There are 35 million people presently serving as caregivers for someone who is chronically or terminally ill. It is a very challenging to handle all the day-by-day chores and routines which are involved in such an undertaking. Stan Goldberg has had plenty of experience as a hospice bedside and vigil volunteer and trainer who has served more than 400 patients and their loved ones. The title he has chosen for this book is taken from some advice coming out of the Tibetan tradition: "To get over the things you fear most — the sharp points of your life — bring them closer instead of pushing them away."
Caregiving can be a depleting process as it often means sacrificing many of our own needs for the benefit of others. Goldberg gives some wise counsel to those who look after others: talk about wonderful memories, don't feel guilty, resent the illness and not the loved one, don't blame anyone, you're doing the best you can, expect exhaustion, and don't be afraid to get help from others.
At one point, the author refers to the Tibetan word drahla which means a sense of order that one experiences. Goldberg then talks about how important it is that the room of a chronically or terminally ill person — which is often filled with medical supplies, pills, and potions — be filled with things that bring back fond memories or signal hope for the future, so he or she does not dwell on the illness or disability.
In a section on what your loved one needs fror you, Goldberg includes acceptance and respect; compassion, then understanding; and being willing to listen to a death wish. The closing chapters of the book deal with conversations, dementia, and when a loved one's death is close. Goldberg also provides resources and organizations that provide a variety of services for caregivers and those they look after.