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New books guide readers through emotional journey of losing a loved one

Hospice Prince Edward executive director Nancy Parks, left, and Books & Company's David Sweet with author Susanne Gallant and publisher Anne Wait.

Coping with grief is a daunting task when a loved one dies, but the range of emotions while caring for a dying parent is best explained by those who have faced it themselves.
As part of its wide variety of resources, Hospice Prince Edward resources now provide two new books with Prince Edward County connections.
The book “If Only – but for one more moment…” by Susanne Gallant, is designed to help prepare families and friends of terminally ill patients to understand the importance of hospice and end-of-life care.

“The book is a tale of the journey of my time with my parents who were terminally ill,” says Gallant. “It’s to get the word out to help prepare families of the emotional process and it’s also about hospice palliative care for families dealing with terminal illness.”
Gallant had “never really heard of hospice before,” but after experiencing its benefits first-hand during the care, then death of her father, she was inspired to write the book.
“It was phenomenal the care that we got and it was such a comfort. The verse at the front of the book, I wrote a few days after my father died over the Christmas period,” said Gallant. “That was always my cornerstone that I would go back to because it took me 13 years to do it.”
The writing process, she adds, was bittersweet and emotionally draining but once finished, “It was such an incredible feeling  – a peace, a comfort, that the emotional part would help others. I just want to get the word out and comfort others.”

Another book Hospice Prince Edward shares was not written by West Lake’s Anne Wait, but she published it through her own company.
“I’d also lost someone close to me in my life and this book had been given to me by an aunt and it just moved me to no end.”
“Signs of Life – A Memoir of Dying and Discovery” was written by journalist Tim Brookes and first published in the United States a decade ago.
“He talks about losing his mom and it’s about going through the hospice experience. I had already done the training course here at Hospice Prince Edward and I’m a huge believer in Hospice care” so she worked with Brookes to gain Canadian rights for the book.
“l loved the book. Nobody likes talking about this kind of thing, but when it happens to you, you want to talk about it and I think with our aging population everybody should be talking about it more,” Wait said.
“These types of books are sharing a story which when when you’re going through a hard time, it’s very comforting it helps to read that other people have gone through the same thing.”

Wait is a good friend and supporter of Hospice Prince Edward. She took the training program in 2008 and continues to volunteer. This year she is chairman for the Hike for Hospice, a national event that will premiere in Prince Edward County on May 6 at the community centre.

“We are so fortunate to have these two people in our community who are so willing to give back through these books,” said Nancy Parks, Hospice Prince Edward Executive Director. “They will be great  resources for our community.”
The books are also available at Books & Company and at West Lake Publishing.

Meanwhile, everybody’s invited to show support for Hospice Prince Edward’s Trivia Challenge SIGN UP NOW! – Create a team of four players and take the challenge of competiting against 24 other teams in an afternoon of Trivia Challenge for Hospice Prince Edward. The event is set for Sunday, March 4 at 1 p.m. in the Picton United Church Hall. Team cost is $100. 10 rounds, prizes, refreshments. Call Phyllis Mabee 613-476-7203. (Do NOT call between 12:30 – 3p.m.)

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