I began reading August Farewell on the seventh day of that summer month. The date coincides with the beginning of David Hallman’s narrative of his lover’s death two years prior, and memory of their decades-long relationship.
A book by a gay Canadian Christian man might seem remote to a woman like me, who’s married, Jewish and lives in New York City. But Hallman connects, effectively; his story sticks and might influence the near-death arrangements of any person living in our modern world.
Hallman recounts the death of a man, his partner William (Bill) Conklin, who’d lived for years with multiple sclerosis and its debilitating effects. In August, 2009 Conklin learned he had advanced pancreatic cancer. The story works through the author’s 16 daily notes on meetings with doctors, nurses and palliative care specialists, and visits with old friends and family.
The patient chose to die at home and his partner, Hallman, honored his wishes. Their story of calm, palliation and love at life’s end is heartening.
Why post this now? Because the book’s calmness, and message, lingers.