Finished Business
by Donald Gallehr
URLink Print & Media

"This middle ground is the new frontier where traditional and alternative medicine work together as partners, not competitors..."

This is a touching memoir of a husband who cared for his dying wife while she lived with brain cancer. It is honest and engrossing and can help with end-of-life questions and conversations. The last year of Diana's life involved medical treatments, blindness, and a state of being bedridden. Nonetheless, her experience inspired her husband and gave him a sense of the meaning of life.

For the author, writing the story of his wife's last year was a healthy way to grieve. The struggle is so relatable it can support anyone's grieving process. While he does admit a truth that is hard for him—that the two did not have the physical intimacy he may have wished—their last year reveals them to be a couple that shared genuine love and trust for one another. Perhaps the husband's curiosity (always wanting to know what his wife was thinking) provided some of the strength and helped them build a successful family.

While sickness and death may seem like heavy topics, this story is alive with beauty, humanity, and courage. It reveals the strength a caregiver needs to witness a loved one's death process. Diana is a beloved grandmother who is both stoic and vulnerable in her cancer fight. The narrator reflects on life and intertwines these reflections with the bewildering aspects of making difficult choices about issues such as the dying loved one's quality of life.

What did caregiving look like for this couple? They listened to NPR. They used a baby monitor. They coped with blindness in the best way they knew how. They confronted clinical issues with humility and curiosity. This story illustrates how to listen to a sick or dying loved one unconditionally. It also provides comfort and insight to anyone going through difficult life transitions.

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