Autumn’s Grace

Families, who would want to honour a parent’s request to not die in hospital, encounter obstacles that can defeat even accomplished health professionals.

Autumns’ Grace spans a ten-month period as the Campbell family comes to terms with the father’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The adult children (two nurses, veterinarian, and teacher) confront a health care system they thought they knew, and familial relationships that they had avoided for decades. Generational pulls and career conflicts challenge the siblings as they support their parents, conduct their own family and professional lives, and are forced to face critical situations and decisions together.

Max, the father and a veterinarian, struggles with his diagnosis which he deems is unfair to a man who has consciously lived a healthy life-style. As he encounters the hospital and community health care systems he notes that he has treated his animal patients, and their owners, with more respect and compassion than several health professionals seem willing or able to provide. Marj, his wife of almost fifty years, reacts differently. She is terrified of a future on her own. Her anxiety manifests as a steely anger with her children and determined resistance to Max’s wishes to die at home.

Autumn’s Grace documents a family’s love as its members make their way through the experience of a cancer diagnosis, treatment,  palliative care, and death. They muddle through with varying doses of tenacity, courage, humour and hope…always hope.

An important criticism of the health care system, Autumn’s Grace is a powerful commentary on the need for well-organized and well-funded palliative care in private homes and in residential hospices. Autumn’s Grace a gift to people who would like to be prepared as they help fulfill the final wishes of a family member or friend. It’s also an excellent case study for students enrolled in health sciences.

Autumn’s Grace is published by Inanna Publications and distributed by Brunswick Books.

 Video from Book Launch

2 thoughts on “Autumn’s Grace

  1. Hi Bonnie,

    We did a food tour together yesterday in Wellington. You mentioned your book after hearing I used to work as a librarian. I didn’t tell you I still work as a librarian on a voluntary basis at Mary Potter Hospice. I’m in charge of the staff library there and, as you can imagine, we have a lot of publications on palliative care etc. What a coincidence you wrote a book on the subjects I deal with at the hospice library.
    I see if I can obtain your book Autumn’s Grace because I think it will be a useful addition to our collection.
    It was lovely meeting you and the others yesterday, and apart from the scary bit in the beginning, I think we had a nice tour.
    Say hi to Ken and safe travels in New Zealand and book home.

    All the best
    Wilma (Zest Food Tours)

    • Thank you Wilma! We enjoyed your tour immensely. AG is widely available in North America via the www. Your best bet may be to go direct to the publisher if you have trouble getting it in NZ. My intention in writing AG was to identify the challenges we have in providing compassionate palliative care in Canada. It’s still a problem more than a decade after I put fingers to keyboard. In my opinion, AG is a powerful commentary on the need for well-organized and funded home-based and residential hospice based palliative care. Let me know how you enjoy the read!

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