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On My Own
by Diane Rehm


Overview - 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.
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More About On My Own by Diane Rehm
 
 
 
Overview
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, reaching out again into the world struggling to create a new reality for herself while clinging to memories of the past. Her 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 work to 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 water, food, and medication. 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 to us as we deal with our own approaching mortality."

From our buyer, Erin Crutchfield: From one of NPR’s most beloved radio hosts Diane Rehm! Diane opens up and starts a conversation on a very tough subject. Also important to note Diane has announced plans to retire this year. That date has not been announced but expected to be later in the year after the Presidential election season.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781101875285
  • ISBN-10: 1101875283
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: February 2016
  • Page Count: 176
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Self-Help > Death, Grief, Bereavement
Books > Family & Relationships > Death, Grief, Bereavement

 
BookPage Reviews

A candid exploration of loss

Prominent NPR talk show host Diane Rehm’s memoir, On  My Own, is a plainspoken but passionate account of the death from Parkinson’s disease of her husband of 54 years and of her journey through the first year of widowhood. 

Diagnosed in 2005, John Rehm, a retired lawyer, finally entered an assisted living facility in November 2012. By June 2014, his condition had deteriorated to the point that he elected to hasten his death by forgoing food, water and medications. The fact that he survived and suffered for another nine days caused Rehm to “rage at a system that would not allow John to be helped toward his own death” and spurred her to commit herself to Compassion & Choices, an organization that advocates for the right to die with medical assistance. 

But this memoir is much more than a polemic on aiding the terminally ill. Eschewing self-help clichés, the deeply religious Rehm offers a meticulous narrative of her personal struggle to come to terms with a profound loss. Though the intensity of her love for John is unmistakable, she takes pains not to portray their marriage in idyllic terms. Instead, she describes that relationship as one “filled with both times of joy and years of hostility,” and her mixed feelings clearly affected a “complicated and long-lasting” grieving process she reveals with candor and insight.

Anticipating her memoir’s publication, Rehm, who is 79, announced in December that she would leave broadcasting after 37 years, sometime after the 2016 election. Though she spends a considerable amount of time in the book musing about what it will take for her to feel useful in the years ahead, there is little doubt that this talented woman will find myriad ways to continue her valuable contributions to our world.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews