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From Sun to Sun: A Hospice Nurse Reflects on the Art of Dying

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Twenty-one people of different ages have one thing in common; they’re within six months of their deaths. They’ve endured the battle of the medical system as they sought cures for their illnesses, and are now settling in to die. Some reconcile, some don’t. Some are gracious, some not. As Nina Angela McKissock, a highly experienced hospice nurse, goes from home to home and w Twenty-one people of different ages have one thing in common; they’re within six months of their deaths. They’ve endured the battle of the medical system as they sought cures for their illnesses, and are now settling in to die. Some reconcile, some don’t. Some are gracious, some not. As Nina Angela McKissock, a highly experienced hospice nurse, goes from home to home and within the residential hospice, she shares her journey of deep joy, humorous events, precious stories, and heartbreaking love. Free of religiosity, dogma, or fear, From Sun to Sun brings readers into McKissock’s world—and imparts the profound lessons she learns as she guides her beloved patients on their final journey.


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Twenty-one people of different ages have one thing in common; they’re within six months of their deaths. They’ve endured the battle of the medical system as they sought cures for their illnesses, and are now settling in to die. Some reconcile, some don’t. Some are gracious, some not. As Nina Angela McKissock, a highly experienced hospice nurse, goes from home to home and w Twenty-one people of different ages have one thing in common; they’re within six months of their deaths. They’ve endured the battle of the medical system as they sought cures for their illnesses, and are now settling in to die. Some reconcile, some don’t. Some are gracious, some not. As Nina Angela McKissock, a highly experienced hospice nurse, goes from home to home and within the residential hospice, she shares her journey of deep joy, humorous events, precious stories, and heartbreaking love. Free of religiosity, dogma, or fear, From Sun to Sun brings readers into McKissock’s world—and imparts the profound lessons she learns as she guides her beloved patients on their final journey.

30 review for From Sun to Sun: A Hospice Nurse Reflects on the Art of Dying

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    I won a copy of this book on Good Reads. A small percentage of the population of this country has seen someone die; to be there when someone breaths their last breath. Death is something that is behind the walls of the hospital or nursing home. In her book From Sun to Sun, nurse Nina Angela McKissock reflects on the deaths of some of her patients. You see, Nina is a hospice nurse. When someone’s disease has reached the point where doctors cannot do anymore or the patient says “stop, I’ve had enou I won a copy of this book on Good Reads. A small percentage of the population of this country has seen someone die; to be there when someone breaths their last breath. Death is something that is behind the walls of the hospital or nursing home. In her book From Sun to Sun, nurse Nina Angela McKissock reflects on the deaths of some of her patients. You see, Nina is a hospice nurse. When someone’s disease has reached the point where doctors cannot do anymore or the patient says “stop, I’ve had enough”, they are given the option of hospice care. Hospice manages the care of people who are dying, keeping them as comfortable as possible. Of course that statement is over simplified. It takes a special person to do this job. Every death is different as each person and family are. In reflecting on and celebrating the deaths of some of the people she has cared for, will help us, the readers think about how we want ourselves or our loved ones to die. I’m glad I read this. Oh, by the way, I’m an oncology nurse and have handed-off many patients to hospice. I’ve also been there when people have been brought to the hospital to die. My hat off to Nina Angela McKissock, RN and all the other nurses that have chosen to work in hospice. Thank you for writing this wonderful book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Yoder

    Oh, sweet goodness. This book sits in the common area where devastating and lovely overlap. I thought I could read the last few pages w/o crying yet again, but I was wrong. From Sun to Sun can be avoided by those who are immortal, plus those whose parents and children will never die. Anyone outside of those two categories should read this book. I suppose in the past I have not considered the manner of one's own death to be a political act (in the sense of being empowering), but now I can see how Oh, sweet goodness. This book sits in the common area where devastating and lovely overlap. I thought I could read the last few pages w/o crying yet again, but I was wrong. From Sun to Sun can be avoided by those who are immortal, plus those whose parents and children will never die. Anyone outside of those two categories should read this book. I suppose in the past I have not considered the manner of one's own death to be a political act (in the sense of being empowering), but now I can see how this is so. Those who rail against mythical Death Panels will probably not be drawn to this set of stories, but they need to read them all the same. Thank you, Nina. I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book. I'm grateful for that.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    This was such a wonderful, heart warming book. You might think it would be depressing but it is not at all. It is more of a love story. I just hope when I am at the end of my life, I have a nurse like Nina right by my side.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I received this advance reader copy through Goodreads Giveaways. As someone who works in the medical field (radiation oncology), I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading this book. The insight to Nina's patients' last days make me appreciate the innermost thoughts and stories that come from every last one of us as human beings. The author, Nina, portrays both patients and caregivers in the best light possible, making the reader thrive to be their better self right along with her. Each story in From Sun t I received this advance reader copy through Goodreads Giveaways. As someone who works in the medical field (radiation oncology), I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading this book. The insight to Nina's patients' last days make me appreciate the innermost thoughts and stories that come from every last one of us as human beings. The author, Nina, portrays both patients and caregivers in the best light possible, making the reader thrive to be their better self right along with her. Each story in From Sun to Sun reveals honest, personal, sometimes humorous, always beautiful portraits of real people. I would recommend this book to almost anyone interested in a heartfelt read on the matters of death and dying. Caregivers, especially, may benefit from this book. My only regret is not having received a signed copy, as stated in the giveaway details.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Clark

    This is a wonderful book for those who want to engage with the art of supporting people who are dying. Nina is a hospice nurse, and she takes us through several people's dying experiences and her own experiences supporting them and their surrounding people and environment. The book reads fast - you want to listen to her tell more stories because of her empathetic voice and her own self exploration throughout. I recommend it for caretakers whether you are in nursing or caring for loved ones. Read This is a wonderful book for those who want to engage with the art of supporting people who are dying. Nina is a hospice nurse, and she takes us through several people's dying experiences and her own experiences supporting them and their surrounding people and environment. The book reads fast - you want to listen to her tell more stories because of her empathetic voice and her own self exploration throughout. I recommend it for caretakers whether you are in nursing or caring for loved ones. Reading this book will make the daunting role of caring for someone who is dying, or being someone who is dying, an experience you can take on more skillfully and thoughtfully. Thank you Nina.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hari Brandl

    I was able to read this book through the GoodReads First Looks program. I was a nurse for more than 40 years and so am able to relate to a lot of Ms McKissock's experiences, though I never worked in a hospice setting. I think the book was well written, entertaining, and uplifting, given the subject. I applaud Ms. McKissock's work, and feel this book is a very valuable addition to the current literature surrounding the move to legitimize alternatives to dying in ICU settings with tubes and medica I was able to read this book through the GoodReads First Looks program. I was a nurse for more than 40 years and so am able to relate to a lot of Ms McKissock's experiences, though I never worked in a hospice setting. I think the book was well written, entertaining, and uplifting, given the subject. I applaud Ms. McKissock's work, and feel this book is a very valuable addition to the current literature surrounding the move to legitimize alternatives to dying in ICU settings with tubes and medical equipment everywhere.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Josephine Ensign

    This would be an excellent book for anyone facing having a family member in hospice care. Very practical, down-to-earth, and honest--with a touch of appropriate humor and lightness. It is an engaging story--or set of stories, although it does verge at times on the overly sentimental.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Eh.... Good material to work with, but not very well written and a bit too self-important

  9. 5 out of 5

    Story Circle Book Reviews

    Nina McKissock drew this oncology/hospice nurse in: "This is my memoir as a hospice nurse for the last fifteen years. It's my belief that the stories will enhance people's understanding that even though there may not be a cure, there can be a great healing within in the dying process." I wanted to immediately offer up a resounding "YES!" I also wanted to immediately share these words with so many people who struggle with the concept of hospice care. McKissock shares the stories of twenty-one indi Nina McKissock drew this oncology/hospice nurse in: "This is my memoir as a hospice nurse for the last fifteen years. It's my belief that the stories will enhance people's understanding that even though there may not be a cure, there can be a great healing within in the dying process." I wanted to immediately offer up a resounding "YES!" I also wanted to immediately share these words with so many people who struggle with the concept of hospice care. McKissock shares the stories of twenty-one individuals who, at their various ages and with their various afflictions, are within six months of their own deaths. She has changed the names to protect privacy, but she has captured the essence of what it means to be a hospice patient or family member of one who is on hospice, and a nurse whose incredible privilege it is to guide her patients on their final journey. From Sun to Sun is sensitive, enlightening, honest and compassionate at every turn of the page. Readers will experience the roller coaster of emotions that is the life of those in hospice care. At times, I was moved to tears. Other times, the deeply personal telling of the human condition brought a smile and a sense of recognition to my heart. McKissock's eloquent memoir is her gift to the reader. I would like to add that she has given a boost to the effort to remove the stigma of hospice, which some perceive to be a giving up, resignation, or death sentence. Through these twenty-one stories, readers will come to realize that hospice is far from a negative. Given the fact that one day we will all face the death of a loved one—or perhaps our own mortality—From Sun to Sun teaches some very valuable lessons including the importance of listening: Listening is all about giving; it heals through the power of its generosity. It is an open-handed gift that asks nothing in return. I can't imagine a more valuable gift for someone who is dying. Listening asks us to be surprised, not to have agendas and not to judge. Good listening requires that we direct attention toward the other person and also into our own inner life. (p 97-98). Sprinkled with gems like the one on listening, this is definitely a must-read for all who work in the hospice arena, as well as care-givers to those with life-threatening illnesses and those who offer spiritual care to patients, care givers and healthcare providers alike. by Lee Ambrose for Story Circle Book Reviews reviewing books by, for, and about women

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary G

    I owe an apology to this thoughtful and passionate author-while rushing through my account and cleaning/updating my reading lists, I unjustly gave a lower star review than this book deserves. I myself, am a nurse, and was interested in reading about hospice care and hearing stories from the field about what it may be like to work in that area of nursing. I started reading the book and with life, was pulled away from it and it rested on my ‘shelf’ staying there for quite awhile-prompting me to fi I owe an apology to this thoughtful and passionate author-while rushing through my account and cleaning/updating my reading lists, I unjustly gave a lower star review than this book deserves. I myself, am a nurse, and was interested in reading about hospice care and hearing stories from the field about what it may be like to work in that area of nursing. I started reading the book and with life, was pulled away from it and it rested on my ‘shelf’ staying there for quite awhile-prompting me to finally just close it out. As it turns out, it isn’t an easy read when you are dealing with unprecedented deaths by working/knowing amazing individuals passing away from overdoses on drugs (the area of nursing that I found myself drawn to). I had decided, after reading only a short portion of the book, to just take it off the ‘shelf’ by rating it with a few stars and calling it a day. This was so insensitive of me and I should have known better as my daughter is an aspiring author and I know how much work and love goes into a book! I then received an email from the author with a kind request why I rated her book with such few stars and asking how she could improve her writing. I was embarrassed by my thoughtlessness and I can tell you, I went back and read her book-completely-and can’t recommend it enough! I found myself wiping tears, smiling, laughing and feeling grateful for the window into hospice and dignified choices in death that this author granted. I saw a vulnerability and strength in her care of her patients as well as a guide for those unfamiliar with hospice care and what it can look like in all its rawest forms. Her stories are poignant and touching with introspection that I imagine isn’t always easy to navigate when balancing families, patients and end of life issues. I look forward to reading this author’s next book and wish her success! I’m thankful she reached out to me prompting me to follow her as an author and amazingly dedicated nurse.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    From Sun to Sun, A Hospice Nurse Reflects on the Art of Dying is a beautifully compiled journey through Nina McKissock’s memories as a hospice nurse. The stories are a captivating illustration of the essences of nursing: meeting each patient with compassion and unknowing; balancing joy with suffering; facing grief, anger, and helplessness with dignity; learning and growing through intuition and experience. The patient is described as a client, a friend, and a teacher. McKissock details the honor From Sun to Sun, A Hospice Nurse Reflects on the Art of Dying is a beautifully compiled journey through Nina McKissock’s memories as a hospice nurse. The stories are a captivating illustration of the essences of nursing: meeting each patient with compassion and unknowing; balancing joy with suffering; facing grief, anger, and helplessness with dignity; learning and growing through intuition and experience. The patient is described as a client, a friend, and a teacher. McKissock details the honor bestowed by each patient in allowing the nurse to be advocate, confidante, caregiver, healer, and friend as each approaches and accepts death in his or her own way. McKissock is able to reflect upon her own past and present life as she examines each patient’s experiences with their impending death, valuing and respecting each lesson learned. She offers that hospice nursing is more than just treating bodily ailment and pain; it is touching bodies and connecting with hearts and minds, entering into the sacrosanct vulnerability of the last days and hours of human lives with and without their loved ones. Hospice nursing carries concern for “important details not on the chart” such as a beloved pet, long-kept secrets and guilt, family dynamics, cultural and spiritual needs, the patient’s surroundings, and the need for family and friends to self-soothe while administering to the dying patient in their own ways. The end of life is portrayed as more than just a medical event, as there is spiritual and emotional “healing within dying”. Nina McKissock’s memoir describes the necessary counterbalanced boundaries of professionalism, friendship, stewardship, emotions, and tolerance of a hospice nurse. This is an easy, beautiful, and soothing read as each patient rewards you with a life lesson.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather Huberty

    This book articulated the beauty of those involved in end of life care. I was inspired by the authors honesty and dedication to helping her hospice clients thru this critical journey. I wish everyone had a nurse like her. It put in words the many feeling I have shared with my residents and family members while taking this journey.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Murray Greenberg

    One of he most heart-warming and incisive books I have read. It purports a visual image of its characters better than can be imagined. The book is emotionally uplifting. BRAVO to the brave and caring author!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Frddrickson

    This is a beautiful book about life, love and ultimately healing for the author and for her patients. Thank you Nina for opening your huge heart to us. A must read for all who want to live more fully and love more deeply.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Loe

    This book is an incredible collection of the author's personal experience with death through her career as a hospice nurse. As the population ages this is a realistic and important illustration of the complexities of the dying process. Plus, it is an interesting and at times, humorous read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Bundy

    This thoughtful, truthful book is truly a gem. She recounts the stories of clients and their families, and lessons learned in every instance. She writes with the lyricism of a novelist and the heart of a healer. I highly recommend this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reed Stevens

    From the first chapter, this offers powerful for the insight into families waiting outside the last chamber and for us comforted by the wise nurse at our side.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    I very much enjoyed this book. Having dealt with hospice with both my parents I can truly say they are truly Angels It takes a special person to do this type of work

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elena Alvarez Dosil

    Review originally published at: https://www.lomeraniel.com/audiobookr... I listened to Farewell: Vital End-of-Life Questions last year, and it was a topic that I found more interesting than I initially expected. When I read about this book, I immediately wanted to listen to it too. Not because it is something that affects me right now but I think death is something we should not turn our back on. Knowledge is power. The book is a collection of short stories, each one about a person dying. Nina car Review originally published at: https://www.lomeraniel.com/audiobookr... I listened to Farewell: Vital End-of-Life Questions last year, and it was a topic that I found more interesting than I initially expected. When I read about this book, I immediately wanted to listen to it too. Not because it is something that affects me right now but I think death is something we should not turn our back on. Knowledge is power. The book is a collection of short stories, each one about a person dying. Nina carefully shows us how this experience is lived by an array of quite different people, and teaches us kindness, understanding, and respect. I appreciated that this was not a religious book, so it can be read by anyone. It is a bit on the spiritual side, mentioning reiki and similar practices, but I guess it is difficult to avoid talking spiritual when one is near the gates of death. It is not something for me, but I respect it and I understand that it may bring comfort to some. This is a more personal book than Farewell, with Nina sharing some of her personal story, additionally to her patients’, with the intention of making people think about each and every day and to avoid regrets. Farewell went deep about medical and legal aspects, but it is not the case here. The difference is probably due to the fact that Farewell is written by a physician, while From Sun to Sun is written by a nurse. Both are sides of1 the same coin, complementing each other, but different nonetheless. Nurses perhaps are the ones who show the most humane side of modern medicine. I think both books are really good, each in their own way. While Farewell is probably better read in advance to be prepared ahead of time, From Sun to Sun can be read at any time, for one’s sake, but also while suffering the ordeal of a loved one close to death. I found Karen Gundersen’s really soothing, enjoyable, and a perfect match for the book. It was like I was listening to Nina herself, pouring her heart into these stories. Technically, I found some minor issues, like some noticeable audio edits and a repeated sentence (a remain from a punch and roll) around 6:42:01. Even though I looked forward to this book, I was afraid that it could be too much at times. Surprisingly, I devoured it in less than two days. Highly recommendable. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I won From Sun to Sun through a Goodreads giveaway and I'm so glad I did! McKissock, the author, has a heart like no other. I can't even imagine what all she has been a witness to. She did a wonderful job shedding light on dying. Thank God for people like her!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I received this book as a First Read. It's a nice collection of a couple dozen anecdotes about hospice patients. It was interesting to read about how different people handled death and dying. It's a book that makes you reflect about end of life issues.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin M Reese

    Pretty good— until.... I enjoyed the book — until the Italian sexcapade chapter. Geez, what was THAT about? I closed the book and opened another.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Irene Allison

    Once in a while along comes a book that seems to rejig the cells of my soul through its humanity, beauty, and insight. This is such a book. The stories shared by this caring nurse of the deeply intimate final journeys of her patients are full of the kind of wisdom that will stretch your heart in every direction, allowing you to glimpse the precious nature of what it means to fully embrace the human side of illness, to walk the patient’s way, and to blossom through curiosity and heart into the de Once in a while along comes a book that seems to rejig the cells of my soul through its humanity, beauty, and insight. This is such a book. The stories shared by this caring nurse of the deeply intimate final journeys of her patients are full of the kind of wisdom that will stretch your heart in every direction, allowing you to glimpse the precious nature of what it means to fully embrace the human side of illness, to walk the patient’s way, and to blossom through curiosity and heart into the deepest compassion of our shared humanity. After all, just as we all need help to enter into this world, we all need help to leave it. Tenderly written, with courage and insight, I deeply appreciated the author’s gratitude for the lessons she learned as she shared her patients most vulnerable and final moments. A gift, every single one. You may cry, but likely you’ll find a kind of illumination that lets you look past our society’s neurotic fear of death and dying into the heart of what makes us all deeply human - - - and ultimately connected. Read this book. You’ll be grateful you did.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    A poignant and insightful book by a nurse who has so much wisdom to share.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Death needs to be spoken about more openly and the author speaks candidly to her patients and their families about this.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I found this book to be extremely helpful after losing my father to ALS.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  28. 4 out of 5

    mr d a clay

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  30. 4 out of 5

    ED

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