A nurse’s memoir tells of a life devoted to spiritual progress.
Debut author Hill spent 13 years working in a hospice—an emotionally depleting but morally fulfilling profession. Along the way, she regularly confronted death and the idea of her own mortality, which always frightened her. However, she drew consolation and guidance from her spirituality, which she discovered at 14, when she had a premonition of her maternal grandmother’s imminent demise. She eventually studied Reiki, shamanic healing, and Kundalini yoga, as well as a number of 12-step programs; these studies not only helped her manage the painful emotional wounds of an abusive childhood, but also proved useful to her patients. Hill splits her remembrance into two parts. The first is a collection of short biographical sketches of her most memorable patients, emphasizing her spiritual connection with each. The second section of impressionistic vignettes provides an account of her own spiritual development, the challenges she encountered, and the lessons she learned, with a focus on her mother’s failing health and death. The author discovered that when one lifted the taboo on discussing death, it created a spiritual space for healing and acceptance: “It was uncomfortable and people thought they were protecting their loved ones” by avoiding the topic, she says. “The reality was that when it was brought out into the light and discussed with love and reassurance, magic happened.” Hill writes with clarity and passion, and she unpacks her own emotional stumbles with impressive candor. She also provides a thoughtful discussion of what she sees as the limitations of Western medicine, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, and advocates intelligently for the medicinal and spiritual benefits of cannabis. That said, readers uninterested in New-Age spirituality are unlikely to be find many of her accounts persuasive, as when she says that a patient communicated to her posthumously in the form of a butterfly.
A touching remembrance that will appeal to an audience that’s open to alternative spiritual practices.