The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister by Cathy Rentzenbrink
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was totally engrossed with this heartbreaking account of a sister dealing with her brother's accident and the aftermath from the moment I read the first chapter. So much so that I sacked off doing usual Saturday morning chores and spent time reading this instead.
Anyone was ever lost anyone they love will relate to this book - whether their loved one died suddenly or died after a long illness (or in the brother's case, died after being in a permanent vegetative state). The decisions that Cathy and her parents have to make are torturous: if they need to accept all hope is gone and their son/brother will never recover, if they should believe that he is "there" in some form (even if he can't communicate the fact), and what they action they should take if he really is gone. Does make you realise that just because you can keep someone "alive" with modern medicine, you sometimes perhaps shouldn't (note I am not talking about someone who has been left severely disabled; I am talking about someone who has no signs of conscious thought).
What Rentzenbrink does so poignantly is to showcase hard the grief process is, particularly when you're grieving for someone who is technically still alive. The recriminations about what you did and did not do, that you should be coping better, or that you should be living your life a certain way. She doesn't really provide any answers to these questions; just that you need to be kind to yourself and learn to accept you'll never be "over it".
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