Six Months to Live: Lessons from a Young Man with Cancer

Daniel William Hallock, Author, D. Hallock, Author
Daniel William Hallock, Author, D. Hallock, Author Plough Publishing House $10 (136p) ISBN 978-0-87486-903-3
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Matt Gauger, the subject of this slim, poignant book, suddenly found himself dying of cancer at age 22. Hallock gives readers an intimate account of events, beginning with the robust, athletic young man's descent into unmanageable pain, followed by a serious diagnosis and months of reckoning with end-of-life issues. The text features long quotations from interviews with and diaries of those closest to Gauger among them his wife, parents, brother and doctor and in doing so paints the emotional, spiritual and physical landscape within which this drama unfolded. Hallock admirably avoids hagiography, as do Gauger's loved ones, and instead reveals the ennobling effect dying had on Gauger. As Gauger's pastor says, ""Matt's death... brought him and all of us around him back to the essentials; to the things of eternity to the childlike spirit each of us needs in order to be part of the kingdom of God."" This book features life in the Pennsylvania Bruderhof, which is one of a handful of Anabaptist communes worldwide that preach and practice pacifism and simplicity. Hallock and his interviewees repeatedly emphasize the love with which this community enveloped the Gaugers, detailing the practical and spiritual ways they both supported and learned from Gauger's struggle. As such, the book becomes as much a testament to the Bruderhof way of life as it is the story of one person. (Mar.)
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