I hired Billie Jo to work with my mother when her cancer recurred. I worried that my mother, notoriously averse to discussing bad feelings, and who really believed in the importance of “battling to the end,” would suffer more by refusing to think about dying: I wanted her to feel like she had some control over facing the end we all face.

I’m so glad she was willing to do this work. I know she valued it–she told me repeatedly how much she loved her work and conversations with Billie Jo. And it was a huge gift to our family that my mom was able courageously and consciously to face her dying, to invite family and friends to come spend time with her once she entered hospice care, that no one had to “pretend” that they were doing anything but giving her all the love and support she deserved in her dying days. She died the way she wished and planned–at home, surrounded by family.