In 2017 broadcaster Rev. Ruth Scott was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. As rounds of treatment and hospital stays came to dominate her life, she was forced to step back from her busy routine. She found this experience disconcerting at first but gradually came to realise that it gave her a remarkable opportunity to view life from a different perspective. This book was written during the time of her treatment, what she came to call ‘a gap year in the shadow of death’. More than a memoir of wards and tests, it offers a series of reflections that draw on Ruth’s broad experience and deep thinking. In her life and work she had an innate gift for connecting with people, for being there with them. The book captures this essence in its brave, resonant, and always compassionate exploration of being alive. Living with uncertainty, letting go of control, and allowing for doubt, she writes, can make room for mystery and bring about understanding beyond rational limitations. Drawing on a lifetime of reading and on poems and songs gifted by friends and fellow-patients, Ruth Scott outlines the things that really matter, poignantly and powerfully drawing the reader on her journey. Ruth died in February 2019, but, as Richard Holloway writes, she has left us ‘a map to guide us through our own lives’.