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Courage Comes in Many Forms

Powerful Patient, 2011 Week 18

Host: Joyce Graff,, 800-767-4845


Beginning June 9, 2011

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David G. Hallman

David G. Hallman

David G. Hallman speaks with Joyce about his new book, August Farewell, his account of the last days spent with his partner of 33 years, Bill Conklin. Bill was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and they chose to spend those last days of quality time together.  


From a devastating diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, it was only 16 days before Bill passed away. The choices they made, and the love and care they shared during those final days is a lesson for us all. David and Joyce talk about the importance of thinking through how we would want the end of our own life to go, and communicating that to our loved ones, so that they are in the position of carrying out our wishes rather than making difficult decisions without our guidance.




When the love of your life is diagnosed with terminal cancer, what are those last days like and how would you choose to spend them?


David Hallman and his partner, Bill, chose to spend that precious time at home together with the help of palliative care.  In his new book, August Farewell, Hallman chronicles those last simultaneously amazing and tragic days spent with Bill, while including poignant and often humorous memories from their many years in a committed, loving relationship.


"I wrote this memoir to remember the details of the last sixteen days I spent with Bill," says Hallman.  "I felt that if I forgot any of that time tigether, it would be like losing Bill all over again."


Heart-wrenching and honest, August Farewell is a story that brings you deeply into the lives of both Hallman and Conklin, experiencing the last sixteen days of Bill's life almost as if you are sitting with David, holding Bill's hand.


During their lengthy relationship, both men were deeply committed to social and environmental justice, loved the arts and traveling, cared for their aging parents, and embraced faith and spirituality -- values that were never more important to them than during the final days of Bill's life.  David shares how the memories of their great love provided him strength and helped him prepare Bill for the end.

August Farewell offers an intimate portrait of a loving relationship brought to an abrupt end and affirms the power of love in the face of adversity.




David G. Hallman worked on environmental ethics for 30 years for the United Church of Canada and the World Council of Churches.  He was active on behalf of religious organizations with the UN negotiations of climate change treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol.  During that time he authored five books, mainly on ecology and spirituality.  Since retirement, his writing has branched out in new directions.  David continues to live in the home he once shared with his beloved partner, Bill Conklin, in Toronto, Canada.


A very private person, Hallman felt compelled to share this very personal story to help young people dealing with their own sexuality, as well as those coping with the loss of a loved one. "A long-term, loving, faith-based relationship is possible," Hallman says.  "Dealing honestly and openly with the death of a loved one is possible, including having the courage to say goodbye."




August Farewell: The Last Sixteen Days of a Thirty-Three-Year Romance can be found at