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Extended Audio Sample On Living, by Kerry Egan Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kerry Egan Narrator: Kerry Egan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A hospice chaplain passes on wisdom on giving meaning to life, from those taking leave of it.

As a hospice chaplain, Kerry Egan didn’t offer sermons or prayers, unless they were requested; in fact, she found, the dying rarely want to talk about God, at least not overtly. Instead, she discovered she’d been granted an invaluable chance to witness firsthand what she calls the “spiritual work of dying”—the work of finding or making meaning of one’s life, the experiences it’s contained and the people who have touched it, the betrayals, wounds, unfinished business, and unrealized dreams. Instead of talking, she mainly listened: to stories of hope and regret, shame and pride, mystery and revelation, and secrets held too long. Most of all, though, she listened as her patients talked about love—love for their children and partners and friends; love they didn’t know how to offer; love they gave unconditionally; love they, sometimes belatedly, learned to grant themselves.

This isn’t a book about dying—it’s a book about living. And Egan isn’t just passively bearing witness to these stories. An emergency procedure during the birth of her first child left her physically whole but emotionally and spiritually adrift. Her work as a hospice chaplain healed her, from a brokenness she came to see we all share. Each of her patients taught her something—how to find courage in the face of fear or the strength to make amends; how to be profoundly compassionate and fiercely empathetic; how to see the world in grays instead of black and white. In this poignant, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along all their precious and necessary gifts.

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Quotes & Awards

  • In her sophomore outing, Egan masters the art of imparting critical life advice without coming off as preachy—a difficult feat…Egan’s empathetic tone is a comfort for both the healthy and the dying—whom, she opines, are not polar opposites…As the title suggests, this is not just a book about dying. It’s one that will inspire readers to make the most of every day. Publisher's Weekly (starred)
  • [Egan’s] anecdotes are often thought-provoking combinations of sublime humor and tragic pathos… A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran. Kirkus Reviews
  • “I know from experience what a blessing hospice can be for patients and their families. Kerry Egan’s insightful book is a blessing as well. A born storyteller, she allows us a glimpse into a little-known world, where ordinary people face death with wit, humor, sadness, and regret. Egan reveals that the job of a chaplain is mostly to listen to them as they work out how to set things right with those they love, and find meaning in their lives. Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk, Amazing Grace, and Acedia and Me
  • When I forget the importance of kindness, when I forget to listen, when I no longer recognize the comfort of a quiet presence, when no words will help, when I lose sight of what is most important, I will want On Living within arm's reach, always. I love this book. Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life and What Comes Next and How to Like It
  • It's a brave thing to walk into the rooms of the dying with no props--to sit down, open your heart and your mind, and be present to whatever comes up. But that's exactly what chaplain Kerry Egan does, and in On Living, she reveals some of what she has learned. What does come up? Anger, love, regret, secrets, stories, and insights, well-told and well-felt. Victoria Sweet, author of God’s Hotel
  • Thoughtful and refreshingly unpretentious . . . [Egan’s] insights continue to resonate for days after you’ve finished reading. The Washington Post
  • In her sophomore outing, Egan masters the art of imparting critical life advice without coming off as preachy—a difficult feat…Egan’s empathetic tone is a comfort for both the healthy and the dying—whom, she opines, are not polar opposites…As the title suggests, this is not just a book about dying. It’s one that will inspire readers to make the most of every day. Publisher's Weekly (starred)
  • "Powerful...in this quick read, Egan takes readers on an emotional journey through many unforgettable lives. Booklist
  • [Egan’s] anecdotes are often thought-provoking combinations of sublime humor and tragic pathos… A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran. Kirkus Reviews
  • Illuminating, unflinching and ultimately inspiring, [On Living] presents “the spiritual work of dying” as a profound process with undeniable elements of beauty. A book to treasure. People Magazine
  • Equal parts memoir and meditative text on the nature of life — and the many faces of faith —….this beautiful book will speak to parts of your heart that you didn't even realize were hurting. What's more: It might help heal them. Refinery29, Best New Books to Read This Month
  • In her sophomore outing, Egan masters the art of imparting critical life advice without coming off as preachy—a difficult feat…Egan’s empathetic tone is a comfort for both the healthy and the dying—whom, she opines, are not polar opposites…As the title suggests, this is not just a book about dying. It’s one that will inspire readers to make the most of every day. Publishers Weekly (starred)
  • “I know from experience what a blessing hospice can be for patients and their families. Kerry Egan’s insightful book is a blessing as well. A born storyteller, she allows us a glimpse into a little-known world, where ordinary people face death with wit, humor, sadness, and regret. Egan reveals that the job of a chaplain is mostly to listen to them as they work out how to set things right with those they love, and find meaning in their lives. Kathleen Norris, author of The Cloister Walk, Amazing Grace, and Acedia and Me
  • When I forget the importance of kindness, when I forget to listen, when I no longer recognize the comfort of a quiet presence, when no words will help, when I lose sight of what is most important, I will want On Living within arm's reach, always. I love this book. Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life and What Comes Next and How to Like It
  • It's a brave thing to walk into the rooms of the dying with no props--to sit down, open your heart and your mind, and be present to whatever comes up. But that's exactly what chaplain Kerry Egan does, and in On Living, she reveals some of what she has learned. What does come up? Anger, love, regret, secrets, stories, and insights, well-told and well-felt. Victoria Sweet, author of God’s Hotel
  • Illuminating, unflinching and ultimately inspiring, [On Living] presents “the spiritual work of dying” as a profound process with undeniable elements of beauty. A book to treasure. People Magazine
  • "A poetic and philosophical and brave and uplifting meditation on how important it is to make peace and meaning of our lives while we still have them. Elizabeth Gilbert
  • “Egan... works as a hospice chaplain, supporting the spirits of those who are dying. In this book, she compassionately describes and distills what she has learned in their service. Boston Globe
  • "A poetic and philosophical and brave and uplifting meditation on how important it is to make peace and meaning of our lives while we still have them. Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat Pray Love
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