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Reader Commentary about Dying into Grace

"I have never read a book that was so poignant, deep, nuanced, and able to hold so many dimensions: the historical and the present, the individual and the system, the practical and the spiritual, the tough and the tender, the ordinary and the extraordinary. The story is deceptively simple yet so powerful—it took my breath away . . . Dying into Grace invites us into a profound journey that gives us a relational model for dying well." 
Lynn Roberson, psychotherapist and Reiki master

"Artemis March is inviting us into a new paradigm—death as a dance with our dying parent in which we must follow, yet anticipate how she will lead. We must listen with our whole body, beyond and through the words, and be willing to move with whatever is happening . . . She shows us how to notice and capture and string on a necklace many tiny treasures that may otherwise seem small and mundane and not part of the sacred, but it is all those little contributions from many people that allows dying to become a dance, and freed Olwen to open spiritually. I would love for this book to be read by my family and loved ones with the hope that someday, when my time comes, they might 'dance' with me."
Lindsa Vallee, psychotherapist

"Artemis March has a special gift. She is able to tell a very personal and intimate story in a way that is like being engaged in a conversation with a sage. She is a source of incredible understanding for a phase of life we all experience. Dr. March invites us to a table where we can have a real conversation about death and dying. She gives us the words and a framework to navigate a territory from which we have been isolated and about which we have been silenced, yet yearn to speak. This book is simply extraordinary. If healthcare professionals understood and applied her insights and wisdom, it would be a huge step towards achieving a healthcare system that is truly patient-centered."
Anne-Marie Audet, MD, MSc; Vice-President, Delivery System Reform & Breakthrough Opportunities, Commonwealth Fund

"Through the immediacy of a riveting story and models she draws from it, Artemis March has cap­tured the complex essence of family caregiving. A wealth of clinical and psychological insight arises seamlessly from a story that reads like a novel, yet challenges professionals and families to bring themselves fully to the moment, and with greater awareness of how they contribute to situations they see as independent of themselves. Profound yet practical, this book is essential for anyone involved with end-of-life care."
Sandra Bertman, PhD; Distinguished Professor, National Center for Death Education, Mount Ida College; Grief and the Healing Arts; Facing Death; pioneer in death education for healthcare professionals

"I am deeply moved by Artemis' book. Her lens allowed her to capture not only her mother's experience and her own, but also that of others. As a healthcare executive in cancer, I was surrounded by hope, tragedy, turmoil, privilege, frustration, and hopelessness. In Dying into Grace, I met and relived not only my professional experience, but also my private realities—the death of my mother and my aunt in particular. I was most struck by how fully Artemis listens, gives voice to profound and subtle end-of-life realities and moments that are missed by most professionals and families, and moves to action."
James B. Conway, MS, FACHE; former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; former Senior Vice-President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

"By embracing death rather than denying it, mother and daughter are able to have the kind of profound conversations and connections that so many adult children miss out on, and later regret that they did. My passion for this book is the result of personal experience with my own parents as well as my interactions with countless families I encounter in my business. Dying into Grace draws us in by its openness and honesty, and the fact that it does not gloss over the complexity and range of needs and emotions that arise as a parent moves toward death. The story models a much needed collaborative partnership between adult child, hospice, and private caregivers where everyone's contributions are recognized and valued. I know this book will empower families and my staff to have those very difficult conversations that need to happen about death and dying."
Andrea Cohen, MSW; CEO, HouseWorks (home care company), Boston and Washington, DC; Board of Directors, MA Home Care Alliance and National Family Caregivers' Association; Leadership Council, Kenneth B. Schwartz Center; delegate, 2005 White House Conference on Aging

"An extraordinarily valuable book. I wish I had had it. I wish [my mother's caregiver] had had it. I wish the nurses at the hospital had had it."    
Gail Bryan, artist and writer

"Dying into Grace is extremely rich. It shows how the intimacy of the dying process holds the potential to heal the wounds of a lifetime, and how we adult children can create the kind of holding environ­ment in which those possibilities may come to fruition. Like a gifted psychologist who listens for underlying coherence and meaning, Artemis "listens through" unconventional speech, apparent randomness, and surface confusion to hear, meet, and fully engage with her mother's struggle for meaning and her graced reclaiming of her truest self. She provided a compassionate guide for my journey through this awesome, unknown territory with my own mother. What a gift Artemis has given us!"
Sharon Bauer, psychotherapist

“Anyone who is or may become the primary caregiver for a loved one who is terminally ill will find this elegant story and the wisdom drawn from it extremely helpful.  While a scientific clinical trial of such experiences may lead to evidence-based guidance about what to do, one individual lifetime thoughtfully and thoroughly considered may prove even more valuable about how to be in this situation. Artemis' dance with her mother offers us companionship in those sleepless and uncertain hours and prepares us to be receptive and responsive to the unexpected. It emboldens us to find our way through the realm of intuition, hope, and love. We may discover there more than we had ever dreamed possible, and experience the triumph of living and continuity over death."
Jack Evjy, MD; Former President and Board Member, Massachusetts Medical Society

"Artemis March has an embodied gift that our death-denying world desperately needs. An evening listening to her talk left me feeling inspired and affirmed, and as if I had been on a weekend retreat. Research situates her telling of her story, but her story is so much more authentic and compelling than some researcher's sharing their measurable results . . . because it is coming from her heart and the deepest part of her soul. She connected directly with the motivating force propelling my work: that through loving, empathic, mostly nonverbal presence, I will be able to help my patients come to a point of graced acceptance so that they, too, can experience the radiance that Artemis and her mother shared."
Fay Chelmow, RN; Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Newton, MA

"This book is riveting. I could not put it down. Never sweet or sentimental, it renders with such care and compassion the author's dying mother. Artemis March has managed to recede her own brilliance so as not to outshine the fading light of her mother. Hardly anyone pays close attention to such a small light, but the reader gradually discovers the essence of an elegant and earnest soul trying to master the terrifying and bewildering process of dying. Olwen carries into her dying her great sense of responsibility, of following through, of doing things the right way so that she can leave her body with the dignity that befits her inner being."
Linda J. Clarke, EdD, author, On a Planet Sailing West

"Writing next to the bone, March draws us way into her journey with her mother. We don't know what is going to happen next, but she brings us along so we are ready for the unexpected and the extraordinary. Olwen is very real, and we get to know her. We experience her dying as a dance—an unfolding tapestry of dances informed by long exchanges of powerful intimacy. Fear, uncertainty, and struggle ultimately dissolve in the flow of presence, discovery, and knowing. The primordial mother-daughter world recovered and understood at last."
Kate Millett, PhD, writer and artist; author, Sexual Politics; Mother Millett, and other books

"Facing the death of a loved one while at the same time struggling to heal old wounds and create deeper connections is no easy task, but the remarkable insights and reflections in this book offer invaluable guidance to all of us. Artemis March transports us to the heart of the mother-daughter relationship while showing us what is possible at its far edge and how to midwife that potential. Her beautiful and instructive dance with her mother also challenges us to transform the systems that relegate so many women to a lonely, unheld, unwitnessed death."
—Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves; co-author, Our Bodies, Ourselves

"Artemis March asks and answers an essential question: how can we enhance the possibilities for mutual growth and healing as a parent moves clsoer to death? Dying into Grace shows us that the mother-daughter relationship can be transformed even at the very end of life, affirming the possibility for transformational movement throughout the lifespan. This book will help to empower caregivers in a culture that too often denies and avoids the process of dying, and be useful to therapists working with clients who are engaged in this process."
Judith V. Jordan, PhD; Director, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Wellesley College; editor, Women's Growth in Connection, The Complexity of Connection

"I couldn't put this book down. It is so primal and personal. If I had had it before my mother died, it would have helped me. It captures everything I went through and couldn't articulate because it was below the surface. What a great gift to our generation!"
Eurydice Hirsey, chiropractor and cranial-sacral therapist

"This beautifully written narrative is a true tour de force that leaves me in awe . . . All adult children who read this compelling book will draw inspiration that they, too, can do right by their parents, no matter how complicated the relationship. Healthcare and hospice professionals—many drained by "compassion fatigue"—will find that Artemis March has provided a primer for remembering what is most essential and most enduring in end-of-life care."
Helen Meldrum, EdD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Bentley College; author, Provider-Patient Relationships; Characteristics of Compassion: Portraits of Exemplary Physicians

"Artemis March knows what she is talking about. After all, she is named for the Greek Goddess of light and protector of the vulnerable. We have all needed a book that casts light—a new light—onto the subject of end-of-life care; now we have it. I think the author's namesake would be proud."
Bill Thomas, MD; Professor, Erickson School, UMBC; author, What are Old People For? creator of Eden Alternative and Green Houses as part of changing aging in America



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