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Official Review: Honest Endings by Katherine Cullen by Diana Lowery  14 Nov 2020, 14:05 [Following is an official review of "Honest Endings" by Katherine Cullen.] **** 4 out of 4 stars  

Katherine Cullen's short book gives an honest look at the ways people deal with death. After reading this book, I believe the author has covered all aspects of both the coming and going at the end of life. Cullen states that she learns best from hearing others speak of their experiences, and she wanted to write about her career as a hospice social worker with the goal of helping others deal with death. There are five chapters and only 49 pages, but her message is strong.
My favorite part of the book is the clever way that Cullen's chapter titles have double meanings. "Living with Death" is the first chapter. Although it does have examples of how families deal with the knowledge that one of their members is dying, the chapter is also about how the author had to learn how to cope with exposure to death on a daily basis.


"As the title suggests, Katherine gives a very honest description both of the external experience of working in a hospice agency and her internal journey during that time. She obviously has a wonderful gift for the work. She was able to empathize and be a compassionate presence with the clients and their families during this most important but difficult time in their lives. She not only offers them practical support but also the space and guidance they needed to talk about and be with their experience. She was able to treat each situation with the uniqueness and respect it deserved. This book is a call to all helping professionals to be aware of our own feelings that are evoked when we work. It highlights the importance of processing these feelings in appropriate ways, through good supervision and personal therapy."
----Carmel M., Counselor

***** The agency she worked for was pretty terrible in providing training and support for new employees, and did not exemplify interprofessional teamwork at all. The students were shocked at how little support she got and the ensuing compassion fatigue and burnout. I think it is good for them to see how a chaotic and unsupportive agency can make a good social worker feel terrible. I appreciated her unflinching honesty. I do think maybe it scared a few students off from hospice, but I reassured them that many great agencies do exist, but they need to do their own due diligence to make sure they will be
supported and trained.
 "Great Book!  I really enjoyed reading it and I finished it wanting more! More stories, more details about the stories and about Katherine's self-reflections. This was an enlightening peek into the world of hospice social work. I feel like this book may be the impetus for change in this field." ---Audrey Tool, M.D. 

Amazon Reviews 

Honest Endings: A Social Worker's Life in the World of Hospice Megan Hill How do you want to pass away? May 13, 2021 Format : Paperback This book is beautifully written and emotional without being dramatic. It made me stop to think about my own life, the choices I want to make and how I imagine I would handle scenes in this novel if I were the one living that experience. I truly believe everyone should read this book and not be afraid to
discuss the end of our lives.
It takes courage to face your fears ...
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2020 Verified Purchase

"Kathy takes you with her on her emotional rollercoaster that is her life as a hospice social worker. In a world where the topic of death is still tabu and rarely discussed among family members, Kathy is right in the thick of the it all. I laughed, I cried, and I hung on every written word. Having gone through the loss of both my parents, I found consolation that I had done the right thing while they were going through their own Honest Endings. As a former healthcare worker, I too have grieved the loss of my patients without a vehicle to process my own feelings of loss and sadness. I think this would be a great read for anyone who is going to reach their end of life or knows someone who is going through the dying process, directly or indirectly. In short, there is a
take away for everyone. Great book! 

                     ---Carla Rae

*****Chanda Cotton 5.0 out of 5 stars
No one wants to hear about the process of death...but we should.

Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2021
I gave Honest Endings, by Katherine Cullen, 5 out of 5 stars.
This is an arduous time
where so many individuals - family members and service workers can come together where the inevitability of death doesn’t have to be isolated or isolating. Katherine Cullen shares her personal journey through social work to hospice care and her compassionate and empathetic relationships with the individuals and families she worked with. This is a practical book to focus on the reality of everyone on this Earth. Whether we like it or not - death is imminent. This book is not medically detailed where only professionals can utilize the information given. Families who have gone through this process can relate and understand it from a different point of view. A family who has not gone through this, can learn about the process of hospice care. And anyone reading Honest Endings can learn about the end of life process

" I am so glad I read Honest Endings. I already knew that it is important to have support for both the patient and the family when a person is dying, but I did not understand how extensive that support can be. The examples in the book helped me envision what I want for my own family when our times come. I appreciated Katherine’s caring heart and hard work as she did her job. Katherine gives an honest account of her own experience and as readers we feel the power of that.

----Ann A. Scarboro, Ph.D

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