A Chance to Say Goodbye

Reflections on Losing a Parent

Non-Fiction - Self Help
242 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2017
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Author Biography

I did not have a plan to write about my dad in the years of his decline-I was too busy dealing with the difficulties of his diminishing health. After his death, I was immersed in cleaning out his house, planning his celebration of life event and recovering my health and energy from grief and exhaustion.

After a bit of recovery time, I began researching end of life topics. My pattern of dealing with challenges is to dive into them. I voraciously read, take courses and workshops, seek counseling, increase my self-care, and deeply contemplate the lessons of the difficulty. I dislike suffering but I also realize that sometimes I heal more deeply and completely when I examine the pain instead of running from it.

As I learned from my research and contemplated all the events of my dad’s life and death, I began to realize that perhaps sharing my story would help others. I wish I had known more about dying before my dad’s final chapter in life. I was not well equipped for the decisions and the choices that would present themselves to me. Over many months of writing and re-writing my story with the help of a professional editor, I found there was a book waiting to come forth into the world to assist other people who faced the loss of a loved one. I titled it, A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite

The death of a parent is, for most of us, one of life’s major challenges. In a moving and beautifully written tribute to her late father, Lisa J Shultz’s A Chance to Say Goodbye drives home the importance of accepting the inevitability of death, and sensibly and lovingly preparing both for the loss of a loved one, and for our own eventual departure from this world. She reminds us that we need to come to terms with our own mortality. If we will leave children or other loved ones behind, we should, ideally, consider the issues our death will create for them. Discussing "good" and "bad" deaths, Lisa recognizes that our medical and care professionals focus too much on sustaining life, even when there is nothing left worth sustaining. Hopefully, stories like hers, and the wisdom of the professionals she quotes, will help us to soon come to an understanding that extending life beyond the point where it becomes unacceptably tiresome benefits nobody – least of all the society on which this practice imposes such enormous costs for end of life care. We would benefit both the dying and the bereaved by supporting a good and timely death, and by opening frank discussions with the dying that prepare both them and those they will leave behind.

I found myself completely absorbed for the first half of Lisa’s story. She effectively connected with me through her reflections on the grieving process and her sound advice on preparing for our own departure. I finished reading A Chance to Say Goodbye with much to contemplate. I closed the book feeling powerfully driven to mimic Lisa J Shultz’s resolve to prepare for a death that, rather than heavily burdening my loved ones, will allow them to peacefully accept, joyfully reflect, and quickly restore themselves and move on. An enjoyable and thought-provoking read, A Chance to Say Goodbye is much more than a memoir, and much more than Reflections on Losing a Parent. It's a wise and inspiring guide to living. I highly recommend it for anyone at risk of losing, or leaving, someone they love.