cover image Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring

Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring

Henri J. M. Nouwen. HarperOne, $17 (118pp) ISBN 978-0-06-066313-1

Nouwen, well-loved author of such books as The Wounded Healer , offers us here a gentle, almost meditative book on coming to terms with death. Reflecting on his own not-so-distant future death, as well as on the deaths of loved ones and friends, he shares his view of death as a gift, an opportunity to impart hope to those around us, whether through our own dying or in our caretaking of someone else. In embracing death, says Nouwen, one comes to ask: ``How can I so live that I can continue to be fruitful when I am no longer here among my family and friends?'' One can, in other words, make choices that effect not just one's self but also the generations to come--choices to care well, to die well and to embrace Grace. If there is a limitation to this book it lies in its failure to deal explicitly as well as implicitly with sudden and/or violent death. This is a very comforting book that will appeal to the general reader as well as the religious or to health professionals. (Mar.)