Life in a Hospice by Ann Richardson

Hey you – yes you! I see you rushing off. You see the word ‘hospice’ and you think death, gloomy, morbid – not for me. You search for a good crime novel instead. No death there, of course.

But Life in a Hospice is anything but gloomy. It is a book of stories, told from the heart. And from all sorts of viewpoints. Perhaps the most important word is “life”.

You want a story with a bit of love? There’s more love in a hospice than anywhere in the world. You have an urge to be moved? Yes, of course, when talking about the end of life, that goes without question.

You want to see the complexity of human relationships? For sure, that is there in abundance. Some humour? You won’t be disappointed. You may be surprised.

Life in a hospice shows what it is like to work in a hospice and, by extension, what it is like to be a hospice patient or visiting relative. It is told in their own words by nurses, assistants, chaplains, doctors, managers and even a very thoughtful hospice cook.

They tell of the withdrawn woman who blossomed under the care of the day centre. There is the man who asked to die under a tree – and they arranged it. There are the two young daughters who asked for their father to be buried with some cigarettes and a can of lager. Throughout, there is the enormous sense of ‘privilege’ to be working in a hospice.

Yes, it is about death and dying, but as you’ve never seen it before. Hospices are teeming with life – with love, laughter, arguments and tears. To quote a cliché, “all life is there”.

And if, perchance, you are wondering where you should go when your last days or near – or, indeed, are helping a relative or friend to find such a place – you will be enormously reassured.

Reviews? You can bet they were excellent.

Now maybe that was worth staying for.


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