May I Walk You Home? Book Review
Hutchison, Joyce and Rupp, Joyce; May I Walk You Home?: Courage and Comfort for Caregivers of the Very Ill; Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana; 2006 (5th printing/1st 1999), pp. 158 ISBN-10 0-87793-670-6 / ISBN-13 978-0-87793-670-1
Finding the Book
Oftentimes the books I cherish most are not necessarily from the New York Times' Best Seller List. This one was happened upon after spending an hour at the Tea House on Newman Street in my hometown area and wandering to The Book Nook shop. One-dollar books lined a shelf outside the entryway.
After sifting through many books, the title, "May I Walk You Home?" caught my eye. The commentary on the back of the book noted how walking a person home had been a tradition in small towns during earlier decades.
I knew immediately this little book had the potential to provide a deep and lasting friendship. I was not disappointed.
But there was a time when walks home from school, from church, or from a dance were commonplace. Walking someone home was a way of offering protection and guidance, an opportunity to reflect on life and what had just been experienced.— Anon, from the back cover of May I Walk You Home?
About the Authors
At the time of the fifth printing of the book in 2006, Joyce Hutchison worked as a Certified Registered Nurse of Hospice and Patient Advocate at Mercy Hospital Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Her work experience included oncology, home care, and hospice team director. Joyce died in May 2016 of lung cancer.
Joyce Rupp is a member of O.S.M. (Ordo Servorum Mariae) and public lecturer. She has led retreats in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
A Workshop by Joyce Rupp
Layout and Chapters
The first 25 pages consists of Acknowledgments, Foreword, Introduction, and a "mini-glossary" called About the Stories and Prayers. Twenty-five stories range from two to three pages, followed by a brief Caregiver's Reflection of Meditation, Prayer, and For Today (a thought for contemplation).
The chapters, written by Ms. Hutchison, are first-person voice and bear such titles as 1. Giving Permission to Die, 6. A Long Kept Secret, 12. The Gate Won't Open, 20. Suspicion, Then Trust, and 25. The Power of Prayer.
Sections at the End of the Book
"A Note of Encouragement" by Joyce Rupp gives the reader a two-page story, a friendly tribute to Joyce Hutchison, as a means to encourage a hospice caregiver and the bereaved.
Finally, there is the poem "Leave-Taking" by Sandra Bury. The blank-verse poem has 18 stanzas of varying length and is dedicated to the dying.
May I Walk You Home? Benefits
At this stage of my life, my entire father's natal family is deceased, as well as my mother's. My half brother John passed at the age of 32 of leukemia when I was just out of college. Reading one chapter at night, along with the reflection section at the end of each story, helped me put a perspective on my relatives' passings, many of whose wakes I had not attended.
I became impressed with the service and care of the hospice worker--or anyone who tends a dying loved one at his or her last moment of breath. The read was very comforting just before relinquishing myself to sleep, and I can recommend it to anyone who seeks a meaningful perspective about life through the compassion of the heart.
Other Books by Joyce Rupp (Ave Maria Press)
These books were the ones listed at the back of May I Walk You Home? In a YouTube interview video, Sr. Rupp says Fly While You Still Have Wings is her 23rd book.
The Cup of Our Life (1997) This paperback book explores spiritual growth through the question, "Do you know you are a love song?"
May I Have This Dance? (1992) A collection of meditation and prayer for the entire year as a wholesome "dance with the Divine."
Out of the Ordinary (1999) This book contains prayers, poems, and reflections for every season and counseling resources for the individual and groups.
Inviting God In (2001) The author reflects on scriptural passages to encourage the reader to open his heart and discover the meaning of God's word in his life.