On My Own
4/5
159 votes, ratings by Amazon
3.25/5
1428 votes, ratings by Goodreads
Author(s): Diane Rehm,
ISBN-10: 1101875283
ISBN-13: 9781101875285
Published: 2016-02-02
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Pages: 176
Biographies & Memoirs

In a deeply personal and moving book, the beloved NPR radio host speaks out about the long drawn-out death (from Parkinson’s) of her husband of fifty-four years, and of her struggle to reconstruct her life without him. With John gone, Diane was indeed “on her own,” coping with the inevitable practical issues and, more important, with the profoundly emotional ones. What to do, how to react, how to reach out again into the world–struggling to create a new reality for herself while clinging to memories of the past. The focus is on her own roller-coaster experiences, but she has also solicited the moving stories of such recently widowed friends as Roger Mudd and Susan Stamberg, which expose the reader to a remarkable range of reactions to the death of a spouse. John’s unnecessarily extended death–he begged to be helped to die–culminated in his taking matters into his own hands, simply refusing to take food and medication until pneumonia claimed him. His heroic actions spurred Diane into becoming a kind of poster person for the Right to Die movement that is all too slowly taking shape in our country. With the brave determination that has characterized her whole life, she is finding a meaningful new way to contribute to the world. Her book–as practical as it is inspiring–will be a help and a comfort to the recently bereaved, and a beacon of hope about the possibilities that remain as we approach eighty.

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