D. H. Lawrence wrote: "Be careful then, and be gentle about death. For it is hard to die, it is difficult to go through the door, even when it opens." It is difficult to die and for those around a loved one who is terminally ill, it oftentimes seems even more difficult to stay with all the ambiguities, tensions, and vulnerabilities of life. Maria Housden has written a heartfelt tribute to her daughter Hannah, who shortly before her third birthday was diagnosed with cancer.
This bright souled little girl demonstrates a maturity and understanding beyond her chronological age. During the last year of her life, Hannah teaches her mother and others around her lessons about truth, joy, faith, compassion, and wonder. These form the structure of this heart-affecting memoir that will speak to anyone who has been deeply touched by grief or loss and yearns for a renewed sense of life.
Maria Housden writes and lectures on the importance of quality of life at the end of life. She has also led bereavement support groups. Reading this tribute to her daughter, we were reminded of a story we recently read. A chef was asked what combination of factors made his famous barbecued ribs so special. He talked about the meat, the seasonings, and the barbecue pit. Then he cut to the chase admitting that while working with these ingredients he pictured his children. This was his secret recipe. The chef's love for his children gave his whole life meaning and affected everything he did. Maria Housden reveals the same secret in Hannah's Gift. Love is the meaning in life and death.