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Publisher's Summary

Unencumbered by religious agendas and pat answers, Encountering the Edge satisfies our curiosity concerning what people believe in, shrug their shoulders at, laugh at, and most care about as they face Act 3, Scene 3, of their lives. Join Chaplain Kaplan as she visits her hospice patients, and share her sense of adventure and openness to the experience. The author also reveals the inner workings of a hospice agency from a chaplain's viewpoint both on the road and in the office.
Readers will encounter odd, poignant, revealing, and even amusing characters, such as a countercultural type who always greeted Kaplan with "Hey, doll!" and a World War Two veteran who beat the odds and left hospice to live well for over a year. Kaplan also illuminates what patients think will happen in the hereafter, as well as her own path and deeper motivations for entering this career. In the last chapter, Kaplan explores what it would be like to be a hospice patient herself, talking with a seasoned chaplain who gently lets her express her beliefs, regrets, sources of meaning, and hopes.
Encountering the Edge is a unique view of a topic that affects us all, and provides comfort combined with humor and insight that allows readers to feel safe in this unknown territory. Come explore the edge with Karen.
Dr. Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of, and a baby boomer expert who regularly appears on Oprah, says of the book, "Kaplan brings a refreshing balance of rare insight and wry humor to what people near the end shared with her during her seven years at hospices."
©2014 Karen Bookman Kaplan (P)2015 Karen Bookman Kaplan
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By KellyM on 09-07-15

A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

I read Encountering the Edge when it came out last year and I eagerly anticipated the audiobook. It’s my first purchase from Audible. First, the reader’s voice is lovely. She captures the tone and emotions of the author beautifully.

Encountering the Edge is the memoir of seven years in the work of Karen Kaplan as a hospice chaplain. While the book would be an invaluable resource for someone considering the profession, I enjoyed it most for the stories. Kaplan relates deeply personal and unflinchingly honest episodes in “Act 3 Scene 3” of the lives of some of her patients.

There’s Saul, who regretted for 72 years, never having had a bar mitzvah. Kaplan remedies that situation, which brings a celebration and joy to Saul and his family. And there’s the poignant story of Nancy, a dementia patient who “thought of her nursing home as a high school, the brightly lit nursing station the principal’s office, the dining hall the cafeteria, and that [Kaplan] and the other staff were the teachers. The other residents, of course, were her classmates.”

Most aspirational to me is the story of 83-year-old Kathy, who who Kaplan counseled for a year after she lost her husband of only six years. “When we were in the car, I was glad when we stopped at a red light, because that gave us an opportunity for another kiss.” And, “Every time we ate breakfast, it was like going out on a date.” I’m pleased to learn that this kind of love exists, and Kaplan experiences Kathy’s story as a “reminder to cherish loved ones while we can.”

Also aspirational is Kaplan’s deep compassion, which you can hear in every chapter. Often singing to or joking with patients or their families, (she’s a delightful wit), she’s always respectful, considerate, and striving to serve her patients. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Karen on 07-16-15

A Rabbi on the road...enjoyed the journey

What did you love best about Encountering the Edge: What People Told me Before They Died?

I loved the narrator's smooth, relaxed voice. she easily took me along for the ride, her own as well as that of those she visited and comforted. Enjoyed hearing how she sang to the patients and lifted their spirits.

What other book might you compare Encountering the Edge: What People Told me Before They Died to and why?

Falling into Grace by Adyashanti

Have you listened to any of Cindy Pereira’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to Cindy Pereira's other works and have always enjoyed her story telling abilities. She is highly skilled in what she does. This story was quite easy to get right into. She captured my attention immediately.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could have easily listened to this in one sitting, however it was late in the evening, so I listened to approximately one third of it.

Any additional comments?

If you are encountering an end of life / hospice care situation, definitely get this audio book. I think this book is helpful and insightful and will be beneficial to family members who are struggling with an approaching death of a loved one.

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