A Sacred Walk: Dispelling the Fear of Death & Caring for the Dying by Donna M. Authers
Reviews

This book is a fresh breath of air for all those who will eventually need help as life comes to its inevitable end. In this book, Donna Authers brings to bear all of her experiences, her wisdom, and her sensitivity, to help readers through this most difficult and sacred of journeys. Her book transcends the physical suffering of dying, which is where so many books of the topic end. It deals head-on with the emotional pain, the intimacy and struggle of accompanying loved ones on their path, and it brings a beautiful spiritual clarity and an organized approach to the complicated and sacred work of dying. This book is a wonderful bedside companion for those who are approaching their end of life journey and for those who love them.

Dr. James Avery, Assistant Professor UVA School of Medicine
and Former CEO of Hospice of the Piedmont

I love this book and have given many copies to friends, and their comments are consistent: "This is a wonderful book!" A Sacred Walk is one of the most helpful, encouraging, peaceful, compassionate, and memorable books I have ever read. And if you have an interest in having Donna speak at an event, you will love her.

Bob Harris, President

Christian College, Athens, GA

A Sacred Walk is more than a great handbook for caregivers taking care of a loved one. It is a treasure! The insights about the many facets of care take the reader from diagnosis, through treatment, to the inevitable time when treatment is no longer an option. In the Chapter "Hospice is for the Living" the author clearly and accurately describes the many services that are designed to help a family maintain their quality of life, and Anna's tender story makes it all come alive - even through the final stages of death. Donna Authers transforms the fear and grief she has seen and experienced over the years into a treasure of hope that will greatly benefit those reading and using this timeless book.

Chuck Merkle

Chaplain, Hernando-Pasco Hospice

A Sacred Walk is a sensitive, heartfelt, honest, scripture-based, poignant resource that offers a unique approach to death and dying . . . Although this is more of a book for consumers, it also provides insights for healthcare providers who care for the dying. It taps into their own fears and anxieties about death and dying . . . This book touched my soul, as I connected to the writer’s honesty, compassion, great faith, and service to others . . . I did not want the book to end. (read full review)

Brigitte S. Cypress, EdD, RN, CCRN,
Professor of Nursing, Lehman College and Reviewer for Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing

We have been using Donna’s book and discussion guide in our Congregational Care Ministry for the past few months.  Everyone finds Donna's writing insightful and most helpful in working through life's issues with our large congregation and their own personal life.   I encourage all who are caregivers for someone, or just want to know how to be proactive in their own life to read and digest this beautiful story of love, compassion and God's guiding hand. A Sacred Walk is a great book!

Rev. Cindy Schneider

Minister of Congregational Care at Christ Church, Bethel, PA

A Sacred Walk takes a unique approach to dealing with death and dying. As might be expected, it is filled with helpful, practical ideas and insights for caregivers. But this book is different in that it also focuses on lessons the living can learn from the dying.

Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, PhD
Founder and Executive Director of Stephen Ministries, Inc., St. Louis, and author of many books including, Don't Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart, and Christian Caregiving: A Way of Life

As a former hospice chaplain and present hospice volunteer, I have found A Sacred Walk a wonderful help for families caring for loved ones who are dying. No one can relate to dying persons who has not faced their own mortality. Donna Authers openly discusses her fears of dying and how she overcame them. These personal vignettes and other stories help the reader find words of encouragement for dying persons. I found the Prayer of Abandonment a particular help. The author's Discussion Guide is a great help to leaders of death and dying groups. Those who minister to the dying have as our goal to help them die a peaceful death with no regrets. This book is a valuable guide to making this a reality.

Dr. Richard L. Morgan,

Author of At the Edge of Life and others , Upper Room Books

 

On so many levels A Sacred Walk is a valuable resource for Stephen Ministers.  I have not read any other book that offers more insightful, topic specific Bible verses to minister to the dying and their caregivers.  The frequent text boxes contain simple yet profound thoughts and insights to be used as positive reminders or meditations.  I know that others will benefit from the wisdom of this book as I did.

Jeannie H., Stephen Ministry Leader, Texas

A Sacred Walk is a must read for any Baby Boomer who is lucky enough to still have a living parent or aged relative to care for. Caregivers will learn how to face their fears and better care for loved ones during their final moments of life. Authers' book is a compilation of not only her own experiences but of suggestions from men and women who have passed various milestones on their "sacred walks."
(read full review)

Susan Frissell, Ph.D.
Frissell & Associates

As we all prepare for our sacred walk through the valley of the shadow of death this amazing resource and personal story will help many face the fear and process of dying.  Authers has captured the essence of something we don’t want to talk about. The heartfelt honesty, the experience drawn, and the helpful teaching will be a valuable fountain for all those facing the death of a loved one.  This book will not only help you heal the fear and issues that surround "the ultimate healing", but also help you experience good grief.  Read it and reap as you weep. This book will touch your soul. (read full review)

 Rev. Nigel Mumford, Director 
Christ the King Spiritual Life Center, Greenwich, New York
Author of The Forgotten Touch and Hand to Hand: From Combat to Healing

Five stars! In her book, A Sacred Walk, Donna Authers covers practical, spiritual, emotional and psychological preparation for death and dying – without becoming morbid or sad. Authers writes from a Christian perspective, but her book may be used by anyone who is facing the end of life or caring for a loved one . . . Without imposing a religious agenda on us, she shows how facing death with love and acceptance can bring peace and closure. This book demystifies the dying process and helps the reader face the concepts of death and grief without fear and hopefully without regrets.
(read full review)

Pam Stephan, Editor
About.com Guide to Breast Cancer

Reading A Sacred Walk was like having an intimate conversation with a close friend, one who cares enough to risk sharing lessons from her life in order to help others. It particularly spoke to my heart at this time because my brother and I have the responsibility of making certain my mother has the loving care she needs.  Anyone would find encouragement from this book, whether they are fully devoted Christ-followers or not.

Camilla L. Seabolt, CEO/Executive Director
Community Bible Study, Colorado Springs, Colorado

As a bookseller, I have found of late that there is a very limited selection of good books dealing with death and dying. A Sacred Walk is pure magic! The personal sharing of one's life experiences is truly remarkable in this book. The reader is drawn into the stories and the feeling of isolation gradually disappears. The use of Scripture is subtle but inspired. And lastly the important ideas are boxed and in bold print, worthy of a second or third read. The companion Discussion Guide will be a great help to various groups. I just loved this book; it is a major find for our store.

Maureen Raffa, Bookseller

A Sacred Walk will help customers through a difficult time in their lives where their faith will bring them peace. Drawing on the experience of the dying, Authers shows how best to meet their practical, emotional and spiritual needs.
(read full review)

Kathleen Samuelson
CBA Retailer’s Recommendation

When you’ve been a book reviewer as long as I have (don’t ask!) you see, from year to year, a lot of books that fall into familiar formulas; essentially repeating what many previous books have had to say. That’s why finding books with something new to say is the bonus for which I look and that’s why I am recommending A Sacred Walk by Donna M. Authers.
(read full review)

Alan Caruba, Editor
National Book Critics Circle

Please check out this book!  One of the most difficult issues each person must face is that of our own mortality.  Donna Authers offers compassionate and effective advice on facing fears associated with death and explains why doing so can enrich your life.

Tammy Jones, Publisher
Single Rose

I have been in hospice care for over a month, and I cannot begin to tell you how much your story has helped me deal with everything I am going through during this time, like wondering why God is keeping me alive this long. Your book has helped me stop asking the "why" questions and it has motivated me to focus on life. A Sacred Walk should be required reading for every nurse, aide, volunteer and family caregiver because it describes how the patient thinks and feels so beautifully. In fact, the book imparts wisdom to help deal with many different situations in life, not just death and dying. Your writing has encouraged me, given me comfort, and has been a blessing to my spirit, my heart, my soul, and my life. I am at peace. Thank you.

Rebecca Seiler, Hospice Patient

This is a remarkable book that will touch all of us. I was riveted in reading about this important subject. It is extremely well written, and because of the unique way it is presented, I found it to be a real page turner - a term rarely used to describe a book of this nature. The vivid vignettes read like a story; but A Sacred Walk is really a manual for dealing with life as well as death, filled with practical ideas on how to accompany someone on their end-of-life journey.

Rob Schilling, Radio Talk Show Host

Caregivers, seniors, and those with aging parents will find this to be a sensitive, scripture-based read with invaluable insight and personal experiences, as well as constructive counsel regarding the practical side of death. A Sacred Walk is far more about living than dying, offering encouragement to both caregiver and care receiver. This is an excellent book for small-group discussion or to leave at one's bedside, and most certainly to keep desk center for quick reference.
(read full review)

The Living Church Magazine

Practically and emotionally this beautifully written book addresses issues of facing death, preparing for death, and experiencing death through faith...whatever one's Religion…or no religion at all.  Real-life vignettes challenge the reader to consider their sacred walks with loved ones not only as a time of sadness, but also as a time of growth and healing for the patient, their family and loved ones who will remain, even the caregivers.  The book should be in every person's library to read then reread along life's journey.  It will inform you, enlighten you, and touch your heart. 

Lynn Parsons, M.D., Ohio

A friend gave me a copy of A Sacred Walk after my wife passed away recently. I read one chapter a day to digest the information, but the section entitled "The Last Days" was particularly helpful in my grieving process. I wish I had the book earlier in my care giving journey for my wife. The writing is exquisite, and I highly recommend this book as a source of applied wisdom on the many perspectives of death and dying - particularly beneficial for family caregivers and care receivers as well as anyone who works with patients and their families dealing with end-of-life issues.

Perry Sennewald

I avoided reading your book for a long time because it was not a subject I cared to dwell on. When I finally opened it, I couldn't put it down! The writing is superb and I found myself drawn into the stories that illustrate the lessons of life shared throughout the book. I especially appreciate the fact that you so honestly expressed your faith without making me feel I must believe what you believe. The best part was actually learning things I didn't know regarding how to care for myself and family or friends if faced with a life threatening illness. You have produced a book of great value.

Bob Bennett, New York City

A Sacred Walk is an invaluable resource for facing the fear of death, providing motivation for getting our affairs in order, and helping someone we love through the dying process. Each chapter is presented on a foundation of Scripture and solid Christian theology. And the many vignettes scattered through the book provide teaching and illustration in a most readable and enjoyable way. I highly recommend it as a useful and well-written resource.

The Rev. E. Kathleen Christopher,
Assistant Rector for Pastoral Care; Director, Healing & Prayer Ministries

 

A Sacred Walk is part guide book and part memoir . . . useful in training hospice or spiritual care volunteers. Most instructive: the firsthand account of complicated grief stemming from early childhood exposure to numerous deaths . . . a strong plea to attend to children’s fears surrounding a death . . . a glimpse into complex family dynamics . . . the concise seven fears of dying and practical suggestions for completing advance directives, which may persuade even the most resistant to get their affairs in order . . . The author narrates the moving "sacred walk" of her mother’s last days as the family and community pull together and freely share fears, hopes, and faith . . . and in doing so may light the way for others.

Astuti Bijlefeld, MDiv BCC,
Reviewer for Chaplaincy Today

Clearly a person of great faith and service to others, Ms. Authers offers her experiences with suffering and death in a practical, intimate and moving guide for caregivers everywhere. Throughout the book is a lovely mother/daughter thread which lets us watch as her mother's questioning of her own faith leads her to a place of great comfort and joy. The ultimate role reversal where the first caregiver becomes the care receiver occurs with grace and love and the obvious devotion between mother and daughter is a love story which we don't want to see end. This is a wonderful book for anyone who is or may become a caregiver, for anyone who has struggled with their own faith and for anyone who has loved another human being.

Mary Wyton, Counselor

For those of you who are dealing with the end of life of a loved one, I highly recommend a book I read recently: A Sacred Walk by Donna Authers.

Anna See, Publisher
An Inch of Gray

A Sacred Walk is a new book that teaches baby boomers how to be caregivers with grace and dignity and how to prepare themselves and their loved ones for the inevitable.

Aging Care.com
Answers from real experts

A Sacred Walk is, on the surface, about dying.  Almost immediately the reader discovers that it is really about living.  I found myself repeatedly engaged as I read. Very quickly Authers makes the point that life is about relationships.  Want to live? Keep your relationships open and loving with forgiveness at the ready.  Want to die with no regrets?  Leave no unfinished relational business.  The author is a Christian and the book is written from that perspective and there is no prejudice for one without faith or with another religious faith.  This is a human book with both the beautiful and the messy personal stories told.  Vulnerability and integrity shine through.  Faith in the loving presence of God is apparent throughout. The practical sections having to do with preparation, legal matters and resources e.g., hospice, are well done and the psychology is sound.   Don’t wait to read this book after you find out you have cancer or your friend has a heart attack.  It will help prepare you for facing that next difficult challenge.  The companion study guide goes well for group use.

The Rev. James Hubbard
Amherst, VA

A Sacred Walk is an amazing how-to guide on a subject most people ignore. It covers topics ranging from the role of the caretaker, finding a support system to tips on getting all the paperwork in order. Most importantly,I found, was the the advice on how to make the transition of dying a meaningful experience for the loved one passing on. It would be the greatest gift we could give to to our family or friends if we could learn how to "be" with them while they were dying. This book spells it out and makes such a daunting task possible. My mother is very anti-religous and did not want to read the book because of its christian theme. I felt it would be very helpful to her as her parents are very elderly and I knew she would need help with their passing. After resisting for awhile she read the book and agreed that it was very helpful and had tons of good information for everyone. She is going to pass it on to her sisters to read.

Christina Salidis, RN

Authers writes clearly, compellingly and with compassion.  She demystifies the practical and legal details of getting one's affairs in order and motivates readers to take action with interesting stories and anecdotes that bring the chapter on estate planning alive . . . Excellent!

Kimberlee A. Barrett-Johnson, CFP
Barrett-Johnson and Associates, Ameriprise Financial, Charlottesville, VA

Dear Donna, what a blessing, what a GIFT, your book is! Wow! It helped me soooo much in my own walk with grief regarding several close family members, and I LOVED the Prayer of Abandonment! The chapter on Forgiveness and Reconciliation REALLY helped me a lot, as I came to realize that I hadn't forgiven my dad, or myself, for issues we had. God and your book have helped me to do that, and for that I am so grateful. This book is a blessing to all of us as we come to terms with and travel through our "grief journeys." Thank you!

– P. H.

Dear Donna, as I read your book, your faith expressed strengthened mine and encouraged me to get through my own cancer treatment by reminding me that my surgery was just a necessary part of my get well story. I knew in that moment I was already healed! I shall never be able to thank you enough for helping me reconnect with my Savior and my faith in God. You have a remarkable gift, Donna, and I thank God for giving you the will to put it all down in this book.

– D. C.

Tears turned to laughter out loud as I read some of the stories of your family and special friends. I've finished the book, and am grateful that you so eloquently stated all I've believed a parent's death should be, a moment of peace for all, full of unconditional love and beauty. You have a tremendous gift which you've chosen to share with the world, and I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to read your passages. You created a beautiful work of art.

– T. C.

As a geriatric nurse for many years, I hesitated talking to patients or their families about dying. Since reading A Sacred Walk, I now know how to discuss the subject and understand how to care and console both my patients and their loved ones more effectively. And I have a greater appreciation for the "Living Libraries" in my life. I'm surrounded by many of them, and writer Donna Authers has been added to the list.

– C.S.

We are taught in life to give, but not how to accept the great gift of receiving. My view of hospice has changed dramatically. I commend you, Donna Authers, for following through with what God placed on your heart to share with others. Thank you for exposing us to your work and lessons learned. We will do well to capitalize on the wisdom and advice in this very informative and moving book.

– L. A.

A Sacred Walk was given to me as a gift, and I'm so grateful. I just finished it, and couldn't put it down. What an inspiring book, and I hope that I can retain what I read for the future and use what it says for our journey along life's road. It has motivated me and my husband to engage in some great conversation that has helped us to prepare for the inevitable and to care for a loved one who continues her journey to her final home in heaven. Thank you

– R. C. M.

This book makes you face the reality of death - for yourself and for those you care about. Through the many real-life examples, the writer provokes you into thinking how you would handle the situations we all know yet often prefer to suppress. It's full of practical ideas and useful insights for caregivers, and encourages everyone to make the most of life till the very end. As I read this book, I found I was drawn into the scenes as though I knew the people involved personally. The writer's honesty, experience and compassion shine through; overall, it's an uplifting message she sends.

– A Caregiver in Virginia

I read your beautiful book last evening. It is a blessing to all who will read it. I found it very easy to understand your thoughts and insights, and oh so helpful to those of us who have traveled this path, whether in the past or present. You are a gifted writer, easy to read, unless you are seeing the words through a veil of tears as I was. It is well with my soul. Thank you.

– E. B.

WOW! I read your book in two sittings and have been rewarded in so many ways. A Sacred Walk delivers so much sadness and love all at the same time that tears and smiles combine while dealing with the up and down emotions you have portrayed so delicately in this writing. What you have so openly given is a book of real-life stories that we can all relate to.

– R. H.

Thank you for sharing the intimacy of your sacred walks. Your book does actually help dispel the fear of death and it gives a beautiful account of day-to-day care for the dying. One thought that will linger with me is the one you shared with your mother: Maybe the weaker your body gets, the stronger your spirit becomes until one day it will simply break loose and you will be free.

– C. S.

If I had only had your book two years ago, I would have taken better care of my wife. The stories you shared also helped me reconnect with God. I didn't want it to end so I'm going to read it a second time and underline as I go!

– R. M.

Your book has helped this man dig deeper into my faith and understand why I believe what I do more than any other time in my life. A Sacred Walk is not about death. It is a beautiful, multifaceted book about life!

– S. H.

A Sacred Walk has helped to carry me through a very difficult time in my life, not a death but a loss, nevertheless. I found comfort, encouragement, and rediscovered my faith and values while reading your book. The Prayer of Abandonment is a prayer I will cling to for the rest of my life. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

– W. G.

 

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Copyright © 2008 Donna M. Authers