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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Reflections of a Hospice Chaplain: Life Lessons from the Death Journeys of Young and Old is a deeply thought-provoking and emotion-stirring collection of stories by author and speaker Tom McQueen, M.Div. Most of the stories are about older hospice patients or their family members to whom he ministered, and whose lives and deaths offered him lessons in a wide variety of areas. However, McQueen begins and ends with stories which he notes as “two significant events (that) have deeply influenced my life as a chaplain and, most importantly, as a human being.” One is the story of a teen cancer patient. The other is a much longer and very touching story of great kindness shown by a young boy to an elderly woman. The stories are punctuated with short quotes or poetry from other sources including The Beatles, Leo Tolstoy, Helen Keller, and Maya Angelou, which add interest. As a family counselor, McQueen also adds a few suggestions to improve marriage and family relationships.
This is a very inspirational book and I greatly enjoyed reading it. Although Reflections of a Hospice Chaplain is written from a Christian perspective, the content touches on common issues of life, no matter one’s faith, and could appeal to a wide audience. The stories are short, easy to read, and relevant. For the most part, these are ordinary people wrestling with typical situations in life and not always triumphing over them. Warning: there's a tearjerker or two within. For people of faith, McQueen certainly offers comfort: “Don’t worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pains. He sees. He hears. And He will deliver.” Highly recommended.