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KellyM

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  • Encountering the Edge: What People Told me Before They Died

  • By: Karen B. Kaplan
  • Narrated by: Cindy Pereira
  • Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

Unencumbered by religious agendas and pat answers, Encountering the Edge satisfies our curiosity concerning what people believe in, shrug their shoulders at, laugh at, and most care about as they face Act 3, Scene 3, of their lives. Join Chaplain Kaplan as she visits her hospice patients, and share her sense of adventure and openness to the experience. The author also reveals the inner workings of a hospice agency from a chaplain's viewpoint both on the road and in the office.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

  • By KellyM on 09-07-15

A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-07-15

I read Encountering the Edge when it came out last year and I eagerly anticipated the audiobook. It’s my first purchase from Audible. First, the reader’s voice is lovely. She captures the tone and emotions of the author beautifully.

Encountering the Edge is the memoir of seven years in the work of Karen Kaplan as a hospice chaplain. While the book would be an invaluable resource for someone considering the profession, I enjoyed it most for the stories. Kaplan relates deeply personal and unflinchingly honest episodes in “Act 3 Scene 3” of the lives of some of her patients.

There’s Saul, who regretted for 72 years, never having had a bar mitzvah. Kaplan remedies that situation, which brings a celebration and joy to Saul and his family. And there’s the poignant story of Nancy, a dementia patient who “thought of her nursing home as a high school, the brightly lit nursing station the principal’s office, the dining hall the cafeteria, and that [Kaplan] and the other staff were the teachers. The other residents, of course, were her classmates.”

Most aspirational to me is the story of 83-year-old Kathy, who who Kaplan counseled for a year after she lost her husband of only six years. “When we were in the car, I was glad when we stopped at a red light, because that gave us an opportunity for another kiss.” And, “Every time we ate breakfast, it was like going out on a date.” I’m pleased to learn that this kind of love exists, and Kaplan experiences Kathy’s story as a “reminder to cherish loved ones while we can.”

Also aspirational is Kaplan’s deep compassion, which you can hear in every chapter. Often singing to or joking with patients or their families, (she’s a delightful wit), she’s always respectful, considerate, and striving to serve her patients. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

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