Final Journey

Final Journey: A Practical Guide for Bringing Care and Comfort at the End of Life

Callahan, Maggie





For more than two decades, hospice nurse Maggie Callanan has tended to the terminally ill and been a cornerstone of support for their loved ones. Now the coauthor of the classic bestseller Final Gifts passes along the lessons she has learned from the experts—her patients. Here is the guide we all need to understanding the special needs of the dying and those who care for them.

In her work with thousands of families, Maggie Callanan has witnessed the tears, the love—and the confusion and conflict—this final passage can evoke. Now, with honesty, compassion, and even humor, she empowers patients and their families to write the last chapter of their lives with less fear, less pain, and more control—so that all involved can focus their energies on creating the best possible ending.

From supporting a husband or wife faced with the loss of a spouse, to helping a dying mother prepare her children to carry on without her, Callanan’s poignant stories illustrate new ways to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of this difficult and precious time. She brings welcome clarity to medical and ethical concerns, explaining what to expect at every stage. Each brief chapter also conveys a home truth about making crucial treatment decisions, supporting the patient’s dignity and individuality, and lightening the burden on caregivers.

Final Journeys is designed to be your companion, resource, and advocate. From diagnosis through the final hours, it will help you keep the lines of communication open, get the help you need, and create the peaceful end we all hope for.


“What do we all want, when we approach the inevitable? For a wise, hilarious, sensitive, and pragmatic nurse to sit at our bedside and tell us truths that are helpful, healing, and humane. Maggie Callanan is just that nurse, and Final Journeys is exactly that truth-telling.”—Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System

“Maggie Callanan is one of the most experienced, smart and fierce hospice nurses I know. Her insights ring true, and her wise, confident voice is an invaluable companion through this unfamiliar and often frightening final journey.”—Ira Byock, M.D., Professor of Palliative Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School and author of Dying Well and The Four Things That Matter Most

“Filled with warmth, insight, compassion, and personal stories, Final Journeys will prepare you for your own transition, and it is must reading for everyone who has relatives and loved ones who are aging, seriously ill, or dying.”—Bill Guggenheim, co-author of Hello from Heaven!



Of all the stages in life, that of dying appears to be the most difficult: emotions run high, tempers flare, accusations fly, tears flow all the time, or is that just my family? Seriously, it can be such a chaotic and emotional time that I think it is very easy to lose track of what can be most important: understanding the dying person’s process, and coming to terms with that process.

I read Ms. Callanan’s first book, Final Gifts, several years ago and it gave me great insight into how I could better relate to someone who is dying. In this book she really addresses the dying process from the side of the caregiver, and I couldn’t thank her more. I read this as my own father was dying and I think I used something from every chapter to help my father pass a little more comfortably, and to help keep my family and me from going crazy with stress.

I would encourage people to read this book. Even if you don’t know someone who is dying, you never know when this sort of info will turn out to be needed. God bless.

Read more…


The author of this book has been a hospice nurse for over two decades, and in this book, she passes along the lessons she has learned from the patients she has cared for, and their families. She shares their stories with honesty, compassion, and at times, with humor. She empowers patients and their families to face the time of dying with less fear, less pain, and more control; her stories illustrate how to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges faced at a such a difficult time.

Read more…


Posted on

February 15, 2015