Becki Hawkins has worked with critically ill and dying patients for 30 years. She spent many years on oncology wards and in hospices as well as providing home health care to the dying. In addition to being a nurse, she also spent some time as a hospice chaplain. During all those years, she has listened to the dying with an open heart, and in Transitions, she shares the lessons her patients have taught her about death and dying, and in doing so, about living as well.
While the subject might seem depressing, the book is not. Indeed, there is humor as well as timeless wisdom in these stories. Most of Hawkins’ patients were poor and from rural Oklahoma locations. They did not have a lot of material wealth, but they did have an abundance of faith and a strong sense of family and community. They faced their death as they faced their lives: with courage and the willingness to accept things as they happened and do what needed to be done.
There is a lot of talk in the book about faith, but Hawkins has such a loving way of writing and is so nonjudgmental that it never feels like preaching. Hawkins treats these people and their stories with absolute respect. She does not tell them or the reader that the white light they see or the spirits that visit them in their dying days are hallucinations or the result of dying brain cells. She accepts their beliefs as real and invites you to do so as well.
Through Hawkins’ words, you will learn much about how to live life as well as how to face death. It is a must-read for those dealing with end of life issues, whether caregivers, patients or medical personnel. Indeed, Transitions is a deeply moving book which will touch the hearts and souls of every reader.