Paperback, 259 pages
Published by Crossroad Publishing Co.
Publication date: March 1, 1994
Morrissey, a Roman Catholic priest, has written a highly personal account of his work with the terminally ill as a member of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York City. From bombed-out slums to swank highrises, he and other members of his hospice team visit dying people of all faiths and cultures in the intimacy of their homes and families. With memories of the death of his own mother as a backdrop, he frankly reveals his own personal difficulties and sometimes painful growth as a hospice worker.
The stories of thirteen diverse patients include Isha, an Ethiopian Christian who, Morrissey says, danced with her eyes when she was no longer able to move her body; Pedro, an AIDS patient whose spirit was healed by a ritual anointing with oil; Elmo, a wheelchair-bound teenager whose imagination stretched from comic book superheroes to heaven; and Candida, who dealt with her suffering through a strange dynamic of self-sacrifice andmanipulation.
Along the way we see realistic and positive approaches to the big issues of death and life, the value of the human person, and faith. He shows us that it is often the caregiver who receives the greatest gifts when working with a dying person.