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Walking the Night Road

Walking the Night Road: Coming of Age in Grief

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Walking the Night Road
    Book Description:

    Walking the Night Roadspeaks to the experience of caring for a loved one with a terminal illness and the difficulties of encountering death. Alexandra Butler, daughter of the Pulitzer Prize-winning gerontologist Robert N. Butler and respected social worker and psychotherapist Myrna Lewis, composes a lyrical yet unsparing portrait of caring for her mother during her sudden, quick decline from brain cancer. Her rich account shares the strains of caregiving on both the provider and the person receiving care and recognizes the personal and professional sacrifices caregivers must make to fulfill the role.

    More than a memoir of dying and grief, Butler's account also tests many of the theories her parents pioneered in their work on healthy aging. Authors of such seminal works asLove and Sex After Sixty, Butler's parents were forced to rethink many of the tenets they lived by while Myrna was incapacitated, and Butler's father found himself relying heavily on his daughter to provide his wife's care. Butler's poignant and unflinching story is therefore a rare examination of the intimate aspects of aging and death experienced by practitioners who suddenly find themselves in the difficult position of the clients they once treated.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53679-0
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Walking the Night Road
    (pp. 1-165)

    You came into the kitchen that night with only a T-shirt and no underwear. I was sitting with a friend in the living room as you went by. I could hear you breathing. You went foraging in the pantry. You knocked the cans and other objects off the shelf. You found a cereal box, pulled it out, and held it wrong side down, leaving a trail as you walked from the kitchen.

    In the hallway you saw us. You saw my friend, and in your T-shirt and no underwear, you didn’t stammer or apologize. There was no pause. But I...