make the final step of the journey in peace


    Joyce Hutchinson provides a wonderful example of what it is like to simply be there with one who is seriously ill or dying - how to listen, when to speak, how to provide encouragement, and most of all, how one's simple presence can encourage the dying person to let go and make the final step of the journey in peace. Joyce Rupp follows each story with a prayer experience consisting of a meditation exercise, a poetic prayer, and an affirmation for the day.

     Whether family members, friends, chaplains, or health care workers, caregivers will find here much inspiration and support for their ministry.

 

May I Walk You Home?
courage and comfort for
caregivers of the very ill


Thoughts from Joyce Rupp
 

     When my time comes to die, I hope that Joyce Hutchinson can be by my side.... She is truly a midwife of the dying. Her many years of experience give credence to the profound and touching way she is able to enter into the dying journey of others. Her medical expertise, her gracious spirit, and her innate wisdom have given her an approach to death that is both comforting and hope-filled. She views death as a natural part of life, seeing it as the necessary journey we all must make to reach our true home. Joyce visualizes herself as accompanying each dying person to the door that opens to the other side. She "walks them home" with loving care, quiet joy, tenderness, and compassion.

     The teachings are given in this book ...by simply getting inside the stories, being there, listening to Joyce, observing how she is present with the very ill and with their families.

     The meditations and prayers I have provided with each story came after much reflection on the stories themselves and from my experience as a hospice volunteer. It is my hope that they will provide an opportunity for strength and comfort in the midst of a situation that often calls for unwavering attention and dedication.


   

Prayer from the Story "Close Enough to Touch"

God who reaches out
and touches,
help me to experience
your embrace today.
Come and touch
my loved one
who is dying.

May the touch
of your courage
give us what we need
during this time
of letting go.

May the touch
of your love
comfort us
and bring us
your peace.

          - Joyce Rupp

 

Thoughts from Joyce Hutchinson...
 

     This book is intended to provide caregivers and family members of the very ill a level of comfort with those who are dying and encouragement on their journey with them. I believe when we are dying is the only time in our lives when we are bare bones real people. It is the only time in our lives when there is no need for masks, no one to fool or compete with, no need for greed or jealousy, because we are dying.

     Being with the dying is one of the most intimate experiences on this earth. It is very much like being in the delivery room as a baby is being born, and we all know what a miracle that is. Well, being at the other end of a person's life as he or she is preparing to be born into eternal life is as great a miracle. I often have felt that this dear, dying person that I am with is in the palm of my two hands, and I am, through my caregiving, just handing him or her back to God. I refer to caregivers of the dying as being midwives of the dying. It is the most spiritual of experiences. The love and the presence of God at the bedside as a person is taking those last few breaths is life-giving to me.

     ...I hope these stories will alleviate the fears of those of you who are at the bedside of the dying. I hope they will help you to know that you can hardly go wrong if you just listen as intently as you can, be as present as possible, and above all remember that your own agenda needs to be left outside of the patient's room. This is the dying one's journey and each one does it a little differently. We need only to walk beside them with our love and support in order to be good companions for them as they journey Home.


The Stories


Giving Permission to Die

What's His Name

Why Did God Give You Cancer

A Family Journey

Dignity and Control

A Long-Kept Secret

The Gift of Humor

Close Enough to Touch

Always a Bit of Hope

Will I Be Significant?

My Last Christmas

The Gate Won't Open

How Do I Do It?

I'm So Ready to Go

A Friend Dies

Everything Must Be Done

A Bit of Heaven on Earth

The Brass Band Will Play

Until Death Do Us Part

Suspicion, Then Trust

Afraid to Die

Going Toward the Light

Intimate Love-Intimate Death

The End of the Road

The Power of Prayer

    I believe when we are dying is the only time in our lives when we are bare bones real people. It is the only time in our lives when there is no need for masks, no one to fool or compete with, no need for greed or jealousy...

             Joyce H

   ...I often have felt that this dear, dying person that I am with is in the palm of my two hands, and I am, through my caregiving, just handing him or her back to God.
      
          Joyce H

Taken from May I Walk You Home, stories by Joyce Hutchison, prayers by Joyce Rupp. Copyright 1999. Used by permission of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved.


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Walk Relaxed | Articles | Poems | Interview | Reviews | Audio | Schedule | Response | About This Site