✯ First Place,
Memoirs, 2006 Communications Award, Arizona Press Women
✯ Second Place, 2006 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest
|Goodbye, Walter: The Inspiring Story of a Terminal Cancer Patient|
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Editors, Journalists, Publishers
978-0-9728071-2-8 • RuthAnn Hogue • Paperback • 5½" x 8½" • 192 pages • 15 SEP 2005 • $13.95 • Enjoy this Award Winning Title!
In February of 1997, RuthAnn Hogue, a new and competitive journalist for the Arizona Daily News-Sun,
volunteered for an assignment that no one else wanted — to write an article about hospice care and interview terminal cancer patient Walter Schifter. "The words on the page [of his letter to the Sun] echoed in my heart as I slowly walked back to my desk," she remembers. "My heart beat a bit more quickly as I re-created in the theater of my mind what might have been the events of the past few days…."
Hogue's journey with Walter opened her eyes to the life-altering affects of cancer and the spiritually exalting strength of love. "Six months ago I was in such pain that if I had known the exact combination of pills to take to successfully end my life, I would have gladly taken them," Walter had written. "I called [Hospice Family Care] instead … it was time to show my gratitude for how much my life has changed since then."
Written in her own words, Goodbye, Walter: The Inspiring Story of a Terminal Cancer Patient documents Hogue's interviews with Walter and Hospice Family Care, and the changes in her own relationships during that time. She celebrates Walter's zest for life, the love and care he received, and the spiritual awakening she experienced. The memory of Walter's dignity and the strength Hogue earned through her experience with Walter supported her during a time of crisis in her own life — and they can strengthen you, too.
"Death doesn't work on our timetables," Hogue teaches us. "It comes when either God appoints it or when man causes it to happen before its time. Either way, only God holds the keys of life and death and can lock or unlock those doors, and receive His beloved children back into His fatherly arms."
This is an important story, beautifully and sensitively told.
Speaking as one who has experienced the grief of losing a father to Alzheimer's Disease and a grandfather to nursing-home abuse, Hogue's book struck a deep chord within me. Her work celebrates the end of life instead of having us fear it. It will be a Godsend to those who are left behind — as well as those who are traveling their own journey home.
R-District 9, Arizona House of Representatives, Health Committee Co-Chair.
Few things are so certain nor so frequently avoided as having to face our own mortality. In a brief but remarkably deep relationship, journalist RuthAnn Hogue and cancer patient Walter Schifter take us through Walter's journey home to the edge of the veil and provide us with the knowledge of the only thing that is truly important in our earthly existence — love. Hogue was forever changed by the experience, and so was I.
Paul M. Howey
author of Shoah: Journey from the Ashes and Freckles: The mystery of the little white dog in the desert
RuthAnn Hogue's secret is her commanding use of specific, concrete detail to draw the reader into the world she creates. Much like a maestro, who note by note builds a symphony, she is a master at her craft. (Ms. Whiting was dying of cancer herself when she reviewed this book.)
Linda Shelley Whiting
This book is a necessary read for anyone pondering what our existence on earth is about. This story is a reaffirmation of life.
Independent film director, MPotter Productions
is a story about living as much as it is a chronicle of one brave man's march toward death. Author RuthAnn Hogue turns journalism into a powerful story of friendship and self-discovery. In taking us along on this intimate and personal journey, she reminds us—and herself—of the great gifts of love and of faith and of how the two are eternally entwined. Somehow, by celebrating life, she makes facing death a little less frightening for us all.
Former executive news director for KTVK Channel 3 (Phoenix, AZ) and Co-Owner MagicDust Television
Web sites recommended by the author:
… an intimate look at the process of death and the human heart and spirit. As Hogue struggles with her own "deaths" and rebirths, she finds salvation in her hospice care assignment. Hospice care "saves" Walter Schifter and Walter Schifter saves RuthAnn Hogue. Providing a rare glimpse into the mind of a dying man, Hogue's book also renders a moving portrait of the intimates involved: Their highs and lows, their joys and sufferings, as well as their moments of enlightenment. For those of little faith, and for those of great faith. Touching and commendable.