Peaceful Passage by Kim West Ph.D. {book review}

I started out not really wanting to review this book.  In fact, I didn’t choose it for several weeks.  I thought back to a time when I watched 3 of my grandparents pass and didn’t want to relive that.  Then of course the realistic side of me wrestled the emotional side and won. 

I know there are some of you going through this right now.  Helping a family member come to the realization they are dying is no easy task.  I knew I needed to read this book.  

I am so happy I did.  This book could have been so helpful over the past 6 years.  I was in my late 20′s and still had all of my grandparents.  I can’t think of a single friend that could say that at the time.  I was so blessed to have them for so long. Pregnant with my first child, I watched my grandmother pass from cancer.  She went to be with the Lord about a month before I became a parent. 

I wish I had this book back then.  It would have drastically changed my attitude.  I was pregnant, emotional and frustrated that she didn’t want to do anything to sustain her life.  I wanted her here to at least meet her first great-grandchild.  Selfish, I know.  I was angry at her, angry at God and angry at myself for feeling this way. 

Kim West’s book Peaceful Passage walks you through losing someone close to you.  It’s not only a helpful tool, it’s also a journal of your loved one’s wishes.

Kim has thought of everything that needs to be done and how to do it.  Unfortunately she knows this because she has gone through it first hand. Her beautiful mother Helen was dying. 

She walks us through the journey, emotions, finances and planning.  She includes guidelines for partnering with Hospice which honestly even the word scared me at first.  We went through Hospice with all three of my grandparents over the past six years.  Hearing the word often makes you think instantly of death.  Yes, that is the end outcome but Kim explains that there are levels of Hospice care. 

I wish my mom and I had known this all those years ago.  Having this book back then would have been such a blessing.  We would have less regrets about that time than we do.  We were exhausted, overwhelmed, frantic, and scared.  All of these emotions and more are explored in this book. 

I understand that death can be a part of life that we rarely care to think about.  Until it happens to someone close to you, you may think you don’t need this book.  I must disagree with you on that point.  I am so happy I have this book for future reference.  I wish I had it sooner but better late than never.  It’s a small price to pay to have Kim West walk us through a rough time in our life.  It’s worth the investment now so we can enjoy those final days a little less chaotically. 

About the Author:

Kim West holds a PhD in Clinical Pastoral Counseling and a M.Div. in Counseling and Family, but when her own mother became ill with terminal cancer she found that she had no hands-on knowledge of how to take care of her.

As a counselor she knew to journal her own experience to help her process her grief at losing her mother and she knew how to help her mother finish her life well and be prepared for the life to come. But the day-to-day of taking care of her mother as she died would require learning a whole new set of caring skills. And learn she did.

After completing her own journey with her mother she knew she had to help others who would travel this same path. Peaceful Passage is a merging of her years of counseling experience and the new skills she learned caring for her mother combined with her heart to help and to heal.

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