Banburyshire hospice doctor publishes a 'love letter' to those who support others at the end of their lives

Rachel Clarke, a specialist doctor at Adderbury’s Katharine House Hospice and the Sunday Times best-selling author of Your life in My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story, releases her new book this week.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:13 pm
Updated Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:14 pm
Dr Rachel Clarke, a specialist doctor at Katharine House Hospice, who publishes her new book on Thursday, January 30

Dr Clarke's book Dear Life: A Doctor’s Story of Love and Loss, has been described as a love letter to hospices and the specialist support they offer for people at the end of their lives.

Already picked as one of the best books of the year by The Sunday Times, Dear Life reflects on Clarke’s life as a hospice doctor, exploring love, loss, grief, dying and what really matters at the end of life.

In the text, she weaves stories from her own experience of her father’s terminal illness with stories of what she has learnt from patients and families while working in a hospice.

A deeply personal, tender and reflective look on life and loss, Dear Life is a story of how to keep humanity at the heart of medicine.

The release of the book comes as Katharine House Hospice faces a funding shortfall of £435,000 due to an increase in the need for services, rising healthcare costs and an unsustainable national funding model.

The hospice has warned that local end-of-life care services are at risk if the £435,000 shortfall cannot be closed. An appeal to the local community before Christmas raised £60,000. However, with more than three quarters of its funding coming from local people, the hospice is again asking for support from the community to ensure local people can get the urgent care they desperately need.

An excerpt from Dear Life: “Above all, I have learned from my conversations with my father that being given a terminal diagnosis changes both everything and nothing. Prior to this news, a man of 74, he knew he would die one day, just not when exactly. And after this news, he knew he would die one day, just not when exactly. Everything he had always loved about life was still there to be loved, only more attentively now, more fiercely. All that had changed was the new sense of urgency, the need to savour each day and its sweetness.”