Lessons in how to live and how to die

Lessons in how to live and how to die
Becky Baudouin shares priceless lessons her mother
revealed during her battle with cancer

“I’ve taught you how to live; now I want to teach you how to die. You don’t have to be afraid.” When Becky Baudouin’s mother spoke those words to her, they weren't said lightly. Her mother had an inoperable tumor — and after months of treatment, there was no hope for a longer life. There was, however, assurance of everlasting life. In Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy: What My Mother Taught Me About How to Live and How to Die (Kregel Publications/September 26, 2017/ISBN: 9780825444746/$14.99), Baudouin shares the invaluable wisdom imparted by her mother during her final days.

Upon learning of her mother’s diagnosis, Baudouin made a decision she knew she would not regret. “I decided to rearrange my priorities so I could show up and be fully present with my mom during her illness. I knew I needed to pull back from some of the groups and activities I was in so I would have the energy and time to take care of myself and my family and to take frequent trips to be with my mom. I realized I had limited time and resources and knew it was a season that wouldn’t last forever.”

A writer by profession, Baudouin had always kept a journal. While she did not initially set out to write a book, it was a natural progression. “Writing is and always has been one of the ways I process what is happening and what I am learning. Sometimes I can’t even process something that happens until I write about it. During my mom’s illness, I had a strong sense I needed to write things down. I wanted to be able to remember things she said and did and what I was feeling, and to share these things with my daughters.”

However, Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy, is much more than a memoir. Baudouin equips readers to face death from a Christian perspective by sharing her insights on fear, loss and grief. These honest insights are applicable to everyone's story, not just her own, and can extend real comfort to every reader. Questions for personal reflection or group discussion help both those who are losing a loved one and those who are facing death. Baudouin’s story reveals God is the only source for a spirit's true healing.

Baudouin digs into the sensitive areas people are often hesitant to talk about:

  • What to do and say when someone has received bad news
  • Inviting others into your journey and asking for help
  • Grieving as you go
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Facing life after loss

For anyone living with the tension of wanting to hold on yet needing to let go, Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy demonstrates a powerful and profound love. “The last lesson my mom taught me was surrender,” Baudouin shares. “She taught me what it looks like to surrender, especially when things turn out differently than we had hoped. She accepted what was happening, even though we had prayed for something different. She entrusted herself to the One who is all-loving and wise and trusted in His plan. This posture of surrender brought a deep, abiding sense of peace leading up to her final moments on this earth. She was deeply at peace and taught us that when we surrender to God, we really don’t need to be afraid. He is completely trustworthy.”

About the Author

Becky Baudouin (pronounced Beau-dwen) is a freelance writer and speaker and a former columnist for Chicago’s Daily Herald newspaper. Her three daughters supplied her with enough material for a five-year run with her column, “A Mom’s Point of View.” She has written for the marriage ministry at Willow Creek Community Church where she is an active member, and several of her articles have been published in Focus on the Family’s magazine.

Baudouin loves speaking just as much as writing and speaks at Chicago-area MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and women’s events on topics such as parenting, marriage and faith. She believes in the power of groups and helps lead marriage and grief workshops, walking alongside those in seasons of difficulty and loss. She loves to cook and works part-time as a personal prep chef. Her favorite place to be is around her dining room table, sharing great food and connecting with family and friends.

She grew up in northern Michigan and now lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Bernie, and their three daughters.