A Faithful Farewell
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More About This Title A Faithful Farewell


When the time comes for us to die, how do we say good-bye to our friends, our families, and the lives we have lived? How do we remain faithful -- to God, to ourselves, and to loved ones -- as we face our final journey?

As Marilyn McEntyre acknowledges, these questions are especially challenging because we now live longer than previous generations did, and many of us die more slowly. Those who are dying have a lot of things to deal with -- fear, discouragement, boredom, pain, regret. The list is long.

In this book McEntyre offers fifty-two short meditations on the very real issues faced by dying people. She addresses a wide and sensitively chosen range of subjects, including such things as anger, losing control, curiosity, doubt, loss of privacy, family conflict, sadness, gratitude, and even spiritual adventure.

McEntyre’s insightful reflections -- offering what she calls “a different kind of hope” -- speak to the heart of the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of dying. Brief concluding prayers and lines from cherished hymns further lift up the reader as he or she seeks to faithfully navigate the great transition from this life to the next.


Marilyn McEntyre is professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California. She has written dozens of articles and reviews in such journals as The Washington Post, Theology Today, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Christianity Today. She is also the author of Dwelling in the Text and A Healing Art: Regeneration through Autobiography.


Christian Century
"McEntyre's language is reflective and sensitive but not sentimental. . . . A thoughtful and realistic window into the often hidden, though well-traveled, end-of-life journey."

Presbyterian Outlook
"Each essay is layered with wisdom that never condescends upon the subject, but honestly speaks truthfully what we often have no space or courage to say. . . . A beautiful guide for walking with the dying. This is a book of love."

Richard Lischer
— author of Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son
"These reflections on the approach of death, written in the first person, are faithful, biblical, and honest. Although each is accompanied by a text and a closing prayer, these brief devotions do not preach so much as share the apprehension and the hope common to us all. Marilyn McEntyre offers the love of God — and her own heart — to all who wish to receive. This book will prove a faithful companion on what for many is a long journey."

Harold G. Koenig
— Duke University Medical Center
"A sensitive and helpful encouragement to those living life at its closure — and to living it with openness, faithfulness, and hope. Beautifully done."

Margaret E. Mohrmann
— author of Medicine as Ministry: Reflections on Suffering, Ethics, and Hope
"This quietly graceful and grace-filled book allows us the extraordinary, perhaps even unique, privilege of listening in on the thoughts of someone trying to live her dying days mindfully, faithful to herself, to those she loves, to reality, and to God. . . . McEntyre's entirely believable `channeling' of the dying one's voice is a gift for which I am immensely grateful; this book will stay by my side as I and those dear to me move toward our own farewells."

Michael L. Lindvall
— author of A Geography of God: Exploring the Christian Journey
"Marilyn McEntyre's remarkable meditations on terminal illness manage to be both refreshingly frank and deeply faithful. She knows whereof she speaks, accurately identifying the whole gamut of emotions and experiences that people encounter as they face a death they know is approaching. Startlingly real and profound in hope, this book is a gift to the terminally ill and pastors who would minister to them — and to all of us born to die."

M. Therese Lysaught
— Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago
"In accompanying the dying, McEntyre has come to know the myriad moments that mark the dying process. Her short reflections speak to over fifty facets of this journey in poignant and peace-filled prose. Accompanying prayers provide words for the dying to lean into, especially in moments when their own voice falters. A Faithful Farewell should prove equally helpful for family members, friends, chaplains, physicians, and other caregivers. All who walk with the dying in their final days should have a copy of this invaluable book."

Catholic Library World
"Drawing on her experience as a hospice volunteer and her expertise as an English professor, McEntyre has crafted sensitive, pertinent essays written from the point of view of a terminally ill person. Each selection begins with a scripture quotation and ends with a short prayer and a line from a hymn. . . . These beautifully-written reflections should offer comfort, practical thoughts, and consolation for those leaving this life. . . . Strongly recommended."