Skip to content


18-year-old crisis line volunteer Delilah’s beloved, terminally ill aunt’s final request challenges everything Del thought she knew about life and death.

A resource by Ann Jacobus

display description


8-year-old Del is in a healthier place than she was a year and a half ago: She’s sober, getting treatment for her depression and anxiety, and volunteering at a suicide-prevention hotline. Her own suicide attempt is in the past and living in San Francisco with her beloved aunt has helped her see a future for herself. But when Aunt Fran is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Del’s equilibrium is shattered. She’s dedicated herself to saving every life she can, but she can’t save Fran. All she can do is help care for her aunt and try to prepare herself for the inevitable—while also dealing with a crush, her looming first semester at college, and her shifts at the crisis line. After Aunt Fran asks for her help with a mind-boggling final request, Del must confront her own demons and rethink everything she thought she knew about life and death. Available wherever books are sold.

Audiobook available from Penguin Random House Listening Library April 25th, 2023



My Inspiration

When we were in our early thirties, my best friend died of pancreatic cancer, leaving behind a bereft husband and one- and four-year-old boys. I had the sacred privilege of being with Eli and her family at their home for the last week of her life and for her passing. It impacted me profoundly, in fact spurring me to become a writer. I've since been with other loved ones for their final phase of life, including my mother, who declined and died from cancer very similar to the one that the character Aunt Fran suffers in this novel. I wrote this story to honor them all. In every case, hospice was fully supporting us, making it possible for us each to do what we needed to do. Bearing witness to someone leaving this world is a powerful experience and juxtaposed against my commitment to suicide prevention, posed an interesting question I wanted to explore. Being present for the dying process teaches us quickly and irrefutably that our days are numbered and that our best way forward is to strive to be kind. Life is a gift. Death can be, too. And stories help us to understand both.

Other resources you may like