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Petals of Prayer
Reflections and Resources for Dementia Sufferers and Their Carers
by Siobhán O’Keeffe
Publisher:Kevin Mayhew Publishers
It’s an unfortunate title for such an impressive book – had I come across it on the shelf of a bookshop I would have passed on, but perhaps that’s a man thing. O’Keeffe calls dementia a ‘new mysterious reality’, yet that underplays the associated fear and anger which she attempts to dispel. There are blessings though – yes, even with such a destructive disease – like a deeper awareness of the gifts of life, of the simple reality of being.
O’Keeffe begins with a helpful couple of pages on what dementia is, and its diagnosis. Then come the prayers and reflections, for those living with dementia, some for carer’s, and finally those for use as general intercessions. Many begin with a scriptural quotation. What they display is the vast spread of human life caught up, joy in hens and chickens, the death of a dog, the washing, holiness, to the final goodnight, my love. O’Keeffe does not avoid the pain and distress, but every prayer is gentle, affirming, and drenched in love.
The final part of the book offers information, resources to help on the journey. It is a book that many will find invaluable, the honest words of those who have known the road for themselves, or accompanied others.
Reviewer: Paul Scott (21/07/12)