Into Extra Time
Living through the final stages of cancer and jottings along the way
Michael Paul Gallagher
Paperback |144 pp |216 x 135 mm
eBook |144 pp
'Reading this extraordinary book one can identify with all the uncertainty, confusion and fear that his illness must have brought... This inspirational, heart-warming book also contains some of Fr Gallaghers poetry and one poem in particular, Monique in Caen, is simply superb.'
MONIQUE IN CAEN
The heart carries more than memories:
When I think of you, of us, or see a photo,
All is alive like yesterday.
I wonder what happened to you,
what you did with that tenderness,
With the shy strength of your gaze.
Did the years harden or soften your beauty?
Did you forget me, hurt by my silence
Let down by my different path? Or can you visit,
as I do, wonder echoes
Of hands held and eyes knit,
Symbols of a love bigger than
we were able for at twenty one,
but changing me at least forever.
Into Extra Time comprises the powerful reflections of Fr Michael Paul Gallagher SJ which he wrote during the final months of his life following a diagnosis of cancer.
Never has faith seemed so real. This is not out of fear (as some atheists might suspect), but out of a discovery of the quiet reality of God with me in all this.
While undergoing several cycles of chemotherapy and ultimately passing into palliative care, Fr Michael Paul documented his journey physical, psychological and spiritual in a diary which is included in this book alongside other notes and insights, and two theological essays: on death and on concern for unbelief.
I am, dare I say, enjoying God with me in this strange space. There is huge freedom at times, and of course a shrinking into small fears at times too. Each day has its lights and shadows, its pendulum from yes to no. But the no is always weaker, provoked by some lack of energy or vision. The yes music returns, not as joyful acceptance but as quiet readiness unalone.
The whole is a remarkable testament to the life, intellect and spiritual sensitivity of a much-loved author, theologian and priest, which offers light to others looking for guidance in times of struggle.