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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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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.