The Defense Rests: Lessons Learned Through Illness and Grief
When neighbors begin arriving for a spring party, their hostess slips upstairs to awaken her husband from a nap. He is partway out of bed, flailing his right arm in the air, while his left side is not moving. She bends down to hear him mumble through drooping lips, "I can't get up."
As an ambulance rushes him to the hospital, this busy attorney and his wife of more than forty years have no idea they are boarding a roller coaster of medical crises, setbacks, hard decisions, disability, and living apart that will end in his death nearly three years later, on their forty-fifth wedding anniversary.
The Defense Rests is a poignant memoir by a loving widow. It is a practical guide to the complexities of the medical system, the challenges of chronic illness and disability, the joy and frustration of trying to help suffering people, and the depths of grief. Above all, it is a beautifully written love story that will draw you in until the final page and bring you to laughter and tears many times. This book will change the way you relate to people going through hard times.
From the moment of her husband Harvey's stroke, Kathryn Cosper found herself in the unwelcome role of caregiver as their life seemed to be spinning out of control. In her own honest and compelling words, she tells of the hardships they faced and the ways they found to handle them. She describes the pain of seeing her larger-than-life husband become increasingly dependent, and the important lessons she learned from him and others--not only about the world of medicine, but about kindness, gratitude, humility, faith, humor, comfort, patience, compassion, and grace.
So often we don't know what to say or do in the face of illness and death. We are uncomfortable, so we talk about ourselves or offer platitudes. We try to fix the unfixable. How can we truly help? And when we ourselves are suffering, as all of us will, where do we find the strength to carry on?
This is the true story of a beloved man--husband, father, grandfather, defense attorney, beach lover, friend, and Christian elder --and his family as they struggled through his disability and, eventually, his death. The narrative flows seamlessly from social media posts in real time to memories, advice, and the wisdom of others. Woven within the story, readers will find
-Helpful information about strokes, heart disease, rehabilitation, medical providers, care facilities, and insurance
-Suggestions for patients, caregivers, and friends who want to help
-Words to comfort sick and grieving people, and words not to say
-A devoted daughter's insightful perspective on her funny, imperfect parents
-A widow's sorrowful, grateful letters to her husband after his death
-Hilarious and moving anecdotes
-Stories about the presence of God felt through friends and strangers
-Ideas for moving through grief at our own pace
-Inspiring quotes from other sources and from scripture
Each person's experience is unique, and none of us can truly understand what another person is going through. But those who have similarly struggles through illness and grief will find empathy and kinship here. If you have yet to face these challenges, you will grow in knowledge, understanding, and compassion that will make a difference in the way you respond to others who are suffering.
Everyone needs to read The Defense Rests, because it encourages each of us to find our own true ways to face hardship and to show that we care. It inspires us to be grateful and, above all, to love.
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