It takes courage to love the things of this world when all of them, without fail, are fleeting, fading, no more than a spark against the darkness of deep time. Yet when everything you have been and done and meant to the world is being prised from your grasp, human connections are the vital medicine. It is other people who make the difference.
Rachel Clarke grew up spellbound by her father’s stories of practising medicine. Then, as a doctor herself, one who specialised in palliative medicine, she found herself contemplating all her training had taught her in the face of her own beloved father’s mortality.
Dear Life is the inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking and yet deeply uplifting story of the doctor we would all want to have by our side in a crisis. The hospice where Rachel works is, of course, a world haunted by loss and grief, but it is also teeming with life.
If there is a difference between people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it is simply this: that the terminally ill know their time is running out, while we live as though we have all the time in the world. In a hospice, therefore, there is more of what matters in life – more love, more strength, more kindness, more smiles, more dignity, more joy, more tenderness, more grace, more compassion – than you could ever imagine.
Dear Life is a love letter – to a father, a profession, to life itself.
Dying is rarely easy, nor is writing about it - but Rachel Clarke does so perfectly, with neither sentimentality nor sensationalism, and instead with realism and kindness.This is a truly wonderful book. Read it
Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm