Walking Him Home by Joanne Tubbs Kelly

I accepted this nonfiction book about dying with dignity because I believe we all deserve to avoid a long, lingering death from an awful untreatable disease. The author is a very, very good writer. But I put off picking the book up for obvious reasons. I knew it would be terribly sad and difficult.

When Joanne Kelly’s husband, Alan, overcome by a rare, fatal neurodegenerative illness decides he has endured all the suffering he can handle and wants to end his life using Medical Aid in Dying, Joanne is torn between not wanting him to suffer and not wanting him to die. Can she help him achieve the tender death he envisions? And should she?

Joanne’s writing is so welcoming and down to earth. At times it’s witty and even fun. It was a lot easier to get into than I had imagined. She dives right into their story by beginning with Alan’s endgame. Then works her way back to the beginning of their life together. Alan and Joanne married in midlife. Each had been married twice before. These two knew what they wanted in a life partner from the get go. They were a perfect fit.

Joanne and Alan lived in Colorado where MAID ( Medical Aid In Dying) is legal. I wish it was legal everywhere. With many baby boomers approaching late middle age, I believe there will be even more interest in this process. We all are going to know someone who is dealing with a debilitating illness. A family member might suddenly be diagnosed. A friend. This book really opened my eyes.

This story will help walk you through the process of dealing with an untreatable disease. You will find many people with stories like Alan and Joanne’s. And might discover help in unexpected venues.

Life is a huge mystery. But it’s death that is the biggest mystery of all. Alan and Joanne approached Alan’s demise with total dignity and amazing eye- opening insight.

I received my copy for review from She Writes Press and Spark Point Studio in exchange for an honest review. It’s humbling and important. A wonderful memoir written with wit and compassion. A triumph.

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