By the time Karen Ann, then the twenty-one-year-old bright and energetic eldest daughter of Julia and Joe Quinlan, arrived at the New Jersey hospital, she was unconscious, and unbeknownst to her doctors and caretakers, already in a deep coma and permanent vegetative state. For months Karen Ann struggled against the machines that kept her alive. Behind a maze of technology, her parents watched horrified, unable to touch her, unable to kiss or hold their daughter. Knowing there was nothing more that could be done to save their daughter, Joe and Julia decided to remove the machines that were keeping their daughter from the natural death process and prolonging Karen Ann's suffering. What Julia and Joe thought was a very personal decision soon became an international debate - a debate still raging in the news headlines today.
In this poignant, spiritual memoir Julia Duane Quinlan recalls not only Karen Ann's life and long death, but her own ordinary beginnings that helped form a deep inner faith and strong moral compass. Julia Quinlan chronicles her joy and sorrow and how she used the tragedy of her daughter's life to change the lives of countless others by crusading for hospice care for the dying and their families.