LET SOMEONE HOLD YOU by Paul Morrissey


The Journey of a Hospice Priest
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 A moving and highly personal account of Roman Catholic priest Morrissey's work with the terminally ill as a member of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York City. Wading through the city's embattled regions and upscale high- rise zones, Morrissey and fellow members of the Hospice Program visit dying people of all faiths and cultures in the intimacy of their homes and families. Morrissey introduces us to 13 of his patients and writes with rare human insight and respect. We feel privileged to encounter Isha, an Ethiopian Christian who, Morrissey says, danced with her eyes when she was no longer able to move her body; Pedro, an AIDS patient whose spirit was healed by a ritual anointing with oil; Elmo, a wheelchair-bound teenager whose imagination stretched from comic book superheroes to heaven; and Candida, who dealt with her suffering through a strange dynamic of self-sacrifice and manipulation. The death of the author's own mother is a backdrop to these stories, and he describes his personal difficulties and growth with an almost brutal honesty. He shows us that it is often the caregiver who receives life and love while fostering life and a link with the world of the spirit in the dying person. We learn that the dying have much to tell us about our own ways of relating and separating, of holding on and letting go. A realistic yet positive approach to the great questions of death and life, the value of the human person, and faith.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8245-1408-4
Page count: 276pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994