By John Lyle Belden
In “My Sister Diane: A Story of Hope, Humor and Hospice,” Jim May warms us up with a little about his Catholic boyhood (including how “genuflecting” spelled backwards is pronounced) and his life as a professional storyteller.
Then he relates the story of an autumn 14 years ago, when, while working on a new telling of “Noah’s Ark,” he is struck by a flood of another sort, no less devastating: His sister, the sibling he had been closest to growing up, has cancer. He and other family members fly out to see her, and talk with doctors who reveal that there is little to no hope for remission or cure. Then, the tale turns to the soothing miracle of hospice, as Diane gets to fade away in comfort with the people she loved.
A story that should have left us all in weeping puddles on the floor instead becomes uplifting and inspiring in May’s masterful hands. Instead of mourning, we celebrate the passing of a beautiful soul with one who truly loved and admired her. And for those with end-of-life decisions on their minds, the narrative provides an excellent overview of hospice care.