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Book details
  • SubGenre:Inspiration & Personal Growth
  • Language:English
  • Pages:120
  • eBook ISBN:9781620953020

Notes From Theme Park Earth

A Hospice Nurse's Personal Journey of Life, Loss and Everlasting Love

by Nancy C. Butler

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This is the personal story of a hospice nurse who learned invaluable lessons from her hospice patients and families that ultimately helped her as she cared for her dying husband. This devastating experience and the process of finding a way through her grief have in turn helped her care for her hospice patients with a deeper understanding of their losses. Through it all, the love that this couple shared with each other and their eclectic group of musical and whimsical friends makes for an inspiring and joyful story even in the face of profound loss.
When I became a hospice nurse in 1992, I never dreamed I’d be caring for my husband as he was dying. “Notes from Theme Park Earth – A Memoir of Life, Loss, and Everlasting Love” is a love story not only about our marriage, but also the kindness and creative generosity shown by countless friends and relatives during that time. My core message is that we will all die one day and that losing someone you love is sad, but doesn’t have to be grim. Like Randy Pausch, author of “The Last Lecture,” Stewart had fun even when he was dying. His grace and humor helped carry all of us who loved him. He was constantly surrounded by friends who wanted to play music and listen to his mystical perspective on our time here at what he whimsically called “Theme Park Earth.” We communicated with our friends and family through a series of emails that was like a blog about what was ultimately a deeply moving experience. Many of these posts are included as they express our feelings during that time. There are stories of some of my hospice patients and what they have taught me. Stewart and others I’ve lost are still a part of my life because the love never dies. My healing since Stewart died includes a grief support group and returning to hospice work with a deeper understanding from having gone through it. My passion for helping people who are dying the families who are losing them is something I share with Dr. Ira Byock, a leader in end-of-life care, who is one of my heroes. Most of our story takes place in Austin, TX, where Stewart created an award winning residential remodeling company and loved going to the Kerrville Folk Festival. Baby boomers might also be intrigued by the fact that Stew and I met on a large commune in the 1970’s where we worked with horses, lived without electricity or running water and our children were born with the help of midwives.
About the author
Nancy Chandler grew up outside of Washington, DC during the turbulent 1960's and lived for 10 years on communes, where she met and married Stewart Butler. After moving to Austin, Nancy became a hospice nurse while Stewart started a residential remodeling company. Little did they know that her hospice experience would prove invaluable when Stewart was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and died less than a year later, just before their 29th wedding anniversary. Nancy still lives in Austin, where she continues her career as a hospice nurse with a greater understanding of what her hospice families are experiencing. Stewart and Nancy's adult children, Juanita and Cameron, also live in Austin.