Radical Acts of Love: Twenty Conversations to Inspire Hope at the End of Life

Category: Book
By (author): Brown, Janie
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body
  SELF-HELP / Death, Grief, Bereavement
  SOCIAL SCIENCE / Death & Dying
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Published: March 2021
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 8.00in x 5.18in
Our Price:
$ 22.00
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*"With Radical Acts of Love, Janie Brown demonstrates the power of a book to transform, in fact to turn things upside down. She turns death into life, despair into hope, sorrow into joy, and pain into love with these twenty astonishing encounters with the dying. We all know somewhere in the back of our minds that a deeper understanding and acceptance of death is supposed to release us into an even fiercer embrace of life-this wonderful book made me, for the first time, truly feel and believe it." -Stephen Fry

In this profound and moving book, oncology nurse Janie Brown recounts twenty conversations she has had with the dying, including people close to her. Each conversation uncovers a different perspective on, and experience of death, while at the same time exploring its universalities. Offering extremely sensitive and wise insight into our final moments, Brown shows practical ways to facilitate the shift from feeling helpless about death to feeling hopeful; from fear to acceptance; from feeling disconnected and alone, to becoming part of the wider, collective story of our mortality.

As Janie Brown writes, "Most people now under sixty have never seen a person die, and so have become deeply fearful about death, their own and the deaths of their beloved others. They have had no role models to show them how to care for a dying person, and therefore no confidence in being able to do so. My hope is that the baby boomer cohort who pushed for the return of the midwives to de-medicalize birth will also be instrumental in reclaiming the death process. This book is my contribution to the re-empowerment of all of us to take charge of our lives and our deaths, remembering that we know how to die, just as we knew how to come into this world. We also know how to heal, and to settle our lives as best we can, before we die. In my view, this is the greatest gift we could give our loved ones: to be prepared and open and accepting when the time comes for us to leave this world."
Review Quote*"With Radical Acts of Love, Janie Brown demonstrates the power of a book to transform, in fact to turn things upside down. She turns death into life, despair into hope, sorrow into joy, and pain into love with these twenty astonishing encounters with the dying. We all know somewhere in the back of our minds that a deeper understanding and acceptance of death is supposed to release us into an even fiercer embrace of life-this wonderful book made me, for the first time, truly feel and believe it. Unforgettably wise, kind and wonderful." -Stephen Fry

"Janie Brown's extraordinary empathy and intuition coupled with her decades of clinical experience set her book apart from others on the subject of how to help the dying and their loved ones. She is the guide we all hope will be there at the end. Radical Acts of Love does holy work." -Barbara Gowdy, author of The White Bone and Little Sister 

"The most surprising and beautiful travel guide to a journey we will all have to make. Janie Brown has accompanied many great souls through their final days on earth, and what she has learned she offers us now in this exquisite book about life." -Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee and Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

"This is a glorious book that I would not hesitate to give to anyone facing an unwelcome diagnosis or prognosis of their own or of a loved one. It is kind and practical. I learned so much and feel glad that it exists and convinced that many people will be helped by Brown's generous sharing of more than 30 years' experience of working with the dying." -The Times (UK)

"Brown is a deeply compassionate and sensitive interlocutor and these accounts brim with humanity. . . . Insightful, wise and life-affirming, Brown's book teaches us that sharing someone's final weeks is perhaps the most radical act of love we can offer." -The Observer

"Elegant and powerful. . . . The book reframes what it means to heal." -The Guardian

"In the hands of a less talented writer, Radical Acts of Love would read like case studies instead of the beautiful and necessary stories they are. This book is a must-read. We have rituals for afterwards: funerals and celebrations of life, but little to help guide those facing death. Janie Brown's insights, distilled from decades of looking after cancer patients, are both sensitive and practical as well as profoundly compassionate. Tending to the heart and spirit of the terminally ill is as important as making the right medical decisions-decisions that become easier once patients have made peace with themselves and loved ones." -Janie Chang, author of Dragon Springs Road.

"An extraordinary book, tender, true and wise." -Roshi Joan Halifax, author of Being with Dying

"For a book that concerns itself with so many ways of coming to terms with death, this remarkable book is hugely life-affirming. It makes you think not just of how you might want to approach death, but of how you might want to live. These conversations from the heart of dying are bold, gracious, often witty and full of love. They accompany you in the dark. Then they let the light in." -Jackie Kay, National Poet Laureate of Scotland

"Janie Brown opens the door to gaze upon the end of life with lyrical honesty and a big heart. This is a tender, wise, tough, inspiring book, a gift of compassion and understanding." -Dr. Jack Kornfield author of A Path With Heart

"Remarkable. . . . Everyone ought to read this book, because we are all going to die, and this book will help us to do it with grace and courage. More than that: it will help us help our loved ones to die without fear or regret. What greater gift than that can a book bestow on the reader?" -Richard Holloway, author of Waiting for the Last Bus
  
"Janie Brown is a true healer. She is the founder and director of Callanish in Vancouver, BC. She has led over 100 week-long retreats for people with cancer for more than 20 years. Janie's work is of surpassing beauty and power, and among those who know this work, Janie is regarded as a master teacher. Radical Acts of Love reflects Janie's ability to help people near death to heal. These teaching stories have the raw power of truth. They show you how you, too, could offer radical acts of love to those near death whose lives you touch. Read these stories and weep. Read them and bring this great work deeper into the world." -Michael Lerner, president and co-founder of Commonweal

"Janie Brown has spent a lifetime opening her heart to the profound mystery of death, which, she writes, can be, and is, a radical act of love. In this book she tells the poignant stories of many people she has helped find the way forward into the unknown. This is a beautiful, wise and kind record of a life spent listening to the human heart as it approaches its utterly baffling, often disturbing, yet always lovely, culmination." -Norman Fischer, poet, Zen priest, author of The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path

"This book is itself, a radical act of love. It is built around the revolutionary notion that we come into this world inside bodies that know how to die, and, as it is with many things, we impoverish ourselves by trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones from that most natural of processes. Reading the stories of these humans, compassionate, ordinary and profound, will help you be with the dying, and to be with yourself, amidst the dying. Like the best books of every genre, this one is wrought with beauty, great care and attention, and can teach us all how not to look away." -Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek, Finding Hope In The High Country

"There is no one on earth who cannot benefit from reading this book. The insights, perspectives and wisdom in Radical Acts of Love can transform our approach to the end of life from fear to a sense of adventure." -Rachel Naomi Remen, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom

"Stories are powerful things, and the stories in this book may bring tears. But they will also bring deep understanding, and perhaps even hope, about how we all face life's greatest challenge, death." -Kate Kirk, Chair of Trustees, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity; Trustee, Cicely Saunders International; niece of Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement
Biographical NoteJANIE BROWN was born in Epsom, England, raised in Glasgow, Scotland, and emigrated in 1984 to become a nurse at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. She has a Master's in Psychology from St. Andrews University and a Master's in Nursing from the University of British Columbia. She has worked as an oncology nurse and counsellor for over thirty years and in 1995 founded the Vancouver-based Callanish Society, a grassroots non-profit organization for people living with, and dying from, cancer (www.callanish.org). She presents nationally and internationally, has published in professional journals and writes a widely-read blog (www.lifeindeath.org).